Jura, Cruib Lodge 1977
Leader: David Harding.
Officers: Roger Weatherly, Alan Howard, Mark Hopwood, Graham Brierley, Peter Martin, Tim Gilbert.
Boys: Darren (Daz) Bottomley, Harold Campbell, Andrew Evans, Paul Gadwell, Bryn Griffiths, John Innes, Simon Lord, Douglas Payne, Miles Peters, Christopher Prentice, Dominic Raban, Mark (T-bar) Samuels, Mark Schofield, Duncan Smith, Graham Sofio, Tony Thompson, Anthony Whiteman, Peter Wood, Christopher Young.
"My camera, my sandwiches, my luggage.... ", were the despairing words coming from the leader at the ferry. I pursued the retreating bus towards Glasgow, and nearly missed the ferry. All was not lost though, the expedition was still in one piece. However the leader's vital expedition information, food and camera were winging their way in the opposite direction. These eventually returned by air to Islay.
Gloom set upon me; but the good humour of the officers combined with the good behaviour (!) of the boys soon cheered me up. Luckily this was an isolated disaster, and we arrived safely, if a little exhausted at our camp site.
Roger then performed like a circus strong-arm man in putting up the marquees. The first night was spent huddled together in the large marquee, accompanied by sonorous booms from Roger, and a life history from Graham.
The next morning Jura could be seen in all its glory. The sparkling loch nestling between low hills with the majestic Paps rising behind pointing to the heavens. What a fantastic landscape to be stuck with for two weeks. Before taking on the leadership I though that I would not be able to cope with an expedition out in the wilds of Jura; but once on the island things sorted themselves out remarkably well. At least comparatively well, as the engines caused much worry to all who came near them. Even the patient and painstaking Roger blew a fuse or two over those two metal brutes.
One potential hazard of which I was unaware on arrival on Jura was the profusion of adders, greatly helped by the warm weather. Fears of bitten multitudes were nearly realised with Duncan Smith's efforts to capture the entire population of adders by whatever means he could. One unfortunate victim added variety to Duncan's diet. Memorable events such as this were a mark of the expedition. The sight of Peter regularly bathing in the early hours was the only thing that could tempt the camp out of bed. A programme of early rising was discussed and agreed upon, but only Peter was willing to implement it. Another event which brought the camp to its feet was the water fight. Somehow this blew up while most of the officers were out of camp; and they returned to find themselves in for a ritual wetting from a group of bedraggled boys. All taken in good fun though.
Project work was not the strongest feature of our time on Jura. However, everyone benefited from the variety of activities possible. Climbing, canoeing and walking were popular as ever. Many trips were made to Ruantallain; and bivvies manfully attempted the Paps and Corryvreckan. The latter inevitably attracted most of the rain we had. The Ardlussa Sports proved successful, with Harold Campbell streaming to victory in the 220; and barrel rolling sorted out the balancers. Mrs Nelson warmly welcomed us at the sports, while the vicar from Craighouse bellowed at the competitors with a well tuned voice. Paul Gradwell kindly donated his raffle-won haunch of venison which gave us all a meal with a difference. The sailing regatta performance of Miles Peters and Tony Thompson was perhaps the highlight of our contact with the islanders; although the football fanatics would argue that the final day's game on the airstrip was our glorious moment, when we won 5-2.
There are many people to whom we are indebted for our happy time on the island. Not least of these are the estate keepers, especially Neil McInnes who ferried our equipment; and Charlie MacLean who acts as the island postman, minibus service and news-link between the far corners of the isle. And what a good bunch of officers for the leader to lean on. Roger as mentioned and Alan his ex-Durham contemporary, a veritable duo of battling wits; Peter our strong quiet medic; Mark our culinary expert; Tim, mine of information on climbing and photography; and Graham, truly an eccentric canoeist.
Thank you too, to all those who came and contributed to make a memory that will not fade.
Can anyone name anybody else?