Jura 1975

Leader: Lawrence Hall

Officers: Paul Chick, Geoff Horton, Jim Loring, Nigel Masters, Colin Moss, Greg Surell, Martin Turff, and Roger Weatherly.

Boys: Brian Barnes, 'Daz' Bottomley, John Broadbent, Austin Brown, Chris Buckley, Ian Carr, John Chasemore, Dave Clarke, Ian Clay,

Jonathan Ford, Alex Foss, Roger Hyde, Philip Jones, 'Lofty' Lambert, David Lewis, David Mallinson, David Nichols, David Perritt,

Tony Ormston,  Jonathan Ramsden, Sandy Robertson, Nicholas Simon, Charles Stewart, Robert Thorburn, 'Fred' Thomas,

Simon Thomas,  Richard Thompson,  Mike Tonkin, Mark Wickstead, Ian Wolstenholme, Jonathan Wood.


The SHS is certainly no stranger to Jura. Ours was the fifth expedition to the island in ten years. On the ferry to Islay during my Easter visit I met Jack Paton who had vivid memories of 'all the lads and clobber' we brought in 1971 and 73. On Jura itself our fame was widespread! From Lord Astor's housekeeper's memories of fifteen people sleeping in her front room to Kate Nelson's tail of riding her horse through the '71 camp site, to the estate keeper's painful remembrance of the 'Harvey Wallbanger’ winning the Jura Regatta of 1973.

A glance at the map of Scotland shows Jura dangerously close to Glasgow Central Station - a mere 60 mile. Fortunately the fear of tourists visiting our Cruib camp site was entirely without foundation. Jura is still in its infancy as far as tourism is concerned, and the visitors to Cruib can be counted on one hand. Cruib Lodge, a refuge in bad weather for deer stalkers, was an idyllic setting for the expedition. The views across lonely Loch Tarbert to the distant curves of the Paps are a scene of wilderness and beauty. Our activities were carried out in a totally uninhabited region. At Ruantallain, its western limit, the only habitation to be seen is that of Scalasaig 12 miles away on Colonsay. From this remote headland the nearest road or resident is at least five hours hard walking away.

It is difficult to portray an expedition in such a short space, but certain aspects stand out in my mind. Perhaps our expedition will be remembered most for its numerous bivvies... no less than thirteen. By a strange quirk of S.H.S freight transport we were supplied with an extra Icelandic tent which was usefully erected at various points on the banks of Loch Tarbert as a semi-permanent bivvy site. This made some bivvy trips less arduous as not only was there a tent waiting, but also calor gas burners and food supplies. The traditional backpacking and footslogging bivvy was not completely axed as the bivvy party to Corrieveckan found out to their cost (12 hours walking each day.)

The general atmosphere and makeup of the expedition was so very much more than the mechanics of organisation and planning. Leaping rivers in spate, orienteering in mist, filtering and piping a water supply, sighting 80 bird species, camp fire sing songs on the beach, Sunday services, a terrifying evening electric storm, herds of deer and goats, the list of contributory experiences is a long one.

The Paps of Jura taken in April 2006, Nick Smith







"I have about a dozen photos of Jura 75, but only three have people in them. This one is of some of the boys are clustered around the back of Roger Weatherly's car.  I think the car is just off the road near Tarbert where the path leaves for the trek around Loch Tarbert to Cruib Lodge, which Roger tells me has recently been handed over to the Mountain Bothies Association."

(Photo and comments:- Lawrence Hall)

In retrospect the hard times were the best, and the disasters become the most humorous anecdotes. The bread fiasco (6 loaves instead of 60), the lack of a ferryman when needed, the unbelievably irritating can openers, and a shortage of petrol did as much to make the expedition a success as the unexpected breathtaking view, and the enjoyment of the activities.

I think that the most important, and hopefully the most lasting, aspect of the camp was the unconscious unfolding of peoples' characters. One cannot put forty people together in such a location without them learning something of the pleasure of being able to live together, and work together. I could write a great deal more just to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the expedition - society directors and officers, islanders, and yourselves; but this would be tedious, if sincere. So I will just thank the goats, deer, stone-chats, and adders for sharing their home with us.



                                       © Copyright Andrew Spencely Mud flats on Upper Loch Tarbert       This was en route to the road, down the steep bank and along the side of the loch.

  © Copyright Russel Wills.  Loch Tarbert and the Paps beyond. 1975

A view from the road, the walk to Cruib Lodge is about 3.5 miles from here, over the headland.