Five in the morning now and I’m guessing that will be the MV Hebrides nicely warmed up ready for the 5:30 sailing out of Uig right now. It’ll be a good few hours before I join them on what promises to be a very long day this bank holiday Monday. True to form it’s blowing a gale right now and pishing with rain but XCWeather – Forecast for IV40 8PF (Postal Code) assures me that it’s going to be all ‘fine and dandy’ by 10:00am and the optimist inside me believes it.
Anyway, as I was saying last night https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/visiting-the-neighbours/ we boated the six or so miles north to see Bill and Lorraine on Rona. A long overdue house call and the first time this year, the first time in fact that we’d been out in the boat. The journey north was everything it should have been, calm, mild and interesting with a couple of puffins seen and one solitary porpoise in the Sound of Rona, the narrow but fast flowing straits that separate the north of Raasay and Eilean Tighe from it’s identical neighbour. Not that Rona resembles the rest of Raasay, just the north end past Brochel, where the geology changes dramatically from Torridonian sandstone to Lewisian gneiss. A landscape that has more in common with Harris than the rest of Skye, a hard and rugged land that drove many men to sea on account of there being little soil to sustain sheep or cattle.
It’s also a place where people were herded to make room for the ‘lairds’ sheep and one which proved the final straw for many who went to seek a better life in the new world. Not through choice but quite simply because the barren rock could not support them. It is however, with the benefit of a job, modern conveniences and good health a beautiful place to live and a younger me could quite easily cope with life on Rona. Having said that Bill and I are the same age and he’s managed just fine for more than a decade, which says allot about the man. If you think I get quite a bit of work done in a day then Bill does the work of ten men and after all this time has never lost his enthusiasm for Rona.
A tireless worker he expects the same from those around him, something that was evident in the road improvements that he’d commissioned my mate ‘the grumpy digger driver’ to do
Hugh had been up there for ten days and had just left having widened the road to Acaisaid Thioram (Dry Harbour) and built some reservoirs for the Big harbour water supply http://isleofronalog.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/10-days-later/
The first thing we did though, prior to ‘tea and biscuits’ was to check out the new Outback http://www.outbackpower.com/ inverters that Hugh Piggott of http://scoraigwind.com/ had fitted. These two 3kw inverters replace the 4.5kW Trace that used to power Big Harbour, stacked like this one of them is asleep until the power demand increases above 3kW whereupon it ‘wakes up’ and shares the load.
This will be the Lister TS2 generator that makes up the ‘balance of power’ when the solar panels don’t produce and the wind turbine is still. Like my system it’s fully automatic, seamless and far more reliable than the grid.
After an hilarious bout of craic on subjects as diverse as the Isle of Man TT, trapping mink and running into deer Bill took us for a tour of Hugh’s work and other improvements he’d done.
The wider and smoother track that now enabled the use of an old Daihatsu instead of the quad would be a blessing for the visitors that stay in the cottages there. At least now people could be kept dry when doing a ‘change over’ in inclement weather, and as Bill says, £5000 for new quad, £300 for old truck, it’s a ‘no brainer’ really
I was really keen to see his ‘slow sand’ filtration system, this tub full of rock, and gravel being the first part but then I was so engrossed in the rest of it that I forgot to take pictures
Gosh, the Dude is taller than me now!!!
So after a grand tour of the estate we collected our whisky, a present by the way and not for me, and headed south.
I’m not a whisky drinker but this is a fine smooth and mellow malt that even my wife can drink, it’s also to replace one I bought last Christmas for a friend and ended up drinking myself!!! http://www.isleofrona.com/produce.htm
The very first time that I’ve seen the new house from the sea
The rest of the day was spent cutting bedding, clearing out pigs and various other jobs around the croft,
watched closely by wifey’s hens.
Well, all the ones that weren’t resting that is, the new Black Rocks do like to have a wee nap in the afternoon and seem to love plastic.
That was it really, the Dude went over to the Schoolhouse to cut the grass only to find someone else had beat him to it,
well, at least we know how they get in now
That was it really, at 19:00 I hauled up the Pioner and at 19:30 settled down to a fine pot roast three year old joint of pork that I’d found in the freezer yesterday.