We need to start making some general move towards our eventual date with a train at Kyle, but winds are all in the south (ish). Brian and Anne on Skoling have recommended Acarseid Mhor on Rona and we can at least get most of the way there under sail. A double reefed main and full genoa has Heydays shooting out of the Loch at over 7 knots in a steady force 5 with gusts across the deck over 30knots. We consider a smaller genny but Heydays is taking it all in her stride. Skye in front, Rona to port, the Hebrides off to starboard in the distance. Only occasionally does Heydays bury her nose in a breaker, then shake it off all over us in a glorious surge of speed and spray.
The entry into the tiny harbour is tortuous and rocky, but inside all is peace and tranquillity with just another 4 boats already anchored.
The visitors mooring buoy is vacant and we pick it up for the night, glad to pay the £10 to the caretaker at the lodge. In the centre of the little inlet is an island, home to dozens of seals and a few birds. As the evening draws on, they muck about in the water and several come over and check us out as we make our way back from a walk on Rona itself.
There are only two people who live here, plus a couple of holiday cottages, one of which is occupied at the moment by the island’s owner (Mrs Jensen from Denmark). The track across the island is very hilly but 45 minutes gets us to the now abandoned settlement in the centre. One barn has been re-roofed in corrugated sheeting and has a few old artefacts and some newspaper cuttings together with some old pictures of the long-gone inhabitants. It has a rather sad feel in many ways and a reminder of how vulnerable the old ways of living are to modern pressures…not for us, but still a sense of loss.
On the way back to the boat, a red deer eyes us cautiously from among the trees, almost perfectly camouflaged in his domain. Of the rest of his herd (we assume he is not alone) there is no sign, although the Lodge sells freezer pack of venison…!
This is truly a magical place and we feel lucky and privileged to be able to come here with just us and at most a dozen others on the island.