Ewen Grant and Janice Cooney have had to stop their popular seafood cruises because of the Coronavirus emergency but their second job remains vital – providing a lifeline to the lonely island of Rona which is an hour-long voyage from their base on the Isle of Skye.
Rona has only four residents - current caretaker Bill Cowie and his wife Lorraine and another couple who were chosen out of scores of applicants to be inducted as the island’s custodians and to take over when Bill and Lorraine retire.
Ewen and Janice, who is also working as a nurse during the pandemic, usually run half and full-day cruises for up to 12 people on their 40 foot luxury catamaran Seaflower from Portree to Rona and neighbouring Raasay, serving freshly caught seafood on board. In only its second year of operation in 2019 it was awarded 5 Star Visitor Attraction status by VisitScotland.
They have the contract to deliver supplies to Rona from their base in Portree. Raasay and Rona were both once well populated but during the 18th and 19th century many left to a new life in the United States and Canada. Rona, now owned by a Danish family and home to hundreds of deer, was a notorious haven for pirates operating out of its concealed natural harbour for several centuries. In former times, they were part of the patrimony of the Macleods of Lewis.
“Seaflower is the only way to get essential supplies to an almost deserted but magical island,” said Ewen. “We’re determined to continue to make sure the resident quartet have all they need during the pandemic.”