Colonsay 1973

Leader: Alan Howard

Officers: Alan Brindley, Bill Dickinson, Ed Mitchell, Mike Sharp

Boys: Jeremy Bartlett, Michael Biddulph, Patrick Biddulph, Ian Bignell, Guy Bignell, Benny Buxton, John

Cherrington, Gary Dunlop, Richard Evans, David Hallowes, Simon Hardy, Ian Johnson, Richard Lander,

Gary Marshall, Nicholas Marshall, David Morris, Martin Frew, Simon Prew, Andrew Razell, Hugh Robinson, Neil

Russell, Anthony Sandford, Michael Sandeman, Mark Taylor, Connor Wilkinson.



A leader's report on an expedition need not be long. It should attempt to convey a little of the atmosphere of an expedition rather than attempting to be a chronicle of every event on the expedition. What, then, of the atmosphere of Colonsay 1973 ?

We enjoyed ourselves. It is difficult to imagine anyone not enjoying a stay on the delightful island of Colonsay. We canoed, thought about sailing, projected, caved, walked, footballed, ceilidhed, bird-watched, fished, and many more things. The atmosphere of the expedition was a happy one. We mocked ourselves and each other. Our personalities reacted, sometimes profitably, sometimes not. We all had an experience which we will remember for quite a while, and have our personal memories to reflect on.

We must be grateful to the many people who made the whole thing possible: to Lord and Lady Strathcona for allowing us to camp on the island; to the many islanders for their wit and assistance, particularly to Watty, that great friend of the SHS; to the SHS backroom boys who, without my hindrance, would have been much happier; to a splendid group of officers who gave so much so often, and who had a marvellous sense of humour. Finally, the whole group gave so much. This combined effort and enthusiasm is the real story of Colonsay '73, and the reports that follow give a glimpse of the atmosphere. Read on, and discover and share some of that enjoyment.


The campsite on Colonsay by Ben Buxton

EXPEDITION TO ORONSAY (from the 1973 S.H.S report)

At 2.30 pm. on Monday, August 21st, Mark Taylor, Michael Biddulph, David Hallowes and I set off with our faithful officer, Ed Mitchell, through the hills south of the campsite, to bivouac on Oronsay. Walls, barbed wire, steep bare rock, heather and heavy rucksacks didn't make walking conditions very pleasant, but we covered the two miles to the Strand in about 21/2 hours.

We then waded across a shallow channel, about 30 yards wide and 1 foot deep, only to find that we had reached Eileen Munguig, a tiny island in the middle of the Strand. There was another channel beyond, wider and deeper than the first, so we started to wade through. When we got about a third of the way across it became too deep to continue so we turned back and walked over the hard knobbly sand to the beginning of the road to Oronsay.

At about 6 o'clock we reached the farmhouse on Oronsay. A woman came out of the house nearby and offered us a drink, which we all accepted since the sun was so hot. Afterwards we went on to the S.W. part of the island where we pitched our tents. We had a large supper before going to bed and we didn't get up until 10.30 am. the following morning.

It was fine and warm again, so we left our packs and walked around the coast. The gleaming white sands reflected the sun brilliantly. We had lunch on a rocky beach on the S.E. coast and walked back onto the road and up to the farmhouse.

An old man who lived in the house showed us around the 14th Century Priory, then we took down the tents, packed up and walked back to the Strand. Our packs seemed even heavier than before, but luckily we were picked up by some people in cars, so we reached camp at 7 o'clock.


Thanks to Ben for most of the info here, including this copy of the 'circular' sent out by Alan Howard Colonsay 1973 newsletter