Colonsay 1983.


LEADER:- Colette Armitage

ASSISTANT LEADERS:-  Kerstin Box, Simon Lorimer, Richard Pitts, Jo Walker, Mike Young.

MEMBERS:- Alison Adams, Stephen Allard, Lee Bottomley, Stuart Brown, Philip Chidlow, Alan Davson,

Nick Gee, Rachael Gooberman, Philip Harvey, Michael Krango, Kevin Nunn, Mark Oldfield, Innes Webberley.


It was not without caution that I agreed(?) to lead the Colonsay Expedition, and when I saw the motley crew gathered on Glasgow station I knew that my worries were indeed founded!  Despite this however the weather was at least on our side and we left Oban in brilliant sunshine. We arrived on Colonsay some 2 hours later and were met by the Jura rearguard who had arrived a few days beforehand with the equipment. So far so good. After a pleasant night spent in the Hotel Games Room, we made our way to the site some 2½ miles away. This proved to be quite a strenuous exercise for some people (who shall remain nameless). Great Expedition this is going to be! As always however everything sorted itself out, mind you with five 'keen' assistant leaders no-one really stood much of a chance!

A wide range of activities were attempted by everyone including sailing with the Societies new 'Topper' sailing dinghy (we managed to come a very respectable third in the Island boat race, thanks to helmsman Pitts), canoeing and swimming in the bay, climbing above Port Mor, bivvies to Ardskenish and the top of Carnan Eoin, tomb rubbing at Oronsay Priory, not to mention looking for caves, sunbathing and dune jumping at Kiloran Bay. In addition to this there was an orienteering exercise devised by Jo which inevitably meant running to all the possible corners of the Island, and also numerous fishing trips to Scalasaig Pier (though I suspect the close proximity of the shop had a lot to do with the popularity of these trips!).

Projects were very popular, some of the members completed a thorough study of the bay and its numerous rock pools. We also conducted a butterfly survey for the Nature Conservancy and kept a record of all the birds which were sighted on the Island - which included a Golden Eagle.

The Bay at Tobar Fuar we discovered had enormous potential as a 'Games Arena' and many an evening was spent making the most of this facility. I think however the evening activities were really highlighted by a very memorable game of charades - you try acting out "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man In the Moon Marigolds". Enough said!

Left- The trig point at the top of Carnan Eoin.  Thanks to Simon Lorimer for the following colour photos (black and white group shot was taken from the 1983 SHS report)


Colonsay was a very enjoyable expedition undoubtedly helped by the superb weather, the assistant" leaders ('Butterfly' Pitts , Mad Mike, Simon (Ta!) Lorimer, 'First Aid' Box and our food Queen, Jo), and of course last but not least the members (Dilly, Michael Angelo, Chiddy, Innes 'Guiness' Webberly, Gooby, Ali, Kevin - who did not earn the name Chatterbox for nothing; 'Bionic' Oldfield, 'Harvey' and the famous (infamous?) four : Stuart, Nick, Stephen and Lee who had to admit I was right!

Possibly the orienteering exercise mentioned above, Richard Pitts, Kirsten Box, Rachael Gooberman?

Left - Kiloran Bay

For the benefit of those who have not visited Colonsay I am ending this report with a quote from "The Highlands and Islands" since this really sums the Island up:

"The West Highland zone has what the North Minch lacks, a number of sizeable islands which are not big enough to have lost their oceanic quality, and not so small that they are utterly windswept. Colonsay and Oronsay, west of Jura are an excellent example of islands which have the best of almost all worlds......There are sand dunes, cliffs and rocky beaches, freshwater lochs, natural woods of birch, oak, aspen, rowan, hazel and willow as well as heathery moors...........Colonsay and Oronsay together might well be looked upon as an epitome of the West Highland world in its full range of Atlantic exposure and sheltered mildness." (Darling and Boyd 1964).

Colette Armitage

Bivvy to Carnan Eoin (21-22 August

Kerstin, Jo, Mike, Richard, Rachael, Alison, Innes. Stoart, Lee, Nick, Philip(C)

We set off after lunch with thunder rolling in our ears (though fortunately this didn't materialise). Just before we reached Scalasaig we turned off the road and carried on along a trackwhich eventually went through the grounds of Colonsay House and then up to Kiloran Bay. Near the bay we found several caves which we spent some time exploring. From here we made our way up to the highest point on the Island (Carnan Eoin) where we made camp and preceded to pig ourselves on Irish Stew, smash and baked beans and a mere 4 segments of mandarin oranges (plus a spoonful of juice!)

The next morning we all (all that is except for Mike and Richard) woke early though how this was managed remains a mystery since Gooby kept everyone awake with her snoring. Once we were packed up we walked to the most northerly part of the Island and then came back down to Kiloran where we spent a long time eating and catching up on sleep and dune jumping. After investigating parts of the west coast we made our way back to camp along the road (getting a lift part of the way in the back of a tractor).

Even though Stuart, Lee and Philip were forced to go on the bivvy, even the] enjoyed it and they had to admit that Colette was right in making them go!



The following 4 photos were sent in by Joanna Burgess (Née Walker)

 Mike Young

Richard sailing to victory at the Colonsay Regatta

The queue for the loo after a particularly good curry !

"I titled this waiting for Charlie - the end of the expo" Jo Walker