My first week-long visit to South Rona was in 2004, when my wife and I stayed in the renovated Mission Hall above Dry Harbour. There are some 40 ruins in the village of Dry Harbour, including a couple of substantial houses finished with dressed stone. One of these substantial ruins stood atop a bit of high ground near the ruined schoolhouse with a great view over the harbour. Marked on an old map of Rona as the Catechist House, its four walls still stood, but the inside was an empty shell.
|The Catechist's House (or Manse) - 2004|
As I wandered around the nettle- and bracken-grown interior of the house in 2004, little did I know that in a few years I would be spending eight nights in this house; for in 2005-2006 it was extensively renovated into a self-catering cottage.
|The Manse - now Escape Cottage - 2007|
It is called Escape Cottage, and a stay there is truly an escape. My wife and I spent an amazing eight nights in the house. The usual let is for a week, but on our last day the weather turned a bit nasty, and the trip back to Skye had to be postponed for a day. After informing us of the delay, Bill Cowie, the island manager, brought us a complimentary bottle of wine, and we enjoyed our bonus day and night in comfort - I was able to get in another walk, and my wife was able to complete her jig-saw puzzle. For island-goers I can recommend no better place to spend a week (and maybe a bonus night or two).
|Jigsaw puzzle in work (and what a view!)|
My wife and I at the cottage - 2007