Jura 1985.


Leader:- Robert McDermott

Assistant Leaders:- Linda Bird, Steven Brown, Sarah Butler, Brigit Hutchinson, Simon Ringrose, Kirsten Warburton

Members:- Michael Bailey, Howard Beaunond, Richard Bougeard, Elizabeth Boulter, Susanna Boxall, Siobhan Burke, Jeremy Clough,

Darren Couzens, Alasdair Davidson, Justine Detter, Simon Duckworth, Nicholas Gee, Rachael Gooberman, Hetta Hare, Keith Hawker,

Ryan Herbert, Georgina Hopwood, Michael Krango, Alasdair Lennox, Nicholas Martin, John Parry, Martin Phillips,

David Strong, Alison Townend, Nicholas Travers, Philip Wright.



1985 saw the tenth expedition to the Isle of Jura by the S.H.S, and it was one that I approached with not only a great deal of anticipation but also with some trepidation. It was my first expedition as Leader and I wondered, amongst other things, about being able to cope with the responsibility.

Watching the expedition unfold from when I first met two members at Heathrow (our first members from the Channel Islands) meeting new members and parents at Euston, to arriving 90 minutes late in Glasgow (thanks, BR) and to finally getting all the expedition together on the ferry to Islay (along with our equipment), I knew that I had made the right decision when I was originally asked to lead way back in September '84.

How I wished I had not been so keen when I woke up to the sound of rain lightly (!!!) pattering on the roof of the village hall in Craighouse at 5.00 a.m. on a Monday morning. Travelling up the island by Landrover, I was almost tempted to inflate the P4 and get rid of a year's rust (me, not the engine) and cruise slowly up the centre of the road, such was the rain. We were, in actual fact, witnessing the worst rain in July/August for twenty years on Jura.

However, I was determined (even if no-one else was very keen) to get camp erected that day. As one member put it: "Why bother keeping yourself dry when your rucsac and tent are already soaking wet?" Miraculously, the rain stopped, the sun shone, (briefly) and camp was erected in under three hours which was, to me, a marvellous achievement. Or was it the threat of no food until camp was up that did the trick?

On our first full day in camp, we saw a small sailing craft coming past the site and, for some reason, anchor and the occupants start to come ashore. From where we were, we could just make out the name, the 'Morag'. Had Kirsten's sister come to haunt us? Our fears were unfounded. It was Revd Peter Youngson with two friends. He had called in to say hello and renew friendships with some of the expedition from previous times. Over the next two weeks, we had a lot of contact with Peter and words cannot sum up the great debt that the S.H.S owes to Peter and his wife. From providing us with two wonderful evenings of entertainment (one at Cruib Lodge, one at the manse), to telling us off in church for not 'hitching', to loaning me the use of his car overnight, he was indispensable. A better person you would be hard to find anywhere.

Each expedition has its problems, and this one was no exception. What started out as a mega-bivvy to Kinuachdrach on the north coast developed into what was very nearly a quite serious situation. At the other end of the scale, we actually managed to lose a member before we had left Glasgow - is this a record? Nine members, Darren, Nick, Justine, Alison, George, Izzy, Nick, Nick and Jeremy, would all like to lay claim to a record. Two hours of preparation for a bivvy less than 100 yards from camp! And even then, it was touch and go as to whether they would actually go!

Simon Ringrose and Rob McDermott outside Cruib Lodge.

Thanks to Stephen Brown for the photos on this page.

One of the highlights of the expedition was the afternoon spent at Ardlussa Sports, where we have always been welcome. The Saturday started with me and two others having to tow Peter Youngson into deep water (using the P4, obviously) so that he could start his engine, and all before breakfast! Due to typical S.H.S efficiency, we were running about two hours late, so I decided to route-march six members out of camp to the road to Ardlussa, and the six mile walk was achieved in under 90 minutes. When all had arrived, we set about enjoying ourselves and laughing at others participating. Special mention to Mike Bailey for winning the obstacle race and coming third in the 220 yard dash. Also deserving of a mention are the ALs who introduced new meaning to the term 'three-legged'. One of the leaders suggested that all the ALs should enter as one!! This was greeted with much mirth by the members, all of which changed when the ALs, starting from the rear of the grid (due to the leaders age), actually finished third from last and overtook two lots of members on the way to the line.

Another record that we are definitely laying claim to (well, two really) came about in the tug of war. Spirits were high as we picked up the rope for our first pull, muscles tightened, teeth gritted. The flag dropped and bang, there we all were, flat on our faces in the mud, having lasted barely one and a half seconds. Wiping the mud off, we changed ends and felt much more confident this time. After a11, they couldn't do it again could they? Somehow, this end seemed better, and on the command 'pull', we all heaved. What was happening? There we were, actually holding the same team that had just pulled us in under two seconds. Then, miracle of miracles, we actually took a step backwards. What could it be? Were we about to get banished from the island for ever? Future expos do not fear, as we relented our pressure and let ourselves be pulled, having lasted a superb total of 39 seconds, surely an S.H.S record. The heavyweight team consisted of Philip, Mike B., Keith, Simon R., Steve and yours truly.

All too soon, it was time to leave Cruib Lodge and head back to civilisation. I certainly enjoyed my first expedition as leader and I would like to say a very big thank you to all the members and especially to the ALs, who did a wonderful job in difficult weather conditions. We must also remember and thank all the hidden heroes: the islanders, Mr Lindsay Bury, landowner, Iain and Donald, estate workers, and many, many others. Also to the people within the Society for arranging the food, equipment, boats etc. etc.

I thank you all.

Robert McDermott


The crew: Steve Brown (AL), Darren Couzens, Alasdair Davidson, Nick Martin (Rambo II), Izzy (Elizabeth Boulter), Suzy Boxhall, Richard Bougeard (Jersey), Jeremy Clough, Justine Potter (Spike), Nick Gee.

It has been known for people to sleep in public toilets (ask S Ringrose) but never before in a goat toilet. We found ourselves in this situation after a series of incidents caused by the bad weather on the return from Mike Richardson's croft at the north end of the island.

After spending part of the night in the open, two to a bivvy bag, Steve and Darren searched for shelter in the early hours of the morning. The most promising site found was a cave. "Great!" we thought, but there was an element of surprise. On entering the cave, a sharp aroma caught us off guard: not bats, not rats, but goats.

Fortunately, the goats were not present, but they had left traces almost three feet deep in the cave, in every conceivable nook and cranny. The thought of spending the night in this place was not at first attractive, but we soon discovered that the floor was not only soft and dry, but very comfortable as well!

We awoke feeling refreshed, fit and ever so slightly smelly!!! The excreta on the floor had proved to be an impressive insulator, but all our gear was now coated with an awesome amount of goat.......!

Alasdair Davidson & Nick Martin (two survivors)

Members of the 'Goat cave bivvy'

Richard Bougeard sent some photos of this trip, thanks Richard.

"A few photo's from Jura 1985 Expedition, I do have more but need to find them first (when I do I will add them). 30 years ago believe it or not, bet it hasn't changed a bit. Fond memories of this trip - expo to the North, getting lost, a certain "smelly" cave, tornado's flying through the valleys, thunder booming off the loch at night - and the peace, quiet & tranquillity away from the rat race. Awesome!"



Rob McDermott and Bridgit Hutchinson

Camp at Cruib Lodge

Front row :- Steven Brown, Rob McDermott, Simon Ringrose.

Back row: - Brigit Hutchinson in light blue sweatshirt, and the others (not in order) are presumably Sarah Butler, Kirsten Warburton, Linda Bird

Not sure where this is - Ardlussa House??

Marquee and Cruib Lodge

I think this is a view of Loch Tarbert from the road?

Eilean Aird islet in Inner loch Tarbert


A set of photos from Rob McDermott below, starting with the Jura ferry and then life at Cruib Lodge and general running of the camp, plus a bit of messing about in the water at the Cruib waterfall.

Below are some shots of the Ardlussa Sports Day. On the calendar for pretty much every visit by the SHS to Jura I think?(NS)

Below are 3 photos of work in Jura Manse Garden


Ben Cruib bivvi.

Ben Cruib bivvi.

On the road to Craighouse.

Canoeing in Craighouse Harbour

Canoeing in Craighouse Harbour

Barnhill, home of George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) from 1946 to Jan, 1949.




Port Askaig on Islay -from Feolin on Jura

Small Isles Bay

Small Isles Bay

Canoeing on Glenbatrick Bay

Below, climbing photos on Jura.

Loch Tarbert

3 views of Coryvreckan. Strong Atlantic currents and unusual underwater topography together produce a particularly intense tidal race in the Corryvreckan channel. As the flood tide enters the narrow area between the two islands (Jura and Scarba) it speeds up to 8.5 knots (16 km/h) and meets a variety of seabed features, including a deep hole and a rising pinnacle. These features combine to create whirlpools, standing waves and a variety of other surface effects.

It is the 3rd largest whirlpool in the world.


Various views of Cruib Lodge and showing life in and around camp site.



Below, at Feolin on Jura (waiting for the ferry to Islay and the mainland? NS)


Random shot of someone diving!