JURA EXPEDITION 1965
July 28th-August 13th
Leader: Jonny Ker
Officers: Brian Dale, Robert Frost, Robin Lord, Tony Pickering, John Sandison, David Vigar.
Boys: Willan Abel, Alistair Babbington, Martin Bedwell, Richard Bluer, David Buchanan, David Crews, Stuart Cullum,
Michael Cunliffe-Lister, James Forshaw, Peter Hannam, Michael Milliard, Andrew Jones, Brian Lett, Ronald Lewandowski,
Peter Liver, Archie McKellar, Anthony Milton, Robert Morton, James Osmond, Simon Peck, Dick Perks,
Philip Renold, Alistair Stevenson, Paul Thompson, Simon Young and Brian Watson.
When I first saw Jura at Easter on a cool, showery day, and realised for the first time how large an island it is, I had distinct misgivings as to its suitability for an expedition. When I saw it again on an even worse day in July, I was prepared to spend a fortnight trying to boost morale and dry out wet clothes!
A fortnight later, nobody seeing a group of healthily tanned people would have believed that we had been to the same place. A cold wind and rain had greeted us, yet by the time we had reached our site at Inverlussa (17 miles from Craighouse) the sun was vainly trying to appear; and despite three days' torrential rain, the camp site had the marquee and store tent in position, and a meal was ready for the last group which arrived at 10 p.m. An encouraging start—and one which was developed even more on the second day by good-hearted industry. Tents were pitched, trenches dug, scavenger hunts organised and by evening tables and benches had been hammered together.
Jura, a large island some 30 miles long and 8-12 miles wide, has not been used before by the S.H.S. The first few days after settling in were therefore spent in trying to cover a good deal of the northern half, with a view to working on certain projects. This done, it was realised that, because of the island's size, bivouacing would be one of the most worthwhile activities; and so it proved, with everybody in camp going on one scheme and almost half the camp doing two. These ranged from the luxury of camp beds at Glengarrisdale to a three-day attack on Craighouse, during which a group of ten made the S.H.S. well known to certain locals!
The sociologists flourished, paying frequent calls in various settlements and returning with some amazing stories mainly about ghosts and witches, which even produced a ghost-watching party regularly visited throughout the night!
Jura has a rugged charm, enhanced by high peaks and many lochs. The west coast raised beaches and caves, whilst the east has bays and woods. Between the two are acres and acres of bogs (which one person crossed with monotonous regularity). The whole area, however, provided many opportunities for ornithology, fishing and climbing; but above all gave us the wonderful sight of the red deer— some six thousand of them—magnificent stags silhouetted against the skyline, or herds of hind trotting nervously away before eyeing the strangers imperiously.
A strong gale brought down the marquee and store tent, but with the help of the N.A.Y.C. group (camping with us because they were storm-bound) order was soon restored, and from then on the weather was very reasonable, with two or three outstanding days. Trips in the canoe and boat (memories of abortive fishing trips!) and even the odd hardy type who managed to swim increased noticeably, and time passed all too quickly.
Other highlights included the Ardlussa games, where two of the slower officers fought a great battle for last place in the 220 yards; a soccer match against Jura where endeavour was more apparent than skill; and nightly "sevens" matches which went on until the ball and the various hazards could hardly be seen. A fortnight soon passes, and this report can never do more than touch the edges of the many happenings.
Lussa Bay, 2006 © Copyright Mary Ward-Campbell
Memories are individual, but the overriding one of pleasure from leading a group of willing and cheerful people is the one I shall retain. Singling out individuals is invidious, but I should like to thank all the officers for their hard work and for making my job so much easier and more pleasant. In this respect, too, I must mention the co-operation and helpfulness of the islanders themselves, particularly Mrs. Nelson for permission to use the site and Mr. Templeton for all his help with transport and supplies. To many others who contributed to our stay in so many ways, may I say: Thank you.
[12/2012 from Ronald Lewandowski "I remember those S.H.S magazines very well. I was part of that wonderful trip to the Kings Cave on Jura and did the drawing of it in the magazine [page 32 1965 S.H.S report]. I was also the finder of the bloodstone arrowhead on that beach on Rhum opposite the Cuillins on Skye in 1967 - the Irish penny was found at almost the same time in the sand close by. It's strange to think that given that those memories are so fresh all us 'boys' are now in our sixties or seventies. Thank you for making contact and jogging my memory of a great few weeks in my life. Ron ]
|The Lussa River reaches the Sound of Jura here, in an anchorage well sheltered from all but south east winds. © Copyright Gordon Doughty
A few cottages, phone box and post box make up this tiny community at the mouth of the Lussa River.