Lifeline deliveries over the sea from Skye

Ewen Grant and Janice Cooney with their boat, the Seaflower

A SEAFOOD business on Skye is providing a lifeline delivery service to neighbours on the remote island of Rona during the coronavirus crisis.

Ewen Grant and Janice Cooney normally operate seafood cruises aboard their 40-foot luxury catamaran, Seaflower.

The popular tourist attraction, which operates from Portree to Rona and Raasay, serves freshly caught seafood on board and hot and cold smoked salmon, provided by the award winning Salar Smokehouse, based on South Uist.

But with all trips currently halted, the couple are using their boat to ferry vital supplies to the four residents of Rona, a one-hour trip from their base in Portree.

Rona, often described as one of the loneliest places in Britain, is home to 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 take over when Bill and Lorraine retire.

Ewen and Janice, who is also working as a nurse during the pandemic, said Seaflower was the only way to get essential supplies to ‘an almost deserted but magical island’.

‘We’re determined to make sure the resident quartet have all they need during the pandemic,’ Ewen added.

Donna Fordyce, interim head of Seafood Scotland, said: ‘This is another example of the ingenuity being shown by a small business within the wider seafood sector.

‘From fishermen, processors, retailers and tourism businesses built around some of the world’s finest seafood, all are suffering the effects of coronavirus right now.

‘The speed at which these businesses have adapted to survive, and to help their close communities which often rely on the seafood sector themselves, is an inspiration and yet another reason for Scotland’s seafood community to be immensely proud.’

 

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