September in a Flash

September is the busy month, leading up to the Red Deer Rut when everything stops for that, the yacht visitors are just peaking and on the way down. Looking forward (apprehensively) to Winter time so there is much to do. The cottasges are often full at this time, so that keeps us busy, all in all flat out.

The Van

I was back and fore to Portree a lot this month, various things, shopping, stores, machinery, the list goes on and on. The only downside is that it is usually a calm sunny day great but these days are lost on working on Rona.

Spaghetti Junction

In amongst it all the Applenet internet was playing up. In this environment it is a constant battle to keep on top of the corrosion. Also the equipment gets supersceded so quickly. I did sort this lot out though

Although it has been a dreadful summer and especially October there were times when the weather was kind, usually Portree days but nice to have them.

On my many trips I used to bump into all sorts of boat people, David Croy here with Raasay House Visitors enjoying one of their many trips. Pointing the way to Rona, thanks Dave!!

To add to the excitement we had Miriam Margoyles and Alan Cummings whose programme Lost in Scotland was here filming on Rona as a part of their Skye visit, the weather held out until just the last minute where we were sitting around a fire cooking scones as the fire rapidly went out in the rain, great fun though.

Alan wanted to help with the sustainability of the Island so we reckoned he’d have a job chopping up the 100+ year old pine, we will wait and see what happened.

Onto the September project, Here we are heading over to Portree with the extension to Hugh MacKay’s 360 digger. This was for lifting one x 600mm x 12 m steel beam for the new house, weighing in at 600+ kilo. Hugh did all the groundwork and helped push the project forward on the new house. So this steel extension was only used once and cost £670.00 + Vat, ouch, but better than a crane and two landing crafts. Which would be nearer £6700 + Vat!!!!! Sitting around on Rona it looked like a potential drawbar for the trailer I got from Dan C for taking the new boat out of the water.

We were going to get a local contractor to fix it to the trailer and do the engineering on it but the quote proved too costly for us and to be fair it would have been too heavy for the boat. So the ‘red thing’ went back to Rona, the trailer first.

Passing Dan’s RIB slowly (me) on the way back at Eilean Tighe this time, plenty time to look out for wildlife. Not much happening.

A quick lift off on the tide and up to the garage for major adjustments.

More about our deer and venison on our Red Deer Page but the reason for this photo is to show where the Scottish Government, Forest Land Scotland, SNH and a host of so called conservationists are heading. This calf turned up with its Mother in September. The Scot Gov through their Deer Review want to start the season for culling females in September. That would mean shooting this hind and calf. This is happening and a full report on my thoughts and comments will shortly be on the Red Deer Page. How anyone could justify shooting this hind and her dappled not long born calf beggars belief, but it happens.

Talking about deer, our venison is selling well and fast. We have a good core of customers, we cannot expand past our supply which is limited. But we use modern equipment to process it. Here we have an Italian vacuum pack machine, it needs new seals, £5 but postage, from Italy is £35 according to the makers. So we got in touch direct and their man ‘Giorgio’ sent two seals Foc to a friend who lives on Lake Garda, who in turn will get them to us for a lot less charge. Well done ‘Jolly Steel/TECLA

Yet another trip to Portree, this time coinciding with yet another Liner, Chaos in Portree but it is getting to be the new normal.

This trip was to pick up the recent purchase from Wayne at Braemore Estate, our new ‘jeep’. This simple buggy has no electronics which is the death knell of any jeep that has ever come here. Wish I had bought land rovers years ago. Hoipefully this buggy will do the job for us (it has done already, very pleased with it)

Bit of a job loading but Dan with his Manatou made swift work of it, surprisingly no one reported us for dangerous driving this time when we took the forklift down to the pier.

Heading home with evenly distributed weight and going well, next job was to take it off.

No problem to our hardy JCB.

Then the inspection.

Now down to the boat trailer.

It took shape pretty quickly, needs a few bits and piec es but it dioes the job.

In between all of this our venison orders started to take shape, sausages (new recipe) are proving popular. So with a deer hanging in the larder I had to abandon the engineering, leave the welding to Richard and get on with the sausages, Zoe on the sausage machine.

Another trip to Portree, I think this time for fuel, my one and only Basking Shark this year was right in front of me at the fish farm cages. I called up Dan and his tour boat had a wee bit of excitement catching the Basking Shark as it swam about the salmon cages.

It was a cracking day and I remember now what we were doing, fuel and venison deliveries. Another 100 venison burgers to Dan’s Chip Shop next to the Lower Deck Restauran.

Here we have two polysyrene boxes ready for their trip South, Fillet steak to London and a mixed box to Edinburgh, 24 hour guaranteed, works great.

And here we are, 1st October just when the gales and wind started getting MV Rona 11 out of the water for the first time, works well and this week, three weeks on I will get the boat serv iced. Much has happened in that time.

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How Do You Do This?

Here we are at last at the end of a particularly busy period. It is so long between posts that I forget how to post anything, so bear with me. I’m starting this on the 13th October, who knows when I’l get it finished. Much to do!!!

Internet upgrade

We had an upgrade of the internet that we have here in July, which gave us weeks of problems afterwards. So we have decided to try to get a faster more reliable system installed, it is now October and we are not much further ahead but we are getting there, so here we were fitting a new distribution box above the new house 15th Aug’.


With the able assistance of Richard’s very inquisitive Turkeys

Now wiring is just like the blog, to get power up there we need new cabling and switches. I don’t normally do electrics but needs must. Not much power required. Lots of headscratching!!

Norwegian Parking

In the middle of it we had a fine view of one of my yachting friends (a Norwegian Yacht this time) anchoring between the moorings ending up with his stern brushing my boat. A gale got up overrnight and he had disappeared by first light.

Lorraine’s Birthday

Not only blogs, electrics and everything else we do here, baking is another string to the bow. Just follow the instructions, easy as that (not).

The summer has been poor but there were good breezy days too, thank goodness but now in October it has been pretty grim.

The new boat had been busy, this time collecting the serviced fire extinguishers, an annual job. Also collecting the Water Sampler, our water testing had fallen behind and with poor weather it had been a job to get Adam over. All passed though.

Back to the wiring, in an effort to tidy up some of the off grid stuff I had ordererd this red junction box to gather all the positive leads and cover them, althouigh only 48 V we do not need any sparks with gassing batteries.

Richard and Zoe had been out on their wee boa fishing , but also collecting lots of flotsam and jetsam. This time a whole bundle of rope, I think it was floating? Obviously a creel line that got tangled up, it would have been costly had it got into any boats propellor.

Especially this one, one of the many cruise liners that berthed in Portree harbour this year.

I was off to a meeting in mid August and always enjoy a stay at the Pier hotel Portree. Best value, great food, A proper breakfast./ A good team ably looked after by Effie.

Back to Rona and my pointed nose pliers turned up after many years of searching the garage. They had fallen off the bike no doubt and were found (I do not know where) by one of our cottage guests.

We had been struggling with time and weather to get the new boat out of the water, to sort a few things, change gearbox oil and give it a pressure wash. Especially when we did not have a trailer. I put an advert into the Skye Free Adds looking for one, low and behold, Dan (Skye Boat Tours) had this old trailer up at the croft. He offered and I grabbed it, seeing the potential for a converstion.

Back to Inverness to my Son’s fortieth birthday, we called at his yard (Iain Cowie Plant Hire) and were press ganged into helping get his it ready for the big party on the weekend (we had ours with the family on the Thursday before). I heard that the weekend’s entertainment was a good one, glad we could help.

Back to Rona, I was getting dizzy by the end of August. Coming and Going. With stalking guests coming it is always a good idea to have a look around to assess the deer population. More on the Deer page about this years activities. It was nice to spend an hour just sitting down in our High Seat watching the wildlife, it was a lovely night, no midgies.

We had a couple of TV crerws out this past while, BBC ALBA came over first, they were filming an outdoor, climbing programme. It seemed to go ok and we await a nod to when it is on the TV.

Back to the ‘Yachtie’ issues. It is not all bad (ref, previous post). It is good to get positive feedback now and again, but overall it has been a good year with only a small minority still due to pay, we know who they are.

The turkeys have taken a keen interest in the back door, not a problem BUT they do leave their calling card and have taken a delight in tipping out the plastic/cans recycling.

We get all sorts here and it is not unusual to see a wee dinghy coming into the harbour once a year. These guys were lucky with the weather but I have no doubt that if poor weather had sprung up this boat would have handled it, Frank Dye many years ago crossed the North Sea in one amongst many other adventures, Mad or what? : Ocean-crossing wayfarer: to Iceland and Norway in an open boat [in a 16ft Open Dinghy] Worth a look.

Note the guest carrying a Rona Venison Box, for details on how to order some of our wondeful Rona Venison, click onto the facebook page @Isleofrona wild venison

A Very Busy New Toy

Well that was the end of August, it took a while to get my head round ‘How To’ but I got there. September next.

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Poor Show


Clear Instructions

Sadly I have had this subject on the blog before. We have many good friends and regular sailing visitors to our beautiful anchorage. For many years I watched yachts struggle to anchor. Many Yacht owners were forced to sit up all night watching as they dragged around the bay in a gale.

Yacht Solace

Now those Yachts that were well stuck in would maybe scoff at them but there may be many reasons why others anchors were not holding. So after holding off putting in moorings we bit the bullet and did just that. After the performance from various objectors to our pontoon I was hesitant. So this time we sought permission first rather than last, which was (those that were dealing with it) the problem last time

Yacht Annika

4 moorings went in to add to the Pontoon Mooring buoy. All supplied by Gael Force to a high standard. They were not cheap but Gael Force’s work was recommended and so it has proved a good decision. Some boat visitors have had a moan but the majority and I stress the majority have been very supportive, with 95% paying up (this year even contributing more). But this blog is about the 5% who think it is smart, funny, cheeky, two fingers up to us to leave without making any attempt to pay.

To-days Non Payer

There are quite a few pictures here in my file of other non payers, their vessel names are available!! We record all visitors to our moorings (if we can). Sometimes we are so busy, we forget or do not manage to catch a photo and often these are the very ones that take off without paying. But what I cannot comprehend is why leave the AIS on or think we cannot see them using a mooring. In last nights case we were covering some feedstuffs by the shore when the yacht above came in, picked up the mooring in thick fog. I could not see the vessels name as it’s name was not visible in the fog. But I could see on the AIS who it was, surprisingly the AIS was switched off before the yacht came into the harbour. Switched on again at the mouth of the harbour this morning.

This Morning Just After Maxi Cosi left

This morning’s non payer may yet call this evening, I see on AIS as I write that he is heading to Mallaig, perhaps? There may be a good reason why he did not come ashore, I have heard many times from non payers we have caught that their dinghy was burst, or they had lost their pump, or they had this or that wrong with them personally that stopped their trip ashore to pay. Asked why they did not call, there was no signal. Yes for sure there is no signal in the harbour unless you have a mast aerial. Some do. Having lived here for 20 years and used all manner of phones, there is a signal for them all once you are a mile out of Rona in all directions. But sailing for a week as one yacht did and getting caught eventually (thanks Stewart) in Orkney/Stromness and using that as an excuse is ridiculous. There is a signal all round Rona, we know, we live here. As an add on this yacht had quite a few excuses for not paying culminating in having to get one of his crew to pay as he did not have Internet banking, for goodness sake!!!

Paid up on reaching Stromness.

Foreign yachts were especially bad at leaving without paying in the past. But this year they have been pretty good. But that is possibly because there are/were so many this season. However there were a few who cannot read English or have no working phone. (Aye Right!!). It is bad enough when UK vessels on our moorings do come ashore, read the notices and then enjoy a walk on the paths provided, maybe even help them selves to water or leave rubbish, then leave without paying. Foreign yachts might not understand our notices but they understand they have or should pay.

Another chestnut is messing about at the mooring box at the Pier making out that they are doing ‘something’, we then take it they have paid only to find out later that there was in fact no envelope or note from them, must have been just a look in the box to see what they should be doing, who knows. The two that stick out was one who had not enough money but left what they could, not much? Must try that in TESCOs next time I’m there. And the best one, the one who left a small amount of change and a couple of bottle tops, you think I’m making that one up, think again.

So, as I say the majority are good honest people, who support us, many come back regularly, we get many, good, welcome comments, seldom negatives. The cruise boats supports us, our regular day trip boats all contribute. Any income is welcome, it costs an awful lot of money annually to run Rona. There are costs galore, not only the pontoon and mooring maintenance, insurance and Crown Estate but the paths, the internet, water and so it goes on. This is a working Island not simply a tourist attraction. We try our best to accommodate visitors, the Right to Roam for us is not a cheap right!!

It is good that we are getting a good percentage of payers but it would be better to be 100%. I often use the analogy whilst discussing moorings with visitors that if I was to go into TESCOs and pick up a bottle of Red Wine, then leave without paying. I’m pretty sure I’d be stopped by the Security and I’m also pretty sure that my excuse of ‘Oh I was going to pay by BACS once I got a phone signal would wash.

The moorings are clearly marked with instructions and phone numbers, as are various pilot books and social media pages.

So why is it in the Non Payers mind ok to take from Rona but not give?

Last Night From Meal Acarseid


5 pm on Sunday. Clearly the above post is me being cross. No wonder, after all the effort of laying moorings it really gets me going when people don’t pay for the service we provide.

SO, we put a post on facebook (BillCowie) and my own personnel detective got on the case, he knows all the harbour masters up and down the coast!!!!!

Would you believe within a couple of hours and within two minutes of each other two of the yachts that had not paid called me offering to pay which I readily accepted.

I am not going to say too much more than I have so I am pleased to get a result. But from now on we are going to log every yacht in the harbour and since this is Sunday, Religiously!!!!!!

On a cheerier note, here is a card that we received on Saturday with a parcel in the post, this is from a couple who had a fridge failure on their yacht. We had many spare ice packs so gave them a few, they were on a mooring and bought venison too. The card would have been enough for me, that is how it works here!!

On that note, the sun is shining at last Happy Days.

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More Updates from the Dreich Summer

It is not for me to moan about the weather, in fact possibly we are luckier than most living in the South who are still (in August) sweltering. I prefer the cooler climate but a wee bit, just a wee bit of sun would cheer us all up.

Here is to-day’s mixed bag gallery from the last couople of months.

What we have here is a wee snapshot of the end of June, there were several warm dry days but they seemed to disappear since. Although my next blog unusually is a family summer holiday in the ‘summery East Coast’.

Work continues with Zoe and Richard at path maintenance. Angus MacDowall an old sailing visitor friend and supplier of quality flour from his farm in Drem, East Lotrhian appeared one night on the TV to our surprise. Mungoswells Flour Give it a look. Commenting on fuel prices.

More work around the larder to improve drainage and upgrade the larder. A surprise visit by Calum Stiven of Applenmet who upgraded our internet and then it did not work for two weeks, still not there!!

Who thought we’d see horses in the garden of Rona Lodge, not me. Chanterelle season is here and it should be a good one considsering the humidy and rain.

Big surprise for Lorraine to find an Oak quickly followed by another in the forest by the shore here at Big Harbour. The regen’ romps ahead despite the Deer.

Electrics, Solar, internet and Calum leaving the pontoon all happening in June. With yacht numbers stable which was a surprise because the grey photo here of yachts in the bay is typical. But to-day the 9th of August one almost Gale Bound yacht is all we have at the top of the season. They seem to have dropped off a cliff.

More coming soon Jim!!!

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What Happened to the Sun!!

Here’s a few photos to get the blog going again, Been Silly Busy.

Third week in July this was taken, a cracking hind and her stag calf took up residence around the house, lovely to see.

More pictures coming shortly. Plenty rainy days on Rona and the North West so no excuse I guess for not doing the blog.

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The Annual Landing Craft

Most years we have a landing craft. This years delivery had a different feel to it altogether. After months of looking for a couple to join us on Rona we finally had success and on the 26th May 2022 the population of Rona doubled. From 2 to 4.

Zoe and Richard had visited us for interviews and to see how Rona would suit them (and they would suit us). All went well and they upped sticks and left their posts in Orkney to come to live on a much quieter and much more interesting Island (Not that I am biased).

Plans were made, the landing craft was booked and it slowly started to fill up. Even when we were building ‘Tigh na Creag’ we did not have such a big load, heavier, yes but not ‘big’.

Another big surprise was that Zoe had two horses and the horses came too. Plus 1 years feed!!

Landing craft days are always fraught, weather is king, does it come or not. It has to be really bad for it not to sail and with two horses, feed, hens, ducks, vehicles, coal (for Fladda) oil, building material, and, and, and………There is always a feeling of what have we forgotten, will it get here, will the tide be right?

As it happened on the day everything went pretty smoothly. The weather could have been better. We had some really heavy showers just before and especially after the delivery but all in all everything went to plan.

But it does not stop there, almost for a week after we were shifting things around, finding storage for all the supplies delivered, accomodating the horses. Delivering coal to Fladda. Kerosene and derv to the various tanks on the Island. On it went. But looking back now it looks a bit daunting but we took it in our stride and here we are settling down and getting stuck into the long lists of work to do.

Bring it on.

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May Days

Here’s a thing, a Bon Accord lemonade bottle, found at the back of the generator shed. It brought back happy memories. I wondered how it got there, I see the company stopped producing pop in 2000. When we lived in Buckie it was the pop of choice, we moved to Mull in 1965 it was McColls there (not as good as Bon Accord). Living in Ayrshire 1970s it was Currys I think. No wonder my teeth are not so good nowadays!

Bon Accord

May started where April finished with a trip back down to Stranraer to look at a new aluminium boat. The 6 and a half hour drive was tiring but it was worth it as the boat was good. We made the deal and John Mitchell the owner offered to deliver. So here we were on the 5th of May taking delivery at Strollamus boat yard.

The Boat Arrives Strollamus

It would have been a long drive from Stranraer but John took it in his stride and within the hour we were in the water and heading to Portree.

The Beast

It was a grey jabbly day, rain too but the boat started and very quickly we were in Portree. We had a check of the boat and assessed just what we had bought. All looked good, the work required reflected the price but all in all it looks a good boat for the future of Rona.

Heading Past Raasay

I’m not often down this way on a boat so it was an interesting run down from Portree to Strollamus and back.

Coming Home Sconser

Even better on the way back with no plotter, but it is a pretty straightforward run.

Back At Rona

Back on Rona the work starts on getting the boat up to safe standard. This will take a little time and since I have taken it home time is in pretty short supply, but every week we move forward. In fact to-day (12th June) I managed at last to get the VHF installed.

Battery Woes

The on going work on Rona taking up much time was the off grid supply issues. The well recommended (expensive) Canadian Rolls batteries were not as good as promoted. We installed them in 2007 but half of them were defunct by this year, the storage in them was not coping with the demand with the generator running lots lately, here at Big Harbour. With new folk coming it was wise to upgrade the system. So new batteries were ordered, not Rolls!!

Battery Delivery

The batteries duly arrived at Skye Express and the weather meant they sat there for a while before I could uplift them. Whilst I reckon I’m pretty fit lifting 24 batteries at 53kg each was a tall order. I left Rona in calm weather and thought it was 6.45am, but I had miss read the clock in the bedroom and it was only 5.45am. I reached Portree at 6.45am, no one about apart from the guys at Skye Express so I loaded half in the the batteries into car and crept down to the pier. I loaded them myself and took off back to Rona with half a tonne of batteries.

Second Load of Batteries

After having a quick cup of tea I turned around and did a second run, same again but I had a hand loading this time, unloading on Rona was by the JCB bucket. It was a long day and I can remember crawling into bed and sleeping very soundly that night.

Yet Another Trip To Portree

Been a lot of trips to and from Portree lately, so many I have lost count and none of them in the new boat, yet.

Grand Banks

The weather changes so fast and the clouds come in quickly but thankfully on all of these trips no drama with the sea.

Another of My Many Portree Trips This Month

In fact it has been a very calm May and dry.

Dead Batteries

With the old Rolls batteries going to the scrappy, it was time to take the duds from Dry Harbour. Off grid power is certainly not cheap and requires a lot of user input.

New Bateries Installed.

All my own work. Installed and running. Now a much better system.

The New Garage power Set Up

With the new batteries installed in the Big Harbour generator shed, the old Rolls batteries that still had life in them were taken up to the garage to give us some extra power. Quite a good use of the standby generator and rather than dump the batteries, a new lease of life. With the larder chill running 24/7 this extra source will be invaluable, all working fine and automatic, just like the main system.

Working on the Boat

Now the question is, with a new boat, an old aluminium boat and a RIB, do I really need three boats?

RIB for Sale?

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Now for April

The catch up continues. Sunday morning here, grey, wet and windy. A lovely West Coast day. I wonder how the campers and caravanners are fairing after yesterdays gale force winds. Perhaps there was an Exodus.

Looking back it is scary how much has happened during these last three months. A bit of confusion just now as I thought I have already posted this but I am thinking of my Face Book Page . I guess it is too easy to post stuff there so it take me away from the blog, but odd pictures does not really tell the story.

Yacht Emily Rose, Non Payer.

So here we are in April. The time when we have put the moorings in and await the Yachting/boating fraternity. Here I will have a moan yet again. Here is Yacht Emily Rose, Ayla on its sail cover. As always at this time of year we get the early yachtsmen/women. A lot are delivering boats, or going somewhere with the boat to base it there for the Summer. This guy used the mooring and left, they never made any attempt to pay or contact us. Do these folk really think the Mooring Fairy drops these moorings out of the sky for free. I consider it theft, it is no different to not paying for a service or item from a shop. So we await Yacht Emily Rose’s £15, not a lot but every penny helps in our very tight economy here.

Rant over. On a more uplifting note, the Sea Eagles were busy and I can report a successful fledge at the Eilean Tighe nest.

Not so successful these two young stags found at the bottom of a cliff at Garbh Eilean, looks like they pushed each other off the hill fighting?

They were lying together heads locked, I pulled the first antler I saw and found that it had been entwined. Been there a while.


Always expect the unexpected here. On opening the generator shed door at Dry Harbour another mini disaster, the return pipes on the DH generator were perished. Now it is on my list to be replaced annually. We cannot afford to be wasting this precious stuff anymore.

The Navarra

So it continues, the Navarra pick up which was pretty good decided to pack in. We eventually discovered it was the ECU which controls amongst other things the fuel pump, keep it simple for Rona I say, on Rona that is another disaster, with no Garage computers available, we tried our best but admitted defeat, the Navarra’s are no more.

Ready For Scrap

Here they are ready for May’s landing craft, a big loss.


Now here is a major problem on Rona, what gets washed up. On a walk to find the oldest hind on Rona with the camera I came onto a beach up North, I had seen it from the sea but on walking there I was horrified to see just how much debris there was lying around.

More Crap, well sunk into the bog.

So on a calm day after that walk, builders bags were bought and subsequently filled, I think 7 in all. A shocking reflection on folks respect for the sea or lack of it.

DH Beach

A quick walk around the beach at Dry Harbour too whilst delivering fuel collected more. The depressing thing is this was only one small beach.

Delivered to Portree

We took it to Portree of course no one at the dump was interested so we took it up ourselves borrowing one of Dan’s vans. There we got grief for not booking it in!!!!!!

Tide Turning

I include here a picture just off that beach, the clear water and lovely stones below, why would you want to spoil that?

Old Peat Bank

On that walk just above the beach I came across this peat bog, it is difficult to see in the photo as it is overgrown and quite filled in. It was very poignant as it hits home how far away from the settlements the folk had to go to cut peat (which they eventually ran out of in sustainable quantities). More on that later suffice to say that the peat bog was filling in well and I wonder how long before it would be viable again. Although I read recently an environmentalist having a go at ‘Peat Cutters’. Do they not understand survival?

Whilst out on the boat in April although cold it is a good time to see nature. It is quiet and the animals more settled.

For us the best time is the Spring and Autumn, coupled with peace and quiet we really appreciate this time on Rona.

But it is not all quiet and boat trips, at last we got the chance to put together new boards for the Museum at Dry Harbour. With a few Rona artifacts We hope the visitors enjoy them.


Dan’s new boat arrived and was quickly despatched to Rona on a Whale Trail trip. We do not usually get visitors on the day trips in Winter but Dan’s Whale Trail has proved popular. A few hardy souls ventured out on each trip and although whales were thin on the sea they were never disappointed.

April is a time to grab a few jaunts off Rona, shopping, holidays and catching up with family, so it was with great anticipation to know we were invited to Glen App Castle for a looong weekend.

The weather was fantastic, location, food and company even better.

One of the 17 Rooms (ours)

The wonderful food just kept coming, we are saving our pennies for another visit sometime soon.

One of the many highlights was the beach walk, stunning day, cold but I managed a swim. One of the few this spring.

First Trip on Wavedancer

Back to reality very quickly, but great memories. We travelled back and had our first trip on Wavedancer, a booked trip to Rona was handy for us to hop on board with the ‘Whale Trail’.

We got back to Rona on the Tuesday. Work continues and by Friday we were caught up (a bit). I had been looking for a new boat and saw this one on the internet on the Friday night. You will see from the picture it gave a Hexham location (for the contact). I looked at it later that night and was really frustrated on scrolling past the Hexham number that the boat was actually in Stranraer, 15 minutes from where I had been the previous weekend . And 6 and a half hours by road from Portree, more on that on the May blog.

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Goodness Me …It has been too long (Yet Again).

Thank you Jim in Ireland for reminding me that I had not posted for such a long time. So here goes a quick one before I do the long update.

Weather to-day is stormy to say the least, the ferry came but it wasa a bouncy one. Well done Ewen.

Stormy Sky and Seas.

There is quite a bit to catch up on here given it was the end of March that I last posted but we have been Sooooooo busy, toooooo busy for sure.

Saturday Jubilee Celebrations

It is not unusual to have stormy days during the summer but the contrast from last Saturday is huge. It is blowing 40 knots of wind, the bay is full of spindrift and the boats are doing a merry dance on the moorings, fingers crossed for them, the chains and strops.

Yachts had been steady, a trickle had become a flood with 6 or 7 yachts in last weekend, the sun was shining but it was Northerly, so a lot of yachts were not coming North of Mallaig. I thought Tryptich had anchored but on closer inspectioon I saw that he had bridled the strop. Just checking!!!!

The Torridon Range

The weather looked to change, I had been back and fore to Portree a lot these last few weeks (hence the busy time) but I could see a change coming, flat calm here and a lovely view as always.

Wildlife Cruiser

Yet another trip to Portree this week, this time for a hospital appointment I had missed 5 times due to timing, NHS cancellation and weather. Nothing serious just an old manny thing, passed with ease, another lucky one!!

One of the many cruise liners for Portree this Season.

As I approached Portree Thursday I could see yet another liner anchored off, the picture is a bit fuzzy, must be the rain on the window? But it was the black clouds coming that bothered me rather than the chaos that comes with these visits , on the pier. Fingers crossed the weather would not get too blustery for the way back.

Not My Type Of Holiday

It was a busy boat, queues of folk on the pier, buses everywhere, locals trying to get on with life. Who knew Portree would be so busy. Not my idea of a holidasy but looking at the crowds lots of folk must like the sailing life. As it happened no worries with the sea state, just a bit ‘jabbly’.

For Sale

Back to Rona, we had made the decision to sell our RIB. So there is a little work to do. We bought a new boat and do not need three so the RIB must go, anyone interested?

Good Engines

The RIB has done a wee bit of work for Rona but I have not used it as much as I could or should. The old Voe boat has been so reliable since I put on the new engines.


I was down by the byre Thursday and was imagining Corncrakes in the Irises but no creeking. It made me think about reading Isles of the West by Ian Mitchell. A good read in its day although he was not impressed with Rona (how wrong he was). Although I agree with much he wrote in this book. nProbably more on that later too.

Sorting a Leak

Yesterday we had a bit of a panic on seeing the forecast, we had left a sheet of corrugated aluminium uncut on the roof of the botrhy (I am trying to fix a leaking wall here) and if we had left it I’m sure it would not be there to-day. Such was the wind last night. However all good for now. Alu’ cut and screwed down.

One yacht on the main mooring, both our Aluminium boats on other moorings, the wind continues, the rain too. But we need some rain to keep the dust down. It has been very dry.

So, another blog coming very soon (the weather will dictate that) with the big changes these last few weeks featured that Rona has witnessed, more on that story tomorrow.

How’s that Jim!!!!!!

Posted in The Views and of course the weather | 1 Comment


The Gaelic word ‘falaisg’ pertains to muirburn/burning of heather which is perhaps most commonly used but there are several derivatives such as ‘falaisgeach’, ‘falasgair’, ‘falaisgear’ and ‘falaisgeadh’.

Calum was here this week and he kept mentioning ‘ The falaisg’, for sure all week it has been around us, an evocative smell of Spring around the corner. Muir burn to allow new growth from the meagre soil we have in this area.

Tonight (Sunday 27th March) no exception, the sky is full of the smoke and smell, it has been the most ideal conditions for a long time for ‘falaisg’. To-day has probably been the best day this week with no clouds and a cool (smoky) breeze. Looking back it has been a full couple of months since we advertised for new folk, it has been very interersting speaking to prospective residents by phone or Zoom, the next stage is just around the corner.

The work goes on on the ground, the boat came out of the water after the New Year, the weather predictably was poor, throwing up all sorts of rubbish on the shores, more on that later and of course more on Covid too, it certainly has not gone away.

At last in February we got a break, although it was mostly to go to a meeting in Stirling coupled with a visit to Kings Park Hospital there to get a Solar Keratosis burnt off, a success, thankfully. Nice to get away and charge the batteries all the same, talking about batteries, we had a visit to Claude the Lister man in Dunkeld and that was a very interesting stop. But living out of a suitcase gets a bit boring after a while. No chance of swim (my new hobby) it was freezing all down the East Coast.

Soon it was time to head back and after a mega shop we were in the Pier Hotel before heading out to Rona, post Storm Arwen. Possibly one of the most lively journeys for a long time, the sea was pretty high.

Back to work and the wildlife had found a way into the sheep feed. This wee mouse got a stay of exucution however. As for the Dolphin we had two wash up dead in the space of a month. Both in good condition and both landed in exactly the same place, no marks, no obvious clue as to why. Again more rubbish washed up on the shore, I think it is one of the worst winters especially for fish farm pipes. As for storm damage, just a missing chimney cowl. A lucky winter.

The weather continued to play with us, one day very wet, three days wind, then calm, blue skies. Overall a pretty poor winter. But we like the clear days, very much when they come.

It was getting near the end of the Hind Stalking season and there was a push to get our cull numbers, it is a tough time for the wildlife and this poor Heron was in trouble for a week or so before he lost it. The flock of Chaffinches gets bigger and bigger since we started feeding them and the Golden Eagles still maintain their area despite the Sea Eagles.

Stocking up on the venison for the coming season, we had a go at making more Venison Sausages, a wee tweak to the burger mix and with the help of one of our potential workers, Andrea we had 7 kg of sausages. With Claude supplying the new parts for the Lister overhaul we got the old engine refurbished and now it awaits trasfer to Dry Harbour where it will replace the one over there which is due a major overhaul. Having done 20,000 + hours. The winter swimming challenge came to an end in February and it helps to have your own harbour. Making it easier to get access to water whatever the weather. I cannot do the crawl efficiently so make do with breast stroke, hence the long swimming time. I think it is the first time I was first at anything!!!!

The weather was kind this month and it allowed us to get away to the Scottish Gamekeepers association AGM. Lots of discussion and a worthwhile jaunt.

The weather this month has been very good, no lambs this year and that is weird but I am not missing the early starts and death!!! We continued to interview and our guest Matt helped with the first deer count on Rona since 2019 (proper). With building the house and catching up, plus poor weather it has been difficult to achieve. However the days we had were very nice and easy for counting deer. After 20 years of deer on Rona we have a healthy population. Some would say too many. I totally disagree. We have 46 Stags (males) 91 Hinds and 38 Calves. The stags come and go from Raasay but that was the count on the week of the 12th March.

Spring work went on in between visitors, a spring had popped up on this piece of road, it was slowly sinking and turning to mud. The Fish Farm pipes do come in handy after all, three of them together and some Waven coil later we had a solution. More visitors arrived and the boat painting gets finished. Spring is on its way.

Then we had the start of the disasters week, first of all the jeep decided to pack in. My worst nightmare for vehicles, the breakdown is obviously electronic and we have no way of repairing the fault. We tried everything but to no avail. Hours later on the internet we have a wee glimmer of hope but we need to buy a ECU reader or something like that. Then the biggest disaster, we got Covid!!!! We did not know it and I thought it was just a winter heavy cold. In the meantime we were to lift the boat into the water and at that precise moment a hydraulic pipe on the JCB burst, the back actor/crane fell and landed on top of one of the engines. Much to Zoe and Rich’s amazement. Thankfully they were nowhere near it. What looked like a complete disaster turned out to be major damage but sortable. With the help of ‘Cam Marine, James from Portree we were up and running by the end of the week. Our visitors made a sterling job of repairing the cover. In the middle of it all a week ago to-day I thought I should test to see if this ‘heavy’ cold was maybe something else. And so it was. We both tested positive.

Our guests went away and they still test negative which is good, Calum arrived and we set about the Spring work, phase 2. I had tripped in the house just at the start of the Covid infection and landed heavily against the corner of the kitchen unit. I suspected I had a broken rib which hurt when I coughed (A lot). But the work goes on. Masked up and avoiding close contact with Calum was a bit of a mission but he still tests negative. We had good weather so the RIB (Not the broken one) was put in the water. A fault that had developed last year was solved. It helps if the supplier sends the correct replacement propellor!!!

Finally after a busy week and the cold getting better we allowed a socially distanced drink. This morning was the first day since a week ago Thursday when I first started sniffling thast I have tested negative, Lorraine has a bit to go, but we are happy that that episode is behind us.

Finally with the Covid behind us we hope, Spring now fully underwasy we look forward to having more trips like the one to the Jurassic Shore on Skye on Friday last.

Posted in The Views and of course the weather | 4 Comments