A New Year

Sooooo long since I had a bit of time to post something, but pre-Christmas was manic here, then the dreaded cold that is doing the roundscame, then a bit of time off and now back to the grind. There has been tons to report on as usual, nothing changes it is always a full programme here!!

Let’s start with the new Christmas present to myself, the Trail camera. First day out and a Golden Eagle came to lunch.





Then there was Julie getting her ‘bugs’ removed by the birdies.

Julie and her pal

The seal pups are getting very brave this year, so many and right up beside the sheds on the shore.


Leave me alone.

Ian the joiner left for the holidays and the weather got better, a few dry sunny days typical when we closed down for the season.

Closing Down.

More on the New House Page .

The weather up until last week has been pretty good, the snow came but did not bother us too much. We had two days of white but nothing to write home about. Mostly dry which was very pleasant after the monsoon last year.

Last Months Views From Rona

Some amazing sunrises too and an odd sunset. We were out stalking early in the morning and so were the Navy.

Sub in The Inner Sound

Sub in The Inner Sound 2

Even managed a trip to Portree to get the stores and insulation, Dan was taking building material out for us and I took advantage of the calm cold day to take the extras, it was a cracking day.

Portree Sunrise

Loaded and Off

The Operation going Well

Ready for the final push.

Christmas week came upon us all to soon, not a Christmas card sent but hey ho, we’ll get round to it sometime.

Our Christmas, New Year Guests enjoying the peace.

Our guests even managed a winter paddle accompanied by the hundred and fifty seals in the bay.

Festive Paddle

Some days have been better than any we had since the 31st of July last year.

This was our Boxing Day walk

The New House the long view

A very cold day but clear for miles.

New Years Day Walk

By New Year everything was snowy which was very seasonal, lovely view even with the snow showers.

Firewood Retrieve

I had cut some timber over in the forest before Christmas and our stocks were very low so plenty jobs to do even during this time.

Catching the Tide

Job Half Finished

The sunrises over the last month have been pretty spectacular but catching them is always a rush, this one from the back door.

Winter Sunrise

Our guests reported this Porpoise or is it a Dolphin? washed up at Dry Harbour. It was pretty high so I did not hang about, the tide took it away the next day.

Washed Up at Dry Harbour

And next day our guests were off with boxes of venison after two weeks of perfect peace, food and drink, the beard now white!!

Heading Home

The Rest of The Insulation Arrives

I had a weeks stalking planned but the build and maintenance still goes on. Calum came out to help with the windmill service (long overdue), it was forecast flat calm for two days. We got our deer away on the boat and the remaining insulation, plus stores came over.

Broken Bolts

Calum and Irene were two minutes on the job when they  found two sheared bolts and loose anchor bolts. We were very lucky to have been able to catch that and repair it , given to-days storm(Georgina).

Creative Dismantling/rebuild

We did a bit of creative engineering and re-erected the turbine which is now working well.

We are on the Case and up she goes.

Both turbines have done an enormous amount of generation over the years and we cannot be too complacent with the maintenance schedule but it is luck, things can change very quickly with such a powerful machine.

In between ‘The Hind Stalking’ we had a few hours over in the forest cutting more firewood and many hands make light work, we now have quite a pile to take home. It was good to catch up on odd jobs together and Dave our stalker went off on his own walkabout on a deer count.

Calum and Irene left with Dave  a week ago last Saturday, since then the weather has been challenging, snow, rain and of course wind.

Hungry Ewes.

At this time of year the sheep are at the door by first light they are pretty fat but still hungry. Feeding hens and sheep gets me out in the morning even although the weather can be a bit daunting. But it is the time of year for inside work with short days and also good weather for butchering and with the recent hind cull the freezer is filling up.

Stocking Up.

That is the update so far in 2018. To-day’s (Wednesday 24th) storm Georgina was a beauty and the next blog will report on that.






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Stormy Days

This is the first day indoors since our holiday which seems so long ago. Been busy helping Ian the joiner (He’s outside to-day!!). We have had a bit of a rush trying to get to the stage where the roof was fixed down and we finished that just in time for storm Caroline tomorrow, although it could be a storm here yesterday and to-day by mainland standards.

Working Late Into The Night.

We came back from Padstow on the 9th of November, via Shieldaig.

High Seas

We were in Edinburgh Thursday expecting to go back Saturday but as often happens at this time the weather changed. I opened the laptop at 8.30am and there it was, Northerlies for a week. So we upped sticks and headed off prompt to Shieldaig.

Looking Back To Red Point

There was no time to get to Portree before dark so Shieldaig was our easiest option, as it happened we just made it in time to get the daylight out to Rona. It was good to get home but a bit fraught. Thanks to Kenny for dropping everything and taking us back at such short notice.

Portree Visit

We were not long home when we had to go to Portree but it was good to get the mail and get the car to the pier.

Two Weeks Mail

With two weeks mail and papers it was good to pick that up and to see Doctors/bank etc. So much to pack into such a short visit with the clock ticking before dark.

A Flying Visit

It was quite a sea running from the North so it was no surprise to see SD Raasay coming in from this side of the gap, for a quick visit. I had a quick shouting match with Kenny the Skipper but we could not hear each other what with the boat engines and North wind, but good to see them all the same.


Easy seen it was rough seas, the bay was full of seals on our return, we counted 165 and 25 of these were pups, all lying together and only 20metres from the bunkhouse. This time of year when the bay is quiet the seals pile on into the harbour for shelter.

Work Goes On.

Ian the Joiner was held up from returning to Rona what with weather and other commitments, so I got on with moving the building material. Any calm (dry)  day it is very important not to hang about.

Our Own Personal Builders Merchants.

It may have been a good day but the ground below our feet and machines is so soft, often getting stuck. In the summer we were forced to dump tonnes of stone at each gate to help which was just as well given the rain since.

Shifting The Cladding

It is the time of year for feeding the sheep and of course Julie turns up chasing the sheep away so we have to feed her apart to give the sheep a chance, but now the hens are giving Julie a hard time stealing ‘her’ feed.

Julie Back Yet Again

She came here in 2003 and was one and a half years old then, she is looking thin but seems to thrive, she has had another calf this summer and it is in good condition.

Corn on Rona

I was feeding Julie and opened the ‘herb garden’ lid to let the water run off and it seems that corn was growing quite well with the herbs (and weeds), it must have been hen feed scattered that by chance grew. What chance of it being harvestable in any quantity is debatable, especially this year. But interesting to see.

Snow Arrives

With the North wind it was just a matter of time before the snow would be on the hills, seems to be a bit of a Northerly trend this winter so I would not be surprised if we have serious snow, been a while since any lay for any time on Rona.

At this time we do get away weather permitting and it seems to be a time when weddings, holidays and all sorts of appointments take place. We were not back two weeks and we had been invited to Gemma and James’ wedding in Sleat, Our friends Kenny and Linda from Shieldaig’s daughter. The weather was difficult and Lorraine was sick on the day of departure so stayed on Rona. I had to attend alone (no hardship) and enjoyed a lovely couple of days. The day was grey to start and the view here from the church at Duisdale was pretty dark.

Wedding Day

The ceremony went very well and we were off to Talla Duisdale for a wonderful reception. What a great hall that they have built there, I hope it gets used plenty and the catering was excellent.

The Reception


Kinloch Morning

Although a beautiful calm morning at Kinloch Lodge Hotel, I wasn’t feeling too good but headed back to Rona before the Northerly. A very comfortable stay as usual.

The Velux Windows Arrive

When I was at the wedding the Velux windows arrived, they were a challenge getting them onto the boat, far less up onto the roof, but we have not been beaten yet.

With a Little JCB help.

With the platform on the JCB we got both windows up and even the heavy one went in a treat after having been stuck with the wee one, we learn quickly here.

Fitted at last. Now for the corrugated tin.

The only problem was that they do not sell the flashings with the window and of course we could not fit the aluminium roofing until we had those. The weather was crap and our ferry operators were away, Dan was broken down, so nothing for it but to take off for Portree on the only calm window of the week once they arrived at Skye Express.

Mixed Load

Picked up our new gas cooker, other bits and pieces as well and shot back before the Northerly got going again, good to get that out of the way and next day we were in business, fitting the windows.

The Final Leg

The gas cooker is for the Escape house but unfortunately it would not fit the jeep. I hit a bump and the back window shattered, our poor jeep has suffered some amount of abuse.

Broke the Window

I think in protest the door decided to fall of the jeep on my return to the garage.

The Door Parked Up.

Meanwhile the roof was going well and we were on course to finish it before the storm season really got underway.

Fitted and Dry at Last

Finally with storms fast approaching it was batten down the hatches, unfortunately the suppliers sent the wrong ridge/flashing straps so we could not fit them. We battened everything down in anticipation of the first real winter storm. Fingers crossed!!!!!!

Working under lights.

We worked late into the night and after a blowy day next day everything is as secure as you could make it.

Awaiting the Storm.

Forget Storm Caroline, I’ve just been out (4pm Wednesday and it is pitch dark) , lost my hat, the wind is howling, from the South. Let’s hope it veers West very soon.

On a more sombre note.

It is always a thought when we hear on the VHF or see the Portree lifeboat heading out, and so it was a week last Monday when we were on our way back to Rona from Portree that we heard that a boat was in trouble. Then we heard the news that it was ‘Veruna’ and that Alasdair MacLeod her owner was missing. It is a horrible thing to hear and even more distressing when you know the person and their family.

Since then there is little or no hope and the search was called off. Our thoughts are very much with Alison and the boys at this time.

Alasdair was on Rona many times, more so lately with the maintenance of the Applnet mast. He was also kind enough to take ‘Castaway Claire’ to Rona in 2015 for her charity stay. We always looked forward to his visits where we had an always too brief a chance to chew the fat about living remotely, the challenges of making a living, trying very hard to get Communities to work together and of course land ownership. Sadly we will not have that long discussion we always talked about.

Alasdair on Veruna Delivering Claire



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Holidays at Last.

Early Morning Call

We are a long way away from new house builds and highland weather, we are down in Padstow, Cornwall enjoying sunshine and warm days. A lucky week weatherwise and we could call it our summer because we did not have one from the 31st of July on Rona, that is for sure. Not even the seagulls trying to get in through the roof lights at 6.30am are enough to wake us up, only after an hour or so they get a bit annoying.

Again, it has been a while since I blogged, lots on for sure and trying to grab a minute (or hour) to blog was proving impossible, so there is a lot to catch up on and for that reason I’ll try to cram into these blog posts over the coming few days. Rain tomorrow I hear so maybe another tomorrow.

I did a quick one in between but there was no time……….just a brief update.

So, what has been happening.

Wet Days

I see by the date that this is the 7th of September, just about sums up the problems we had. There was so much rain that the field has turned into a bog, maybe I was expecting too much to be able to lift the pecker out of the field.

Finding Stones

Whilst putting in the drain Hugh had come across this beauty, just right in line with the pipes and in the middle of a bog, now it is on show after being buried forever.


At the back of the Utility Room the water had been pouring in so an extra drain was put together and it so far has been really good taking the ‘river’ away.

12 bags left.

When we had 10 tonnes of cement delivered in June? we were wondering if we had ordered too much or miscalculated but as it happened we were right down to the wire with our measure, hard to believe but there it is.I’ve lost count of the landing crafts by this time.

Landing craft No’ 5

Maybe no 5, but a very important one.

More scaffold, more fuel, more timber and most importantly the windows. Now this was a very stressful moment, getting the windows from Scandinavia, via Glasgow, to Mallaig, then onto Rona. Up to the site unloaded and then into the building.

Maybe Not as Nor Dan Would have done it.

Drainage on the Wettest Day

Back to the day job and we had to put in the new drains, of course it poured all day, what fun in the black treacly peat!!!

Mud Glorious Mud

Despite the rain the yachts still arrived and this one in the middle of a changeover at sea with MV Aspire. Kevin had a rope round his prop’ and we went out to assist but it did not stop Aspire running and with no diving gear it was back to Portree to check it out.

Brave Souls

Next day, despite the blue sky it rained again later. But what was worrying was the amount of water pouring out of the stack of wood when I lifted it.

Well Watered Timber

Our new arrivals were from London, enjoying a very wet week of weather but since reported that they had a good sail round the back of Skye to the small Isles. Well done them, in a particularly poor sailing season.

Happy Sailors (they had our last can of beer!!)

We had taken delivery of an extension boom for the digger to lift the main ridge beams, our calculations of weights and lengths were just about to be tested. So a bit apprehensively we gingerly tried the beam.

Lifting the Beam Bare

That went ok and we now had to pack the beam out out adding quite a considerable weight to the lift but we were confident. The boom was a one off design by MacKay’s of Invergordon and it is possible it will only be used once, quite an added expense but better than the cost of a crane/landing craft set up.

Thinking About Roofing the building

Quite a major time as we moved from the sub structure to the topside.

We had a wee bit of a hiccup with the middle upright, much scratching of heads and we gave up. Later that night I had a look at the plans and there it was. The middle upright was upside down. Doh!!! Easy mistake as there were no codes on it unlike all the rest of the steel, but now it was ready for the final tightening down.

Going Well

All of a sudden the building started to take shape and although we had or have had rain every day since the 31st of July there were some bright moments.

Talking About Bright Moments

The view from the ridge beam was on this occasion dry and bright, with the Green Isle in the Bay and a lone yacht.

Back to the drainage

A wee spell of dry weather and it was back to the mud and drainage.

Back Filling

Good to get it back filled and the pipes protected.

Even Landscaped

Although a wet summer we had not had the wind that we usually get, in fact it has been pretty calm until October.

Well Insulated

Meaning quite a few trips to Portree in the MV Rona.

Unorthodox Unloading

But on the way back I just missed the tide so we had to be a bit inventive unloading the boat.


Meanwhile Ian was getting on with the framing and it was coming along fine.

Rona Sunrises

Getting into late September is a special time, the sunrises are getting later and you often wake to bright red skies, this particular week we had red mornings every day despite the rain.

Always Worth Getting Up For.

The Main Route to Schiphol I’m Told

Another Glorious Morning

Part of it at this time is the Rut is just around the corner and I like to get up to see how many big stags we have.

Torn Ear

Our Master stag ‘Torn Ear’ was never far away at the start of the rut but he was posted missing on the last two weeks, hopefully he will turn up.

One of his Mates

Torn Ear Look Alike

More about the stalking week on our Red Deer Page (Coming Soon)  .

Coming Home

With calm weather, it was good to get caught up with material from Portree, unfortunately since then we have a backlog but fingers crossed for a few days in November so that we can shift some stuff.

MV Seaflower on a Rare Visit

We have hardly seen the Seaflower this year due to weather mainly and even then I was away in Portree most days they came but good to catch them even briefly.

Heart Stopping Moments 1

As the structure was slowly threatening to close we needed to get the windows inside so that we could handle them (and get them sheltered!!). They were pretty heavy and one false move!!!!

Heart Stopping Moments 2

Like this one when the bottom fell out of the IBC, a new one on me. It had rusted away. Fortunately we lost none of the content.

All present and in store, but not in place, Yet!

That is a very brief take on this last couple of months up’s and downs. Been good to get to the stage we are at and on our return it is the roof and wall cladding. Back to holiday time now.

Forgot To mention….

Just looking at the pictures and saw this one. This motor boat came in we think for a couple of days but got well and truly storm bound, they could have left on one day if it was Portree or Gairloch they were going but I think it was round the back of Skye they planned. So, seven days later on a late calm sunset night we saw them depart. Our last ‘Summer’ visitors!!

As for Padstow………Summer’s still here.


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A Very Quick (been a long time)Update

Despite hurricane Ophelia this week, the roof went on, the sides take shape, funny skies for sure and very dark all day Tuesday. Getting there though despite the continuous rain. To-day a ferry, a landing craft and the topping out of the roof, another milestone. Roll on the holidays!!

Long days, wet days, very windy days but the team battle on. Maybe, just maybe I’ll get a chance to get back to blogging soon.

Just about there at 5pm to-day

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We Are Still Here!!

No one said building a house would be easy and for sure it adds another dimension to our busy life out here, but we love the challenge!! I can picture the day when we are sitting on the balcony sipping a wee glass of something, bring it on!!

To-day after a 12 hour Day Yesterday.

In the meantime for the last months house building click on: The New House.

A Long Time Ago

Trips to Portree have been pretty regular this month, been good for stores, mail and a paper. But important to keep feeding the tradesmen. We maximise the load every time.

Coming Round The Head

Not a bad way to go to Rembrandt/Jewsons and MacGregors who have been very good at dropping things on the pier for us.

A Sign Of Things To Come

It has been a calm month which made for easier trips, but wet, which means, ‘ Midgies’!!!

Breakdown Central This Month

And when you have breakdowns, lying below the tractor has not been much fun, we have had quite a few burst hydraulic pipes, diesel issues, punctures and on going faults that are sent to try us.

Late August Evening, Raining.

However even in the rain it is nice to look out and see this large family? group walking quietly past Rona Lodge.

The Main Man In Portree

Yacht numbers are almost the same as last year which is surprising given the weather. Not so many foreign visitors. We thought that after we closed the Lodge/shop to visitors word would have got round and we would have had less yachts, but not so. The guy on the boat runs Dan’s chip shop, Chubba who is Hungarian. He makes the best chips in Portree!!

Nice Friendly Dog!!!!

The cottages have been busy, with quite a few return guests, nice to see Andrew, Wendy, Josh and the dog.

Fay And The Kids Catching Fish, At Last.

Fay and the kids enjoyed a sunny day catching a few Pollock despite the glorious sunny day. Nice to get a calm day.

It Was Not All Rain

Sadly one day sun then a few days of rain. This morning it is very like a January/February morning with a full gale, pouring rain and dark.

Remind Me Not To Touch It

Hugh was away in the middle of the month so I thought I would do a bit of clearing up myself, I’d just finished and was rather pleased with myself when the track came of. I got it back on and thought I was doing well. But did not notice the other one was off, until Hugh’s return and he pointed it out!!!

Calum Coming With The Kitchen Sink

Another breakdown, this time central heating, Calum was called and I needed an old tap so I got the kitchen sink too. The central heating is not the best and with four systems on Rona there is always something needing attention. Seized pumps, leaking valves, rusty fuel lines, there is plenty to keep an eye on.

Shearing Time

In between house building, looking for a dry day, the sheep needed to be sheared. Leaving them too long because of the weather and waiting for a shearer meant that they are open to fly strike. One of our old ewes suffered an attack and that prompted me to shear them myself. My back stood up to it which was a surprise, some of the earlier clipped sheep I did resembled the ‘Specsavers Add’ but the second lot were a lot better, I’m pleased to say.

Lochmaddy Unexpectedly

Off to Lochmaddy on family business just for one night only, good to see my old haunts, 9 years ferrying back and fore on the original Hebridies in the late 70’s early 80’s then its successor made for a nostalgic trip. Too brief though.

Spot The Legs

I was intrigued at the body lying on the deck of this boat, turned out it was a training dummy.

Iain A Dune’

Called at Dunskellar for a Morag breakfast, good to be back in Sollas and ‘quickly’ catching up. I spent many hours here in the 80’s happily roaming the Machair with Iain shooting rabbits, seems we did have an impact, there are very few now. But hundreds of geese, maybe time for a return?


Back to Rona on the Monday and quickly into house building.


Craig was up from Cailness to help out for a while, we had a good week and on Sunday we had an early morning prowl to check out the stags for the coming season.

Heading Back To Portree

When crossing a steep ditch the trailer back came up sharp and caught Craig on the lower back. It was a bit sore but we carried on. However, it became apparent that all was not well and with him in a lot of pain and seizing up we decided to call the lifeboat. Better to be safe, I was not comfortable taking Craig for a check up as the sea was a bit bumpy, it could have been spinal. But it turned out to be a badly bruised kidney.

Long Way From Home

In the middle of the mayhem we had a visit from Alan Squires, his family and relatives.

WHFP Article

Sadly I did not have as much time as I would have liked with them, but it was a good day and I’m sure they enjoyed Rona, seeing the house where it all started.

My Nearest Neighbour, Paul

As well as many trips to Portree, I’ve been back and fore to Arinish to pick up Hugh. handily he got stuck in the wet ground above the pier but Paul was at hand to pull him out. The bonus was a box of welcome, Raasay pork from Paul, good sausages!! Check out Paul’s blog

Stags on the Way Home

On the way home we lifted the lobster creels and had a bit of luck, better still I saw some nice stags very wary at the South end.

I Want One Of These

Back into the harbour and I saw the type of boat I’d really, really like for Rona. Maybe next year, we’ll see. Got to build a house first. Anyway the interesting thing about this boat, it had a now common species aboard. The greater spotted WiFi hunter. This species recently emerged on Rona although I think they are common around the West Coast, especially at the Fairy Pools, Old Man of Storr area. Often seen holding a mobile phone aloft in the hope of attracting the elusive WiFi. Despite signs asking visitors to keep out of the house area, we found two specimens walking around. On asking what they were looking for they were very keen to see the Wifi and its subspecies, the password. As it was late at night we declined to help them, thereupon they toodled down to the bothy. Being keen WiFi hunters they called on Hugh who is resident in the bothy and got him out to see if he could help. Suffice to say he could not help them locate the password. Leaving two if not three WiFi hunters desolate at missing the chance to locate a live WiFi on Rona. Last seen heading to Portree where I understand there has been a real explosion of WiFi’s this year.

Breakdown Solved

Remember the tractor, after many attempts at sorting the problem including a new battery it turned out to be a badly corroded ignition switch. A call to MacRa’s and a replacement was on its way. Good old Lucas.

Rain Stopped Play

We have had quite a few trying moments with the house but this must rate up there with the worst. We have to floor the building to give Ian a platform to work on, it is not the finished floor. We tried to get waterproof Caberboard but it is as elusive as the WiFi. We did get ordinary 22mm but we have to waterproof paint it. An easy job in the summer, not so. We have been dodging now for three weeks trying to get it done. But after two whole days of nearly dry weather we got it done, hurray.

New Hen Shed

Another job was to buy, paint and erect the new hen shed. After a bad attack of red mite and a collapsing hen shed there was no alternative. New shed arrived.

The Old Hen Shed Ceremoniously Torched

Old shed was cremated, red mites too.

Paul The pastor

We had an interesting visit from Paul and Wendy Roach our second Air BnB customers. Turned out he was originally from Wales but had lived in America for over 30 years. He sprung a surprise on us by getting me to join him in a radio broadcast from Rona all done by the ‘WiFi’ in Rona Lodge and with an Iphone, Amazing. Like all our guests it is always a pleasure to get a bit of time with them and to hear their story. Paul is a Minister in Fort Worth, Texas.

Paul John Roach on his World Spirituality Radio Talk Show on the Unity Online Radio network.

George Being George

On one of the few very sunny hot days Lorraine spotted George getting the shade, the sheep (our mowers) had knocked over the bench in search of the grass below it.

Kaza Enjoying The Breeze

It feels like it has been the worst August we have ever experienced weather wise, but there were quite a few good days and Paul’s neighbours at Dry Harbour, Andreas and Kasia had asked to go out for a fish. It was an enjoyable evening and we had quite a mixed bag including Octopus which I was going to throw back but Andreas went quite mad, so we kept them with him promising to cook them for me.

Red Moon At Anchor

Into the harbour and Red Moon was at anchor enjoying the late sunshine.

Andrea On Cleaning Duties

The Octopus you can have but you must do the scrubbing, that was the deal.

Rain Art

Meanwhile up at the quarry where Hugh has spent an awful lot of time, the monsoon was scouring the ditches. I see that there has been landslides along the cliffs at Scorrybreac, no surprise.

Preparing For Window Arrival

Our next landing craft is coming soon. The windows are on it and quite expensive they are, so to try and make for a level delivery we have carted in the usual hundreds of tonnes of rock to make the shore level. At last.

Monday Night Feast

Over to the Escape cottage for the seafood extravaganza and the wine did not disappoint.

Lobster Bisque, more Wine

Yet more wine and a lovely lobster bisque.

Polpo Pasta, even more wine!!

Followed by past con Polpo, excellent, almost meaty taste.

Pork Cheeks, Rissoles and Potato/Cavolo Nero cakes – Yes More Wine!!!!

Just when I thought I was finished Andreas surprised us with this lovely dish. Well fed and a wee bit well oiled we headed for home, late.

At Last, a flushing Loo in the Bothy

It was a poor Tuesday so we decided at last to fit the flush loo to the bothy, at last we can have a toilet there with no ‘immediate’ worries, let us hope our system works.

Inverness Visit, sun shining on the way home

Grabbing the chance on a calm Thursday I took Hugh to Raasay then over to Portree early in the morning. Unfortunately my car would not start. A light had been left on. A quick call to Micky at M2 Motors and I had a hired car. I lost an hour but no worries I got all my jobs done, hair cut and picked up fuel then back to Rona.

Late Coming Home

Always nice to come into the harbour, only one yacht in, they may have been WiFi hunters, not sure.

Another ‘Normal’ Saturday Baggage Delivery

Saturday came, the usual piles of baggage coming and going but not a world record yet.

Road Upgrade

Hugh came back on the Saturday ferry with the part that had broken on the digger and once fixed immediately got back to finishing the road behind the house.

A Rona Motorway

Great to have the ditches shedding the water off the road. Another ‘ At Last’.

Monday Mid Day: It has been a grim morning, I guess the whole of Scotland has it by now. Grey, grim, pouring and blowing a gale. We’ve had a busy wet morning with a dirty fuel issue in the digger. But all of a sudden it has become very bright. It has gone from February to late summer all at once.



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Catching up

Kevin was asking when the next Rona Blog was coming and after finding out I’d missed posting last months effort, I’m trying in between torrential rain to get up to date with Rona things. It has been extra busy with the house for sure and the weather has not been too bad until the end of this week when it has rained, got cold and of course windy. No yachts in to speak of and just the odd sail out there. But it has dried up here at lunch time so I guess there will be a visitor in the Bay tonight. (2 in at 7pm)

It seems a long time ago since the Raasay kids from the primary visited, 28th June I see!!

Raasay Primary

Cottages are busy and that was where we were this Friday night transferring our guests at sea, the tide was too low for MV Aspire’s draft alongside the pontoon so we transferred everyone and the baggage at sea, even the dog!! Brian and Gill know the score but Malcolm and Dascha our new and first Airbnb guests were not sure what they had let themselves in for, but it was very calm and very safe.

Sea Transfer 1

Tesco’s delivery at Sea

Lying alongside

Getting Ready to cast off

That was Friday and Brian, Gill and Teal the dog who had been with us for a month were heading home and we were sorry to see them go, been good to get support during a busy building month.

The house is coming on fine and after our initial hiccups with folk coming onto the site I have to say almost everyone has respected our signs and been aware of diggers, dumpers and material getting shifted. Rona, off Yacht Eynhallow’s was an exception to site rules and I think she approved, especially when she got her usual venison bones.

Rona Visits The Site

(More on the house build page)

Summer Afternoon on Rona

Early on this month the weather had been exceptional, however we did have a few days of real crappy weather, but overall we cannot complain. These last few days have been trying but the sun’s out now. Yachts have been thin on the ground. That has not stopped some of them blotting their copybook.

Stuck on the Mooring Chain

The Morning After

This yacht reversed onto the strop of the mooring, why yachts have to moor so close to our mooring I have never worked out but it leads to this type of debacle. Once they cleared the strop from their propeller, or rudder? They put their anchor through the mooring chain and promptly got stuck. They messed about with it that night then for a couple of hours in the morning they did the same. I asked them to come ashore with their contact details but once they freed themselves they took off, I was  not impressed. Because they may have damaged it. I will check!! We know where you live!!!!!!!!!

We Have a Swimming Pool

To say we had some rain is an understatement, so much so that we had an accidental swimming pool, now sorted.

Back and Fore to Portree

Been good weather for multiple trips to Portree,  passing Yacht Sea Rose quite early one morning.


I don’t think I’ve missed a gathering off the cliffs around Portree bay. Every year I seem to catch the shepherds on their vertiginous walk, always impressed at the dogs speed running back and fore.

Essential Supplies

Of course we did have building supplies on board but it is dry work.

Danish Visitors

We had Danish visitors for a week in July and a fishing trip was arranged. We were invaded by RIB’s just as we left, they were on a West Coast 500 boat trip, heading I think to Ullapool/Lochinver and then round the top of Scotland.

Stags Down South

We caught a few mackerel, some langoustine and even a lobster, which the guests enjoyed very much.

Hiding in the Bracken

When we were down at the South end it was good to see the stags hanging about there, even one with one antler.

Outboard Trouble

Coming back from Portree on one of the evenings  and the engines started playing up. We spent a whole day (which was missed from the build) trying to fix the engines but were not successful. They still did not run right but they did come good last thing at night when I took a final run round the bay.

Round the Corner.

I got a surprise when we came onto this huge yacht moored out of sight, the engines were going well so I decided I would go to Portree in the morning.

Welcoming party

Again Portree was like a Blackpool weekend, very scary.

Our only Kayakers this year.

Back to Rona with building material later that morning and our  paddlers from Applecross who stayed overnight were ready for the next part of their trip, around Raasay. Weather very good.

Shifting Steel

Round about that time (Which seems weeks ago) we decided to put up most of the steel, a slow process but all went well and thanks again to MacKay’s engineering Invergordon for their precise engineering.

Double Pick Up

Yet another trip to Rona but this time I found out what was wrong with engines of the boat, the fuel pipe on one petrol tank had split and was drawing air, sorted. This trip was to pick up Ian Bolas from Rum and Hugh at Arinish, Raasay. Ian was coming to sort out the Applnet / Rona side of the internet service and he set to sorting it out in good time, much appreciated the in depth training, on how too………

Full Up

Back to Rona early evening to find a fair few yachts in the Bay.


Good to see Kenny on Yacht Sula over from Shieldaig with his mates, we enjoyed a dram that night with them, good fun and a good diversion from the build.

Steel is Almost There

Back to the house and the steel went up quickly as the connections were as they should be.

Room With a View

From the front window

Here’s the view we hope to enjoy next year when we are all done and dusted. Without the digger boom!!

Grey Day

One of the greyer trips to Portree, shades of things to come with more rain forecast.

Sure Enough

Sure enough on Saturday during the changeover it poured which was a bit of a damper on a relatively good week.

Grey but not Too Bad in the Bay

The rain did not last long that day, I think it was on all day Sunday but once the sun comes out it is pretty clear. Red Moon charters were in for a few days, with no charter that week they were holed up on Rona.

Yacht Shivinish

Yacht numbers are a bit down but I don’t think it is because we are shut, possibly the weather and too much information via Internet weather websites? But it was nice to see our good friends John and Jane MacInnes from Tayvallich rock up on their latest Yacht ‘Shivinish’.

Jane and John MacInnes

Always up for a job it was not long before I press ganged John into a nights fishing.

Flat Calm Fishing.

Also a quick trip next day  to Portree yet again to pick up some 9×2 for the web packing of the steel on the house. Flat calm and the boat went well.

Yet another Portree trip

But there is always the unloading and these guys are not light.

Early Morning Crowd

Another good day and I had a wee prowl looking for a stag, it was a very calm bright morning which I’m sure the yacht people enjoyed waking up to.

Chief Burger Maker

Having got the stag and butchered it in between shifts at the house I gave Brian a day off the tools and as he was good at mixing concrete I gave him promotion to chief burger maker. With lots of contractors and helpers about the venison is not going far.

I’ve lost track of days that all the above happened but this was last Tuesday, Joyce had been in touch looking for Rona whisky and was very keen to visit Rona. There was a boat last Tuesday with the architects and we offered her a seat on it. I had been to Portree first thing to unload a lorry load of insulation and then pick up Hugh, it was quite rough and as Kevin was coming out with the rest of the load Joyce went on MV Aspire and had a great day.


The architects, Hazel and Nick had a look around the site and answered all the questions then all to soon they were on their way. Joyce’s round trip was North Berwick to Inverness, Inverness Portree, Portree Rona and all on the way back over three days, well done.

Time to go.

Once they had departed it was back into the house build and again shifting lots of material, this time 90mm Quin therm. But where to put it?

Easy Unloading

In an effort to save my back it is always wiser to work with the tides.

The Weather Has Broken

But the rain came on pretty quick and to be honest it has not stopped since (although there are very hot spells when the sun does shine).

Back To The Day Job

With the build in progress it has been difficult to keep up with the breakdowns servicing and repair. But needs must. The JCB suffered bent forks when unloading the Spanish John in a hurry one of these nights. With Hugh’s 14 tonne digger and a bit of heat we managed to bend the pin that holds the forks together back in to place.


And Finally

Our guests this week are Paul and Claire, they said they were prepared for wet weather and when I was over delivering some venison steaks I could see how, quite a selection and seems to be a common thread in our holiday cottages……………. Hopefully it will not be a month until the next blog.




Posted in Daily Doings, The Views and of course the weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Drones and Nature

OOPS!!!! I’ve just discovered that this blog post from a month ago has not been posted, maybe something to do with our internet being down. Both Applnet and satelitte gave up the ghost at the same time. Applnet with reconfiguration taking forever and I hear it may go off again to-day, hope not. AB Internet our satelitte provider has gone out of business so we still have a slower link direct with Avanti but for how long……….. That is my excuse, but here goes, the news from a month ago.

A Lost Post!!!

Well it has been a while, that’s because we’ve been flat out with the new house. However, life goes on around us and we have to deal with it. First moan!!!! Drones have their place I guess but for us here not on Rona. Why you would want to come to a peaceful, remote harbour and have this irritating machine buzzing about is quite beyond my comprehension. Especially with the best year yet for nesting birds, in fact 10 feet from this Drone Pilot there was a gull sitting on eggs. It was bombing this guy and he was still going to fly his drone.

Why Would you

But on the next tide Angus and John our yachting friends arrived and as usual mucked in with whatever we were doing, in this case trying to keep the timber dry.

Angus and John

Moan no 2: We have signs up, “construction Site Keep Out” etc etc, but these guys ignored them, walked onto our building site and told us that they don’t read signs, they ignore them and they were  “just having a Look’!! ‘We’re doing no harm’. Okay so now we have completely closed down because we cannot deal with people wandering all over the site ‘just to have a look’. Well done Yacht ‘State O’chassis?’ Clyde Cruising Club.

Yachties Don’t Read Signs (he said) !!!!!!!

Back to the real world, water woes. I was having problems with the water supply, using loads of filters and could not work it out.

Water Woes

Temporary in line filters were quickly blackened with the rain messing up the peat in the water.

Temporary Supply

Then I noticed the sheep trough overflowing, one of the sheep had pushed the ballcock in and the trough had been ‘leaking’ for days.

Here’s The Problem and Not the First Time

But it was a while before it settled.

1 Day

Yachts had been scarce but that was more to do with the weather rather  than the fact we are now closed.

Storm Brewing

Although it has been unsettled there have been good days.

Nature At its Best

It is normally me that suffers breakdowns (Central heating pump to-day) so it was quite an event when the Spanish John delivering his third load suffered a burst hydraulic hose, quite an event to see someone else in trouble.

Burst Hose

Hugh had been over but after the work got up to date he had to go off to deal with other jobs. A quick run to Arinish and he was on his way.

Hugh’s Heading Home

Next day I thought I’d take an hour out and check the creels, nothing in them except a very fat octopus. Been a while since I lifted them.

Fishing At Last

A quick run down to the end of Rona and to see if any stags were about, I was not disappointed.

South Stags

Back to Rona and a check up the gut to the East of the house and here was a couple of yachties? camping. They had come in in the teeth of the gale the previous night and spent the next calm day on Rona. Would have been nice if they had come to the Lodge to say hello, maybe told us they were ‘Wild Camping’ just over the back of Rona Lodge!!!!!!

Wild Camping!!!!

Anyway, back to the Drone. Here’s our hopeful gull sitting on eggs.

10 feet from where the drone pilot was playing with his toy.

Our Nesting Gull, Droned out.

Sadly after four weeks of sitting and bombing people here eggs were rotten.

Just as I suspected, too much disturbance but top be honest not the most ideal place for a nest.

Twice in One Day

On a brighter note on a beautiful day I had the pleasure of two trips to Portree. Quiet until 10am, but when I went back around lunch time it was like Blackpool on a Saturday afternoon, busy, that’s not the word to describe it. Mobbed maybe.

I’m Retired

Back to Rona, next day Kevin and Pam arrived back from MacDuff, freshly painted after being on the slip there for a week or so. They had a lively trip back especially round the top of Scotland!!

Back In Business

The boat is looking well and we were very happy to see her back.

Polytunnel Doing Well.

This is the bit of the blog where I discovered that I had not posted it DOH! So I’m now having to look back and see what happened. The polytunnel is now like a jungle but not with weeds, more cabbage and kale, great though.

The New System

The water I have to report is working well which should stand us in good stead for the new house and extra usage.


This is where I finished the blog a month ago, with Yacht ‘Glance’ on the mooring. Good to see Isobel back with her 100+ year old yacht a real classic.



Posted in Daily Doings, The Views and of course the weather, Wildlife, Yachties | Leave a comment