What We Do

10th January 2023.

I had an idea to write up an informal overview of what we get up to in the working environment on Rona. We can put out a job description but it will never really show the commitment that is required on Rona. After 20 years of working on how I saw the vision of where Rona would be, it will be interesting as we wind down just how the Island will progress in the next 20 years.

We toyed with leaving, retiring even, but we like it here and would like to stay for a while yet. That is of course if our Bosses want us too. We built our house and finished it in 2018, proper probably 2019. That was tough with many extra hours on top of the already very heavy workload. We wont do that again, well I wont, but having built it (and it is a very comfortable house I have to say) it would be good to enjoy a few more years in it.

So, we will continue to work as we do, we look forward to having new folk here to get involved in the Island Life.. Which is good for us as it will allow us more time off with new folk coming but also it will give new folk cover for when they want to get off. Without worrying about things breaking down when there is no one here, or break ins!!!!

This page might be a bit of a ramble at times but I’ll try (time allowing) to fill it in pretty quickly as we are going to start advertising properly very soon.

A beautiful day

Possibly the best subject to start on would be The Weather.

29th January 2023

The worst thing about weather is we struggle whilst planning things, in the short and long term.

We can plan but things change daily, this can be frustrating for others when it may not be obvious why we changed ‘The Plan’ but we just get used to it.

Ferry wise we have a cracking ferry boat now, the best although all the others did their job and did it very well. But MV Seaflower (and back up boats from MV Stardust) are the best. Safe Haven Marine built them, these boats will travel in most weather up to force 6 safely, occassionaly coping with unpredictable changes. Good boats good skippers.

The Island boat is a different matter, we will not sail unless it is pretty calm and are sure no surprises are coming soon!!!

But we regularly get to Portree all Summer in our own boat and don’t ask too much in the winter of the ferry but are happy to be flexible with the weather if we need to be. To give an example we have not been on the mainland since the 18th December 2022, we could have but did not need to. We stock up on foodstuffs and our ferry man will kindly get our shopping (there is always Amazon).

Work wise we try to balance the jobs so that we are not out in horrible wind and rain . If we do then we would maybe just do a half day, say at firewood then our workplan is such that indoor work is not hard to find. Maintenance etc. Nothing worse than having to sit inside on a sunny day then only finding wet days to do outside work.

Stalking is a different kettle of fish. If we have guests which would only be 4 weeks of the year then I’m afraid we have got to go. Again we will try to read the weather maybe not going out till the afternoon or calling it a day by lunchtime. The deer mostly have more sense than us stumbling around the Island looking for them. But they have to eat so there is always a chance and in the rut the weather/rain does not affect the Stags.

Wind can be trying blowing stuff about, regularly trying to move slates, or material left without securing it, but we learn very quickly that you cannot leave anything lightweight lying about.

Calm, sunny winter days are the best, the views are stunning, the colours are vivid, the wildlife love these days as much as we do. So there is much to see and enjoy and on these days, stalking is the best, even cutting firewood, servicing the boats or bigger equipment is a pleasure.

Long summer days are welcome, some years better than others but generally we get our fair share. With damp summers we get midgies but we do get onshore breezes so it is possible to sit out and have that welcome beer in the evening.

Overall the days, weeks and years are dependent on the weather and everything works around it. Reading forecasts, looking at the signs and interpreting them are an important part of life on Rona.

Jobs To Do.

There is a very long list, difficult to know where to start best start with the main earners the cottages, services and annual maintenance.

The Cottages: The two holiday cottages rerquire regular maintenance, the weather for sure makes big demands on them. We try to keep them up to speed with regular painting, checking and replacing anything that needs it as soon as the problem is spotted.

We are open all year round but need holidays so unless we have cover during busy periods we try to take that during the quiet months. This is also a time for any modernisation or major replacements.

The Deer: We have a Deer Management Plan, a cull figure every year depending on our deer count and observation. At this time with as good population on Rona we will cull a good number, this year 37. It is not cost effective to send the carcasses away even if the Game Dealer will collect them. So we butcher all our carcasses. This is pretty full on but satisfying that the end product from Rona is so popular.

They say the easy part is shooting deer, well not that easy if you are doing it properly and culling the correct animal. But yes, the larder work and subsequent butchering does take time at various times of the year, so larder work can be a cold/hot and long job.

Power and Machinery:

Maintenance, now that is a long list, Two windmills, three generators plus 3 battery systems. Solar panels, fuel delivery and storage, gas, petrol, derv and Kero’. Stand alone gennys x 2.

Four central heating systems, water supplies, internet masts and comms. 11 buildings at Big Harbour, 4 at Dry Harbour. Water supplies, bore holes and wells.

JCB, tractor, two ATVs one utility ATV, mowers, strimmers, chainsaws a Chill. Tools, concrete mixers

Ditching, road and path maintenance. Administration.

Boats, we have two, so engine and structural work.

Painting, pontoon, moorings.

Forestry, firewood and fencing.

The list above would give any prospective candidate a good insight to what is required here, all of the above are for something so will most likely be in use at some time throughout the year.

Overall there is a grand mix of tasks that keep us very busy and there is never any need to be bored.

We try to keep ahead of the game by serviciong regularly and not falling behind with our long list of ‘Things to Do’. But sometimes circumstances are outwith our control and many a plan for a week’s work ahead has been thwarted by the weather.

Time Off: Of course we get time off, we have tried for a while now to take Saturday afternoon and Sunday as down days. Sometimes if the weather for the week ahead is looking grim and the weekends is glorious then we would probably do the cottage laundry washing. But that still enables us to take time out, we do not sit and watch the washmachine so a start and stop/hang out does not take much time. Otherwise there are plenty walks, tons to photograph and of course going out on the boat or over to Portree.

Visitors take up a lot of our time whether they are our own or yacht folk.

We struggled for years to get cover for when we went off but in the past couple of years two couples on the Island makes leaving either planned or in an emergency for a few days is much easier.

On a day like to-day when the wind is 70 mph, there is nothing you can safely do outside, even making a trip to the garage or genny shed for instance. So you just do what I’m doing just now at 14.46pm on the 8th February, paperwork or something in the house. Take the day off, watch tv, read a book and maybe if it is a stunning day on Saturday or Sunday, do that job that needs a good day to do it on

Finally coming to work on a remote Island has many challenges but when the sun shines, with a nice breeze coming in off the sea, there is nothing much can beat it.


Rona Lodge is over 100 years old, built for Victorian visitors to come to Rona for outings and ‘The Shootings’. As the main building on the Island when it was bought, it was the first property to be re-novated. In the early nineties the house was completely gutted and rebuilt to the standard of the day.

Rona Lodge

It has had a lot of weather thrown at it in the last 30 years and has withstood the fiercest of hurricanes in our time.

Lodge West End

It is comfortable with two woodburning stoves and oil central heating, firewood is plentiful and we would encourage new occupants to make use of the supply we have.

Although Ronalodge is perfectly habitable (see photos below) it will need work in the coming years. New occupants would without doubt have input into that.

There is a utility room, where the laundry is done for the holiday cottages and the stock for the cottages is held.

The Lodge is furnished to the level you can see from the photographs.