Rona Rescue

Monday last it was all hands on deck when one of our visitors Michelle cut her hand badly, whilst making a cake!!!!!!!

On Call

The weather was foul and not safe for our ferries so a call to Stornoway Coastgaurd was necessary. The lifeboat crew were out pretty quick to take our casualty to hospital.

Hamish and the Crew

We are lucky to have a lifeboat in Portree and long may it continue its stay there, it is a great asset.

Backing Off

It was a bouncy trip back, plenty white water all the way.

Bouncing Back

The lifeboat certainly had a few bumps but in the middle of the day a Yacht arrived at the mouth of the harbour. I had had a call from a yacht the previous week but was not expecting them to arrive in the weather we had. Later when I was speaking to the crew they had said it was pretty hairy out in the Inner Sound. The yacht ‘Equinox’ went on to  the mooring which surprised me as I had told the guy that contacted me that it was in need of servicing. It turned out it was not the guy I had been talking to, it was another and that was after they had spent a ‘safe’ night on our mooring. Thankfully nothing gave way!!!!!

That Night

Later on Monday our vistors arrived back on MV Aspire, the wind had dropped and they had a relatively stable crossing, all bandaged up and with instructions to call the hospital Wednesday.

Springs Here

Thankfully after a blustery start to the week our cottage guests had some sunshine but not as much as the week before with an unsettled period coming in off the Atlantic.

Working Inside

It is usually no problem working inside on poor days and we have had our share of these over the years. Now we have to quantify the material for building the new house it is not the best job spending a day poring over plans especially when the sun is shining which it did off and on for the rest of the week

The List Goes On

The plan is to get a job done from my long list each day then head for the house to look at more drawings. The gate up at the water supply had settled on its hinges a while ago so that was first, I raised it 3 inches and all was well. Then onto the new water supply for the larder. The tank we have is too small and we run out regularly causing air locks, so, a wee bit of plumbing and we had the new tank full ready to go. Another tick off the list.

New Larder Water Supply

I then moved onto the main tank where we are trying to set up an early warning system to let us know that the water is not filling long before the tank completely empties, should have that done next week.

Bit of a Plumbers Nightmare

Before we knew it the week was almost over and it was Friday night which meant a trip over to Dry Harbour to let our guests know the time for the Saturday ferry.

Three Legged Mike

Saturday morning and everything must run like clockwork, it never does. The first thing I found on going out to feed the sheep was that we had two new lambs. One went into the field the other took off and ran up the hill behind the house site, almost to the top. Then flopped down, where it was born I guess. I crept up on it and managed to capture it, then re-united it with its mother. That took half an hour of precious time.

Settled Lambs

The reason I needed time this Saturday was that the guests had a few boxes and bags!!! Which meant two trips to Dry Harbour. Michelle (with the bandage) did mention that they were moving house!!!!

Just a Few Boxes!!!!!!

The night before we had another yacht in, early for sure this time a local boat. We did go down to let the yachtsman know about the mooring’s state on Friday night but our visitor was unperturbed and was happy to spend the night there.

Yacht No: 2

The yacht left and ten minutes later Kevin was on his way with our guests looking forward to a breezy crossing.

And They Are Off

The week had been relatively dry, great weather for the lambs and the place had dried up. There was a damp patch that was annoying me so Saturday afternoon I dug up the ‘puddle’ to find that the join in the home made drain pipe was leaking badly so a wee bit of duct tape and flashing it was put back together and finished Sunday before a lamb fell into the hole. The grey morning had passed and the rest of the day was glorious warm sunshine.

Leaking Drain

Fingers crossed it does not leak now.

All Done

I had been waiting for chain to arrive after using the last length we ordered for the mooring to hold the pontoon. The chain duly arrived on Saturday and as I missed the low tide on Saturday  it had to be a Sunday job to be ready before the next yacht came in and picked it up.

Mooring Repair

As you can see from the pic’ the chain was pretty worn in fact paper thin at the strop end. A couple of metres down it was pretty good so rather than lift the whole thing I replaced the 2 metres and the shackles. There was a safety chain on the original but it was pretty thin too so I may try to find  new one to beef it up a bit later this season, as it is the chain should be fine and I will check it once a month.

Mooring Repair 2

Next winter/spring I think we’ll have the lot up and replace the chain right through. Every season it gets a fair bit of use and I think that some of the yachts we have had on it are a bit too heavy for the gear so more notices will be going up and also to let them know it is not insured this year. The income from it last year did not cover the insurance premium quotes this spring, so we are leaving it up to the visitors if they want to use it or not.

New Chain/Old Chain!!!!

The link on the left is the new chain the one on the right is the last  (Half)  link onto the strop which had been there for ten years, this time last year there was hardly any wear on it!!!!!

Two lengths of chain from Gael Force £190 each delivered!!!!!!

Suns out, the lambs are going bonkers after a grey start and rainy afternoon, looking forward now to next week.

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Out To Sea

Down to the Gap

Great to be back on the water to-day, my day off!! Putting out a few creels and having a shake down cruise. It was a lovely morning for it. Glad to report no real problems with the engines which is always the thing that gives me headaches. For once they burst into life and ran well (not smoothly, but you can’t have everything).

Anti Fouling the Bottom

I had just missed the tide on the back of the springs over a week ago but there was plenty to do so no worries having the boat on the beach for a week and of course the weather was good.

Smoke on the Water

With the tin of spray for keeping the rust/damp out of the engine to burn off first there is a lot of smoke. But once it cleared it seemed to have worked this winter.

Young Stags on Garbh Eilean

I got down to the gap and had a look out to the Inner Sound, no fishing boats just a BUTEC boat patrolling the range, the Sub’ that I had heard was in the area must have been below water. Back to the Rona shore and I saw several stags lying down on the high cliffs, young beasts but all in good shape. They’ll cast their antlers soon.

Sadly Stuck

Back along the Raasay shore by Eilean Tighe and here was a sheep stuck on the cliffs, I know it all too well with our own doing the same thing looking for a bite of grass. I tried to lasso it into the boat but despite several attempts the rope failed to catch onto it. I’ll contact the shepherd but…….

Our Own Cliff Dwelling Sheep

I was round the cliffs on Rona a couple of weeks past and found these two hiding out on the most slippery of slopes, but they have survived here for quite a while despite trying to entice them out.

It Had To Be a Poor Day

It has been pretty full on as usual these last couple of weeks, what with lambs and building preparations, plus the day to day stuff. We did manage a couple of trips to Portree though for Doctors appointments and shopping. Dan took out our new Solar array equipment which should help to reduce the generator running. Fuel is always an issue trying to keep it above empty juggling with landing crafts as the ferry boats are not too handy for big loads.

Ply Too

Even getting this lot plus batteries, new inverter and controllers up to the stores took most of the morning after delivery.

Hop, Skip and Hopefully not Jump

I must have shifted a huge tonnage of ‘stuff’ off of the pontoon on my 15 years here.

Next Day

That few days were pretty damp with a warm foggy/misty drizzle but there have been more sunny days lately with a good feel of spring in the air, my hay fever will attest to that.

Found The Lost Lambs

Every morning you get your early dose of pollen when I walk round the sheep, doing the head count and looking for problems. The lambs were outside the fence so that their mothers could get a bite of grass the field is pretty bare, just for a few days. I lost two of them but found them hiding in the shed below the log splitter, good to be out of the cool wind.

Road Improvements

So when I’m working on the digger I had to keep one eye on the wee lambs who were very inquisitive around the wheels of the JCB when coming in and out of the shed for a feed.

There All Day

But they must have liked their new hiding place as they were camped out there all day.

Jumping From Job to Job

I got the wet mud away from the track at the shore and quickly moved onto the Solar Array stand. We have been trying too find a cost effective way of mounting the panels and have gone for timber. I had an exploratory drill to see how difficult the rock would be there to drill. I was surprised just how soft it was which is a good thing as some of the rock here is pretty hard.

Warm Spring Sunset

We’ve had a few nice sunsets and sunrises this past while and not to early or late to be about to see them, good to see red at night of course.

Calm Warm Days

The good days continued and it is so good to get a winter then spring like we have had. We have had too many wet winters these past few years, although the ground is wet and will take a long time to dry out.

The Fog Is Never Far Away

Blue sky days are great but we just know that after three in a row the fog will appear and rolling in from the Minch we had a day of fog banks coming over then glorious sunshine, cold then hot. It is strange to see the effect of the fog on the views around Rona, we never seem to capture that with our pictures. But it is spectacular to see if you can get onto higher ground.

Emergency Fuel Supplies

Fortunately the fog did not hang about and the next day MV aspire arrived to take us for more Doctor’s appointments and a meeting with the architect, a lovely day for a trip to Portree which made it all the more enjoyable.

The Rest of The Day Unloading

No rest for the wicked, next day I spent most of it shifting the cargo delivered the previous day (again). By the time I emptied the boat and took kerosene to Dry Harbour the day was almost done but I did get a chance to mount the gas water heater in the cabin. These ‘Morco’ heaters are the business the one in the bunkhouse has been great.

Builder Facilities

Next day was pretty damp so I carried on with the heater and got it up and running making it easier to wash up and of course a necessity for the building project up there.

Sea Cock

It is that time of year when all the Spring jobs come at once. One minute it is looking after sheep, the next dealing with bookings, servicing, fixing and the list of general maintenance goes on and on. The boat sitting out of the water for 6 months attracts rust and there is no surprise when things break once it is back on the water. This time it was the sea cock. I have already repaired it many years ago and am running out of options but hopefully it will do us for a while until I can source another.

Another Misty Damp Day

After a busy week on Rona and with family visiting it was a grey Friday we awoke too, the pattern just now seems to be quite a few sunny spring like days but instead of driving wind we are getting slow moving rain coming over and often a thick, foggy drizzle. Not pleasant but it just means we don’t feel too bad working inside. I tidied up the cabin that I had been installing the heater and sorted it out so that we could grab a film on the big screen. Good to see ‘Into The Wild’ again but this time on the bigger screen which made it a completely different film.

Sea Eagle Fly Past

This morning (Sunday)we had a worrying display by a couple of Sea Eagles swooping down near our lambs, the seagulls were bombing them but we think they were just playing rather than hunting, the new born lambs would be easy meat for them.

I’ve lost a few photos but kind of think I know where they are, they prompt me for the blog posts and if I don’t see them I can’t remember……………old age I guess!! It seemed a light week once I re-read the blog post.

Had our first couple of enquiries for the mooring and short stays but we put both off, not that we are being anti social, would I do that? The forecast for the week ahead is poor, mainly wind and in both cases we advised that the mooring would not be available as I’m waiting for chain to replace the worn part. Now at 4pm in the afternoon no sign of anyone so I guess they took our advice.

 

 

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Surprise, Surprise!!

To-day Sunday, Day off!!!! If you can have that on Rona our latest arrivals (not tourists) appeared. Last week sheep (ewe) no 361 turned up, obviously having just had a lamb, despite searching for hours, along the cliffs in the outrun, no lambs. But to-day the fears of lost lambs was averted when she turned up, proud as punch with these two. Well done her without the ‘so called’ shepherd’s intervention. Sometimes I think we should just leave ‘Blackies’ to it.

Twins

All I could do is treat the navel,  number them, feed the mother extra and let them get on with it.

looks like Spring is about here.

Settled, happy and well, just a pity they are males.

Spring Sunshine

Back to the day job though and what have we been doing? Been a few days since a blog so here goes.

Spring is Thinking about it.

We had a bit of warmth and all of a sudden we had birds, amazing how they turn up the minute the weather changes. You worry about them at this time with the vagaries of our climate. Here we have Skylarks in the garden, many of them, performing I have to say but now they have disappeared leaving Oyster catchers and common gulls in residence.

Solar Array 1

Solar Array 2

How’s That?

What has been concerning us is power for the future and with Hugh Piggot’s Scoraig Wind Expertise we have decided on solar panels, new batteries and better controllers. We will see, but anything is better than the performance of getting diesel to remote communities. So to that end we have been designing a stand for the new solar array on Rona.

New Road For Ian

In between times we are still doing our day work, a new track into the cabin for Ian our joiner who will be staying in our cinema, lucky guy!!!!!

Miracle

There was a problem, so when I took the tractor up top  I was looking at the engine with my 40 year old ‘Snap on’ pit lamp (original bulb). Got to be the best. I tipped two JCB loads into the tractor and on top of the lamp. Shed it at the cabin and weh-hey it still worked!! Good stuff. I’d left the lamp in the back of the tractor.

Well At Least the Weather was Good

Got that surprise sorted and as the weather was pretty good lots to do and as usual not enough time (anyone wanting a job?????).

The OnGoing Fence

When you get up in the morning here you say, what is the plan to-day? It is an unknown for sure and after many months of procrastination It was time to finish the wee fence around the Scots Pine plantation.

Looking OKAY

A couple of days at that and then things change.

KP were out

Kevin and Pam were out with mail and things pre-their winter holiday so we were looking for bits and pieces ordered off ebay but: we did not get them so back to the drawing board with that.

Nesting time

Hugh our digger driver/machine man had come out on that boat for a tete a tete on the plans for the new house, all was well, plenty to think about and Saturday morning I collared him to strip the JCB  hydraulic problems!!! I’m sure he was thinking what an I doing here as we had the devil of a job separating the drive shaft for the hydraulic pump.

Nightmare, WHO designs this?????

After much sweating, we got there.

DRIFT!!

Turns out we had to grind the casing off the shaft, West Coast ‘permanent’ Fix. RUST!!!!!

Nesting time

In the front valance we found a nest, we hope the birds succeeded.

Wrong Seal

it was not all good though, a leaking gearbox seal, serviced at the same time and of course JCB Muir of Ord sent us the wrong one, Doh!!!!! Nothing lost though, in true Rona style we move on. Next day I decided the taste of Kenny’s prawns from Shieldaig were too good so I set up a couple of single ends to try and get a fat brown crab, probably an impossibility at this time, but needs must and headed out with two creels loaded with bait.

Old Man Of The Sea!!!!!!!!!!

I was dropping my two creels when Yogi came into the harbour which was a surprise as it was a fair breeze out in the Sound, however he told me the tide was right for this fleet he was lifting and they were keen to shift them. Unfortunately despite a request there were no lobsters aboard for mew!!!! Maybe next time.

Site Prep’

Back ashore it was time for site prep’ shifting the water and power cables. In between waiting for the storms early on this week it was good to get things moving. However!

Tie Down

With the storm coming we must be aware to tie things down and after three times destroyed, the Wayfarer which is now my dinghy, I’m not taking chances.

NEXT DAY

Okay, BBC said storm but it was beyond that, first thing down to the pontoon,that’s the first port of call after a storm, no disappointment, the pontoon had parted company with the shore!!!!

Storm Surge

Nothing for it but to repair.

Getting it Fixed Whatever

Fortunately I had ordered chain for the mooring, 10 meres which was just right for this job. It had only arrived on Saturday’s boat, so the mooring will have to wait a while.

There’s The
Reason!

This chain holds the pontoon to the shore, 12 years constantly in and out of the water  it has done not bad. But time moves on so here we are.

All Fixed

Next day all was well, we can sleep!

Just what I needed

When I was doing all that pontoon stuff I went up to the garage. Out on the bog here was this heavily pregnant ewe lying in the bog, just about drowned, hypothermic. Oh dear, what next. BUT she has survived and fingers crossed we will have lambs?!!!

Trying to stop the death

I put a ‘very’ temporary fence up to try and stop these ewes killing themselves. Seems like they have a death wish.

And finally

Lastly but not least here is the bonfire up at the site, the camera fogged up but the picture is the best in my humble opinion. This picture is for Angelo, our very dear friend from Salo, Lake Garda. Always in our thoughts.

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Springtime Planning and Preparations

The weather is very good, it continues to be an open winter and now Spring is here, the trees are flushing and bulbs are poking through. Time to get organised for the busy year ahead and of course building a new house. But first of all life goes on or in this case ‘nearly death’. Sheep try their very best to get into the worst case scenarios. This time ‘Limpy’ (due to her bad joints) ended up stuck in the bog, she was very fortunate I walked up to the garage for the bike first thing in the morning of the 20th Feb’ to find this.

Just About Had it!

Just About Had it!

It was a bit of a job to drag her out but I got her onto the trailer, back to the sick bay and a bit of veterinary care, in the shape of a bucket of sheep feed. I left her to recuperate and headed over to the Forest to try and crack on with the logging.

The Last Logs

The Last Logs

Kevin was due soon, so there was a plan to drag the remaining trees to the shore and set them up for a pull by MV Aspire.

Recovering

Recovering

Back for lunch and ‘Limpy’ was up on her feet enjoying the lawn and looking a bit better.

Vented

Vented

After Hugh’s visit to look over the future energy requirements a couple of weeks back. I had been advised to create a vent in the wall due to the gassing from the charging batteries, I had it more or less closed because of the damp air getting in in the past but this winter has been pretty good and the shed is bone dry, so hopefully this vent will attract a clear flow but still keep out the rain.

Better Airflow

Better Airflow

With the New House looming there is much to do. We did not intend having lambs this year and I do not think our tup was busy with all the ewes, but we still have to pre-lamb dose them and have a look over them after the worst of the winter weather, they were all in good strip.

Pre-lamb Dosing

Pre-lambing Dosing

Glad To Be Out

Glad To Be Out

After a bit of a rodeo we got them into the pen and quickly sorted them out giving them all the potions necessary at this time. They are always glad to get back in the field after all the handling.

Rescuing The Wayfarer

Rescuing The Wayfarer

With an eye on the seaweed/rocks around the logs on the shore over at the forest. I had a thought to resurrect the Wayfarer and turn it into a rowing boat so that I could pull the logs out for Kevin! Not the best thing to row but with the 2.3hp Honda on the back I was sure it would work. I had a few tins of nearly finished filler and once I found the hardener I got most of the holes (I could see) filled, rowlock holders fitted and a new board for the outboard

Another Resurrection

Another Resurrection

Leaving it to dry out I then took a walk around the fenced in area of Big Harbour. I was looking for the sheep that had taken up residence on the cliffs. Only one contender was found but there are so many hollows and holes I’m sure the other 4 are thereabouts. This wee lamb looked pretty small and despite walking it back to the road it turned round and ran past me I guess back to the cliff where I found it, they learn fast.

Escapees

Escapees

I got the boat finished and the filler had set fine, first thing in the morning last Tuesday prior to Kevin arriving I headed out to try to pull the 5 logs out clear of the seaweed and rocks.

Bag to The Logging

Bag to The Logging

Much pulling and sweat later I managed just one log,  the rest had sunk!!

Long Tow

Long Tow

Back to the drawing board on that one as the tide was falling fast.

Stuck on the Bottom

Stuck on the Bottom

The log I did pull was sort of floating but with so much weed it caught so I left it for the tide to leave high and dry.

Some Repair Still Required

Some Repair Still Required

I put the dinghy over to the pontoon and despite taking in a bit of water I was sure it would be fine there until Kevin had been and gone.

On The Mooring

On The Mooring

We had a visit from the Factor last Tuesday and I took his colleague David first north and then south to see the extent of Rona (quickly).

More Repairs Required

More Repairs Required

Kevin, meanwhile was on the mooring due to the very low spring tide. There is not enough draft on the pontoon for MV Aspire during these tides and normally we avoid them but as they were waiting the only way to deal with it was to go on the mooring and take our visitors out on the tender. As Kevin was there for a while I asked him to check out the mooring, the report: Well worn and the top chain overdue for replacement.

Low Tide Pick Up

Low Tide Pick Up

Our guests left mid afternoon and I went back to the forest to try again at setting up the logs for pulling. I had proved that the wee dinghy could pull the logs, so floats were fitted to the sunken logsand a plan was hatched to pull the logs over the next morning’s high tide.

And Finally

And Finally

One of the problems we have on Rona is that we are like a net for plastic rubbish from the sea. The bays are full of it, in fact there are years of it buried under the grass with odd plastic colours sticking up out of years of growth. Miles of rope and many fishing buoys, I sorted out the logs and took a boat load of this rubbish back to the shore. We will bag it and send it back with MV Aspire next visit.

As Far As They Can Go

As Far As They Can Go

Next morning was much easier, the weather was perfect, the sea calm. Lots of birds about and I did see the Great Northern Divers that MV Aspire had reported when they were on the mooring. Much more important the logs were now floating, free of weed and after an hour I had the three last logs by the shore ready for blocking.

Caught in The Only Shower of The Day

Caught in The Only Shower of The Day

The next day was paperwork day, the only job outside was to measure up for our new solar panels. The frame is going beside the genny shed and Hugh wanted measurements. It was another glorious sunny day although very cold. It was going against the grain working inside but needs must. So it was with a certain amount of relief I headed out to take levels and measurements. Just as I arrived at the job, the heavens opened and for 5 to 10 minutes it absolutely poured down. Typical! I thought it was on for the day but it quickly passed and we got our site sorted out.

The Final Cut

The Final Cut

By Thursday last we were ahead with other jobs and decided to have a day at the blocking.

Next Winters Stock

Next Winters Stock

Only one trunk to do and we will get that next week.

There Ended a Lovely Day

There Ended a Lovely Day

It had been a really good day and at the end of it the sky was stunning. It started to get red late so we were hopeful of another good day tomorrow.

Solar Panel Survey

Solar Panel Survey

Sure enough Friday it dawned clear, I was thinking I should go out on the boat to take a few photos but other priorities were top of the list and we decided to do them then go South in the afternoon.

Beautiful Days

Beautiful Days Looking Down to the Skye Bridge

The end of a good week and the colours on this outing were fabulous. The blues at this time are so deep.

The Time For Counting Deer

The Time For Counting Deer

I was going to Garbh Eilean where the stags hang out in the winter. I was not disappointed, I saw three on the horizon but they soon took off.

A Visitor

A Visitor

I found them on the steep North East side and they did not hang about.

Swimmers

Swimmers

They headed down to the shore and took to the water, I nearly missed the shot as the light was so dark in between the islands.

The Visitor Was Last Off

The Visitor Was Last Off

The big stag hung back, maybe he was a Raasay stag and wanted to head South, who knows. But he eventually swam too and joined up with his mates, last seen heading North.

Dry Harbour Fly Past

Dry Harbour Fly Past

Last thing in the late afternoon I headed over to Dry Harbour to check the generator/houses. As I arrived at the schoolhouse I heard a noise and right behind me the SAR helo’ arrived, they had a couple of passes and a wave out of the door then they were off. The small herd of deer on the grass in front of the schoolhouse were more concerned with me, the noise of the helo’ did not seem to bother them.

Lovely Night For a Flight

Lovely Night For a Flight

Yesterday was a quieter day, the weather was not so good but in the afternoon I headed out for a walk through the forest to see if any treasure had been washed up on the beaches, sadly no just more plastic.

Found At Last

Found At Last

But on my back I came through the middle of the forest and there under a branch was the camera I lost in December, the mystery of the camera had bothered us since it went missing then. I remember taking photos of our guests arriving on that day but never saw the camera again, it was damp for sure but after a night on the radiator and a new battery surprise surprise the camera still works this morning, for how long we will see.

To-day's Early Sail

To-day’s Early Sail

This morning I did go out for a sail but not too early, again I was looking to get a photo of the Northern Divers, I had seen them from the shore the day before. Not much doing to be honest but the view of the Storr is always worth a look. The bay was full of seals as usual and they were unconcerned when I sailed past.

Lazing About

Lazing About

They seem to have an easier life than most!!!!

Posted in Daily Doings, The Views and of course the weather, Wildlife | 1 Comment

Sunny Days

The days roll by and here we are a month after our last post. Suns out and it is very hard to sit here blogging when there is work to do in the good weather. (that was last week!! big change to-day Sunday) To-day Sunday the 19th of Feb’ I think one month on from the last blog, a lot has happened!!

The Star Of The Settled Weather

The Star Of The Settled Weather

Mainly great sunny days 10 straight with only one cloudy day but tonight it is normal winter service, pouring from the heavens and wind, lots of it. This was so long ago, Dan was out with the Department Officer to check up on some path work, what a day Friday the 20th January.

Even Time to Clean The Windows.

Even Time to Clean The Windows.

That afternoon, I even got time to scrape the salt off the windows.

Feels Like Spring

Feels Like Spring

It was so good that the jobs where we need the weather to warm up were two months ahead of schedule, even thinking about getting MV Rona ready.

Grey stalking day

Grey stalking day

I had hinds to get for our cull figures and that was a bit of a misty day but it was better than hot sun which would have felt bizarre at this time of year.

Treasure

Treasure

Away out on the West side I came across this antler, no sign of the owner but he’ll be hidden somewhere close, it was dropped two years ago I guess by the chewing, but I’m pretty sure the owner still lives there, very low key.

Trouble

Trouble

Coming back that day the wobbly wheel became disconnected.

Bog Strip Down

Bog Strip Down

I have to admit this is a common problem, the terrain knocks a lot out of the equipment

Getting There

Getting There

Here’s the progress on the firewood store, I’m slowly, very slowly getting the log pile to the shore. Anyone want a job? Apply here?

More repairs

More repairs

I think that is one of Rona’s fortes, one day a forester next a plumber. Anyone applying for a job needs to be multi-skilled!!!

Butchering on a Sunny Day!!!!!

Butchering on a Sunny Day!!!!!

Maybe they could be a butcher? Or an electrician, stalker, boatman, fisherman, tech guy?? etc etc. I did get 1 hind and had to butcher it,  always a good day working away listening to the radio.

Burger Making on another Sunny Day

Burger Making on another Sunny Day

Next day it was the burgers, one more hind to get but time has run out, it would have been good to get some more as we are getting to peak population with the red deer here. Next year for sure after this March’s deer count we will deal with it. We look forward to it.

OOPS!

OOPS!

Jumping from butchering to roadworks, the dry weather sows a seed in the head, it is dry what can I do? Of course the boggy road up to the North. All set to go and what did I do, missed the clutch and rolled into a hole. Much cursing later and I was out, no drama.

Needing a Helping Hand

Needing a Helping Hand

No RAC or AA here, just a bit of ingenuity.

The 15 Year Old Problem

The 15 Year Old Problem

Back to the track, it is a mess for sure and even with the dry spell it did not help as the water that makes this a particularly nasty piece to pass was coming up in the middle of the road. BUT I got it sorted after bogging the tractor here a couple of times, wet peat has no foundation.

Kenny's Coming

Kenny’s Coming

Back to the forest, prompt. Kenny announced that he was coming and if I wanted he could deliver some fuel plus creels for the summer, excellent and tow the logs off.

Kenny's Here

Kenny’s Here

Kenny and James arrived exactly on time, the IBC’s he promised were turfed off plus the fuel then it was operation lumberjack.

Logging In

Logging In

James, his crew was keen to get involved and between us we got three logs towed over to the beach. Once they were clear of the seaweed they were easy to tow with the small dinghy. That has inspired me to get the old sailing dinghy seaworthy for the rest of the big logs. Shouldn’t be a problem!!!!!!!!!!

On Tow

On Tow

Kenny was ‘ginger’ about getting too close to the shore, Rona has many hidden surprises!!

Success

Success

But we soon got them over and it was up to the house for the soup, Cullen Skink of course.

Stacked and Drying

Stacked and Drying

Next day Monday I pulled them off the beach and hung the four logs out to dry a bit awaiting the log splitter.

Another Breakdown

Another Breakdown

Then the Applenet broke down. So, off up on the bike and had a look around only to find that the TOUGHswith, which is like a glorified router was rusty, seems my cable I supplied as a replacement for the Applnet outside cable had leaked, just like the previous one . I could not find a hole but it was a household cable so probably permeable? I have been waiting for a replacement cable for some time but now the Toughswitch was knackered, so that required a visit and there was not much more I could do. Hey, the view was good though.

Yet Another Breakdown

Yet Another Breakdown

Since I was in the mood for repairs and maintenance I set about the bikes, tractor and quads. All requiring oil and filters plus the usual. Maybe overdue but now a system is in place, winter months are the time for annual the servicing plan. It gives me time to get ahead. Any mechanics out there looking for a job?

Welcome Seafood

Welcome Seafood

Kenny kindly took over some prawns, it was so good to have them over two days, such a refreshing change to the diet, very welcome they were too and last night after receiving a bag of fish from Skye Fish, ‘Breuchie’ we had Bouillabaisse using the prawn shells for stock, been a while since we had it but just great.

Early Anti Fouling

Early Anti Fouling

Last year it was April  before Ali and Clive painted MV Rona, I did it in no time as it was warm sunny in Feb’ this year, quite unbelievable (also that reminded me of Leicesters performance this year!!!!!!!!!)

Change of Use

Change of Use

Much as it annoyed me to work inside on sunny days, needs must and it was not the worst job. Ian our joiner wants to stay in the cabin when we start the new house. So I’m fitting out a ‘rustic’ kitchen for him. No Magnet Kitchens Here!!

Clearing up After the Hens

Clearing up After the Hens

Never ending the work on Rona, the drain at the back of the shed had blocked up as the hens had been scraping the bracken and ground into it, seems to be a regular problem nowadays, must stop feeding them there.

Late Arrival

Late Arrival

A week last Thursday Hugh our power guru arrived with his wife Jytte, he was over to assess our present power system and to look to the future with the new house.

Otter Evening

Otter Evening

It was a stunning night when they arrived and as I was going up and down the gangway I was being watched by a seal but after 5 minutes I realised it was an otter. I got my camera out as he/she was 3 metres away only for the otter to dive, ah well!!!!

Stunning Day

Stunning Day

Hugh had a good day darting about Rona, pressing buttons on the inverters and equalising the batteries, I took him up to the Applenet mast for a look but it is not his field, unfortunately.

Checking Out The Electrics

Checking Out The Electrics

It is beyond me how all this works but there’s the catch, you don’t need to know you just need to be able to get it going. No problem, give me the spares!

The Electrics

The Electrics

I’m sure Hugh and his wife had a good visit, the weather was very kind but they stay on Scoraig so they know all about the West Coast weather.

Late Sun

Late Sun

Saturday morning MV Aspire was back and took our guests away. Another full on sunny winters day ahead of us, quite full it was too, a block splitter and scaffold had arrived the Thursday before so I got ready for a shot of that.

Hugh's Away

Hugh’s Away

Early Start

Early Start

Another glorious Saturday last, long may it continue. By the way we spotted 5 I think kayakers paddling past, first of the year, I was intrigued why the went up with the wind on the west side then down on the East side into the increasing gale!!! Maybe they didn’t, I never saw them again.

Fine Evenings

Fine Evenings

But before the log splitting it was back to the cabin to put on another coat of yacht varnish.

Getting There

Getting There

The road was coming on but I bogged the tractor, shouldn’t have trundled over there on a Sunday. However after a long trek back for the JCB I got the tractor out and flattened the road with the digger bucket, I do believe it had dried a bit. But it is so wet this picture is looking down at a spring pouring out right in the middle of the road, I’ll fix it tomorrow though.

Finding Springs

Finding Springs

At last I got to play with my new toy, the log splitter from MacGregors on a deal, a very good deal, it went through the logs like butter but first I had to build a platform off the ground as the rain gets in sometimes, seasoning requires a dry shed!

The New Log Splitter

The New Log Splitter

With the sun still shining and the JCB as my saw bench I quickly blocked the logs and for the rest of the day the two of us split and stacked logs.

My Saw Bench

My Saw Bench

I enjoy the forest work very much and have a plan for our forest across the bay, there is much old wood there to come out, nothing to be felled except the birch. There is much windblow. But with much hardwood there it is time to get ahead of the game.

Works a Treat

Works a Treat

It was a wonderful day and very satisfying working with wood.

All Set Up

All Set Up

The stack is getting bigger but it has a way to go, I thought four big trees would be more but………

And There's Next Seasons Firewood

And There’s Next Seasons Firewood

We have much more to come so watch this space. Thursday morning we got a surprise, just getting ready for a day’s paperwork and the email came in the Applenet engineer was coming to fix the broadband.

Applecross Visitors

Applecross Visitors

We had a run up, replaced the bits, switched it on but could not connect due to a small technical detail, requiring a trip back to Applecross to fix it.

p1030372

The boys headed off and I’m sure we will get the system up and running , Ali the skipper was glad to get out onto the water and it is always a good discussion when he comes, sorting the world out, our style!! Applecross Life.  Worth a look for sure, some pole dancing days I see!!!!!! Next time lift the creels on route to Rona, squatties would be good!!!!!!p1030374

Since Ali and Sean were here (and during their visit) we have had three Sea Eagles in the bay, they look like juveniles? Through the ‘scope, shakily we could see two on the rock, they look lost, I think the parents are away making a nest somewhere but not on Rona.p1030376

With a plan to use the old Wayfarer to pull the logs out I’m considering some repairs on it, I found the P40 so look out!!!p1030379

Saturday Pam and Kevin were out with fuel, another welcome 900litres of red. But Flat Freya had to visit too and she made it up to Rona Lodge, where she goes next is anyone’s guess? Flat Freya is Pam’s grand daughters project in school to see how far the ‘doll’ will travel. She sent a postcard so lets hope the kids enjoy her travels. p1030382

Saturday was tidy up and fuel away, IBC ashore in the time honoured way. Mail to sort and then bits and pieces pre rain and wind.p1030383To-day Sunday the 19th, nothing for it but in the house, paperwork, sorting out the mundane.

Escapee

Escapee

On our walk we spotted this escapee and for once our plan worked and the sheep on the outside went straight through the gate and joined its mates. An exhausting month.

 

 

 

 

 

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Logging not Blogging

Came back from Shieldaig last week inspired to get out the chainsaw and retrieve the windblown hardwoods over the Bay in the forest, so no blogging just too busy logging!!!

Old Forestry Technology

Old Forestry Technology

Was sharpening Kenny’s (Shieldaig) new powersaw on Friday night last at 10 pm and that got me going, I had a thought to try and retrieve the trees that had been windblown. I had meant to do something about them for years but like a lot of projects on Rona, they get left behind as other ‘more important’ ones come forward.

Brian Flexing His Muscles!!!!

Brian Flexing His Muscles!!!!

The weather was dryish so our visitors were roped in to volunteer their brawn. That was last week since then Brian and Gill have left us and to-day I got 4 more trunks down to 5 metres from the shore, just three to get and quite a few logs which can be manhandled. The Torfor winch is the best, slow but sure. Could do with a horse though. There is no way of getting the quad into the forest unfortunately but we will tow the trees to the shore in the spring or sooner, depends on MV Aspire’s Captain!

Nearly There

Nearly There

Other jobs last week were,  stopping the continual rain getting into the bothy, the window is leaking but no fault of the window every window is leaking, the air pressure and just days of rain, doors too, in fact everything is just sodden in and out, it is horrible!!!!!!

Leaky Window

Leaky Window

Brian’s joiner skills were put into use in the ‘shop’. We can never have enough shelves.

Keep The Staff Working

Keep The Staff Working

The one night it wasn’t a gale a rain we managed to recompense our guests with some ‘Hygge’, a fire, a few drams then a film.

'Hygge'

‘Hygge’

At the end of the week we did see odd periods of sun but it had been a pretty grey three weeks since Christmas, to-day Thursday and all of this week has not been much better.

There Was a Bit of Blue Sky

There Was a Bit of Blue Sky

Although the temperature to-day was up near ten we did see some snow last week, showers came quickly through but no snow lay on Rona, when the clouds cleared it was plain to see that the mainland and Skye had had plenty.

Snow Over Rona Lodge

Snow Over Rona Lodge

With the cold spell the sheep were queuing up early, there is always one out for a free mouth full.

Hungry Sheep

Hungry Sheep

We were providing hours of entertainment for the seals in the Bay, I counted 150 one low tide a couple of weeks ago and there were many more in the outer bay. When we are working in the forest it is not unusual to see thirty or forty heads bobbing about checking us out.

Better Day Over The Bay

Better Day Over The Bay

The North wind chased the cliff dwelling sheep back into the South facing side, I tried to entice them into the field with a bucket but they did not take too long in taking off, must get a dog!! Seems like we have lost one or two, they get into trouble on the cliffs which are like magnets for them, sweet grass out there too is the problem.

The Missing Sheep

The Missing Sheep

Saturday last was calm, despite a four day Northerly ‘gale’. The swell was well down and the ferry trip was pretty smooth. After the ferry before this one I took a photo with the Panasonic Camera I have used for years (or at least one of them, I have had 6 or 7 bodies and two lenses!!!!, Rona is hard on my cameras!) of the Aspire leaving. Anyway that is the last I have seen of my camera, it has disappeared. Don’t know where but we cannot find it, maybe one day it will turn up. Since then I’ve been using a Fuji Xpro which is too complicated for this work but I am getting used to it, it is too big to cart around but hey ho.

Chucks Away

Chucks Away

At the beginning of the week Lorraine mentioned that she had seen the windmill at Dry Harbour wobbling!!! At 6pm, which was good to know and dwell on overnight!

dscf0450First thing I was over to check it out, it had a bit of a wobble since its erection. But sure enough there was a bit of vibration at base level. Of course I did not take tools, so back to Big Harbour, collected a box of stuff and headed back to Dry Harbour. I took the big bar and socket and the first bolt slackened the one below took a full turn. Next bolt, I sheared the 1/2 inch drive so back to BH for the 3/4 drive, it was a long morning for a simple job.

At Last A Dry Day

At Last A Dry Day

Yesterday was dry, the road actually dried out, amazing. The hens took advantage of the unseasonally warm breeze and spent a lot of time sorting out their feathers.

Overdue Repairs

Overdue Repairs

Always a pest to have decided to start work on the old quad on a good day. The brakes had seized and the footrest right hand side needed welding. So in the afternoon that took all the daylight hours. Just heard from my neighbour Paul, Life at the end of the Road,  that the Rona quad I left at Arinish 12 years ago had finally bit the dust, amazing the punishment these quad bikes will stand. We have a new one and have had a few since that one which was the my one I took to Rona 15 years ago!!! But we try our best to keep the old one going as long as, so that the new one will last. Of course it is always good to have back up too.

Ear Ear!

Ear Ear!

Late yesterday afternoon, I was heading out to see how Lorraine was getting on with the painting in the ‘shop’, here was Julie at the back door scrounging food. I spotted her pal the Great Tit underneath her looking for insects I guess. She freezes when this happens and lets the bird spend as long as it wants to feed. It was pretty grey and not light so I grabbed the Nikon and fired away.

Underbelly

Underbelly

I guess the bird is getting Keds and with it being so warm they will still be on the go.

Tomorrow we are getting a visit from the Department, looks like a busy day, no Logging.

 

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A New Year, Been a While.

Seems to have been a long time since I blogged, lots been going on for sure but we’ve been busy so………….here’s a good view to start the New Year.

Leaving Rona

Leaving Rona

We have Brian and Gill here for a few weeks to help out and ‘have a holiday’, so last week we managed a few days off, haircuts, Doctors and shopping. Plus two visits to Shieldaig to take in the New Year with Kenny and Linda.

Rhu Roin

Rhu Roin

Weather was good and it was nice to see the Torridon mountains looking crisp in the winter light. We had a tour around the area and there are no surprises why visitors keep coming back to this area.

Coming Home

Coming Home

Coming home early Saturday morning last the views were spectacular but time was not on our side so a quick snap at the side of the road was all we could manage.

Flat Calm, Joy!

Flat Calm, Joy!

Into Portree in a rush, pick up the fresh stuff from the Co-op then off to Rona, good to see the sea flat calm .

Danish Delivery

Danish Delivery

We had had a text from Denmark telling us that there was a supply of wine coming from Denmark, a few bottles (cases) later MV Aspire was on its way, now what do we do with all this wine?

The Job I left.

The Job I left.

After unloading the wine there was just enough time for a walk about to see what Brian had done, I left him this gap to fill in the doorway and he did a great job (picture to follow). After that the day went downhill…………Since we got back the pressing job was firewood but a deer lawn too. On the old ‘fields’ from the Dry Harbour settlement we can see that if we clear some of the regen’ birch we could give a good acre of grass for the deer, so that is the plan. Plus a high seat for our cottage guests to sit watch and wait.

The deer lawn.

The deer lawn.

From the High Seat.

From the High Seat.

That was the last week, what about before the New Year and since the last blog of the 20th Dec’?

Awful Weather

Awful Weather

That pic just about sums it up, awful weather. Been a bit damp and breezy since the 20th, we had a bit of sunshine but it has been grim with South Westerlies coming in thick and fast.

Some Drama Too

Some Drama Too

But too much rain, good that we got the drains sorted out.

Days of Rain

Days of Rain

Apart from this drain which I thought was clear but no, stones and ground had fallen against the intake and hey presto a new water supply.

Apart from This Drain

Apart from This Drain

In amongst it all their was time for a walk, with this years greylag tagging along. The goose seems to have decided to hang about rather than take its chance with its family. They left this one stayed.

Our Semi tame Goose

Our Semi Tame Goose

It has been quite a wildlife bonanza lately with many sightings of otters, Sea Eagles, the deer of course and the bay full of seals, over 150 at the last count.

Spot The Seals

Spot The Seals

Poor weather does not mean horrible days, the opposite in fact with very dramatic clouds and sea state.

Cloudy Day

Cloudy Day

Depending on the direction of the wind the Bay can be quite dramatic too.

The Bay was Boiling

The Bay was Boiling

In between storms Brian and Gill our pals from Cheshire arrived with the big bag of Xmas mail one week late but no worries, extra presents are always welcome.

Xmas Mail

Remote Cottage Mail

The only job to do before New Year was to get the antlers/trophies packaged and sent off to Portree for on delivery to Denmark, so with Brian’s joinery skills we put together the last of the box and fixed the stags heads inside. Hopefully the Customs will not get too excited about the box!!!!!!

Antlers Package Ready for Off

Antlers Package Ready for Off

New Year crept up on us and with a bit of kilt sharing we headed up to the top of the hill for the annual ‘taking in the bells’. A good night, not too cold just breezy but one firework later we were heading back down to the Lodge for a wee celebration.

Dancing in the New Year

Dancing in the New Year

Always a good day the 1st of January, just as we mean to continue, champagne breakfast!!!

Nothing For it But Champagne

Nothing For it But Champagne

Mind you it was about 12.30 when we took the photo.

Talking about photos, I lost my camera. In between the ferry that took Brian and Gill over and taking guests to the cottage my old Panasonic has disappeared with all the weeks photos in it, Goodness knows where it went but maybe one day it will turn up, fingers crossed. In the meantime, lets look forward to a very Good New Year!!

 

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