Friday, November 29, 2013

Afoot on Eilean Tighe

It was a gray, wet day as we set out in the MV Rona from the pontoon dock in South Rona's Acairsaid Mor (Big Harbour). Bill Cowie was at the helm, and was taking the Cummings, a family from Cheshire who were staying in the Seacape and Skyescape Cottages, over to visit Kyles Rona. Along the way he dropped me off on the rocks of Eilean Tighe (the island of the house) - a tidal island connected to Kyles. I only had an hour to wander around Eilean Tighe, as the sea would shortly flood the shallow and narrow straight that separates it from Kyles. 

On the way to Kyles after dropping me on Eilean Tighe 
I spent most of my time on Eilean Tighe looking around the old settlement. Julia Mackenzie opens her book, 'Whirlygig Bettles and Tackety Boots', with a description of a visit to the island to see the house that she lived in as a child. She writes that it was originally occupied by her grandparents. And when her grandmother died Julia's family moved here, where they lived until she was 9. They then moved to Kyles Rona. Here are some photos of the house on Eilean Tighe.

After exploring the island I crossed over the slippery, sea-weed covered exposed beach to Kyles Rona, where I made my way to the bothy (once the home of Norman Mackenzie). Julia writes of visiting the house when Norman lived there. The rain was still coming down, so I went in to dry off, and inside I found the Cummings family doing the same. 

Norman Mackenzie's house, Kyles Rona - now a bothy
Bill was due to pick us up in an hour, so I did not have time to explore more of Kyles. Which was a shame as I would miss seeing what's left of Kyles House, where Julia's family had lived. I need to return someday to see it.


  1. I remember going to Eilean Tighe and being really surprised by this house. It is a substantial stone building with rounded rather than square corners. So its much grander than a blockhouse but yet has these unusual rounded corners (unlike for example the houses in St Kilda on the village street). Have you ever see a house like that elsewhere?

    1. Some of the houses on South Rona are like that.