Colonsay 1977.

COLONSAY 1977 (15-16 years) * [This was due to be Jura Ruantallin as per Prospectus]

25th July-12th August

Leader: David Lennard Jones.

Officers: Roger Butler, Tony Ingleby, Gavin Macpherson, Robert Orrell, Peter Street & Chris Venning.

Boys: Alastair Anderson, Steven Ashmore, David Axup, Timothy Bennett, Tim Blythe, Ashley Bookman, Roger Brereton, Timothy Brown, Christopher Dalton, David Frankland, Andrew Holt, Jonathan Hunter, John Lane, Robert MacArthur, Michael Moorhouse, Paul Nichols, Dave Nichols, Michael Parffrey, Ian Rolinson, Alasdair Saunders, Nick Stanley, Simon Tolson, Eamonn Thompson, Jason Williams, Anthony Townend, Christopher Wilson, Paul Wyatt and Michael Young.


"Excuse me Sir, is this your party?" The Scottish sleeping car attendant looked benevolently over his glasses at me as he consulted his booking sheet. I admitted responsibility for the pile of rucksacks and people littered on the platform, and I felt for the first time that our expedition had really begun. It would surely not be long before all those unrecognised faces gained names and a personality to go with them. It is hard to believe that within 48 hours we were firmly established at Tobar Fuar bay on Colonsay and beginning to explore the island.

Thanks to David Lennard Jones for all the photographs below.

The camp site at Tobar Faur

Rowing practice in the rubber dinghy

Colonsay is a superb island to go to. It is not perhaps the ideal site for an SHS 'get away from it all’ expedition -the islanders are too friendly for that. Instead we managed to combine the more usual physical activities with a good deal of socialising with the islanders as well.

From a wide variety of social backgrounds we achieved amongst ourselves a sort of common identity. We northernised some of the southerners and even civilised some of the Northerners; with some we just had to give up. All of us learned a great deal about living with other people in a confined area. Not only because we had to get to know each other on the expedition, but also because we began to get some idea of what it is like to live on a relatively small island.

Football on Colonsay

' Spot the ball' good shot, both the striker and the camera man! (Top LH Corner!)


Jason Williams

(Identified by himself)

Various members of the Colonsay 1977 expedition. If you can name anyone, please let me know!

During the expedition there was plenty of scope for everyone to launch out in their own chosen direction, although most people had a go at most of the major activities as well. We all have our own memories of the stay, but for me, one of the highlights must surely be the ceilidhs we went to which were held in the village hall. 25 of us went and we were most pleasantly surprised to find that there was no shortage of young ladies to dance with.

I began to wonder if we really had left civilisation behind, for they were the most civilised dances I have ever been to - where else could you have tea in china cups and sumptuous cream cakes at half time?

For other people memories will be different. Perhaps some will remember getting stuck for an hour while climbing, or perhaps walking all the way round the island in the rain. Some went canoeing in a gale with huge waves to surf on. Some went rabbit hunting, others chased the girls in School Cottage. Most of us got to Oronsay Priory for a short visit at least and some were able to stay there overnight. We bivvied on the cliffs, we bivvied at Kiloran, (and even liked it so much that we went back for more) we even bivvied at Hangman's rock when we missed the tide to go over to Oronsay. Fishing was a popular pastime but a rather disheartening one, especially when we learnt that the mackerel are to be found on the East of the island and we, unfortunately, had our boats and campsite on the West.

During the evenings and on rainy days we kept ourselves busy about camp with singing to the accordion and tin whistle; bridge occupied the intellectuals amongst us and Gavin edited 'Protoveg' our camp newspaper. Ali Anderson won a balloon debate as a most convincing Jimmy Savile, beating Nick Stanley as Denis Healey in a closely fought final. Magnus Magnusson Yenning pushed us to our intellectual limits with Masterteam, while Rob Orrell introduced night activities involving political intrigue and violence. All this proved to be just too much for some who quietly crawled into bed!








The tin whistle and accordion lead the way.

'I reckon the next wave will make my trainers wet, what do you think?'

The weather was idyllic for much of our stay - we could have been in the Mediterranean. (I know how you feel Ed.) In the last few days however we saw what the winter on Colonsay brings when we had three gales in as many days. We survived these, and when the time came for us to leave the island I sensed an atmosphere of melancholy tinged with relief. Melancholy, because we were leaving such a beautiful place; relief, because- now there would be real milk, potatoes and meat to eat off china plates at a table. Armchairs to collapse in and a real bed with sheets to sleep in at night….bliss.

Departure time from the camp. [Could be arrival?]

Free ride on the boat trailer

I felt sad to leave all those kind people behind on Colonsay, for without them we could not have had such a good expedition. So thanks to Dr Hall-Gardiner for diplomatic help and cabbages; to Mr and Mrs Charlie Mackinnon for carting us about and for supplying us with numerous bottles of fizzy drink and boxes of Jaffa cakes. To 'Watty’ Williams and Rev Crawford for their friendship and lifts, and finally a big Thank You to Lady Strathcona for allowing us to camp on Colonsay: we had a great time.

David Lennard-Jones

This Expedition was listed in the 1977 Prospectus as the Jura Ruantallin trip but David remembers the trip being switched to Colonsay -

"The following year I was to lead the visit to Jura and went on an Easter visit to check it out, I can't remember what the issue was but I think it was linked to getting permission to use the camp site that led to the decision to go to Colonsay instead. " DLJ Jan 2013

Jason Williams e-mailed to identify himself in the photo above and remembered "Camping on Oronsay and going to the ceilidh, from memory there was a member of parliament at the shindig and we had a lift with him back"