Leader: Rob McDermott.
Assistant Leaders: Simon Lorimer (DL); Ian Earnshaw (DL) ; Susie Boxall; KimAtkinson; Heidi Albert;
Rachael Gooberman; John Parry; Edi Albert; Ian Robinson; Brigit Hutchinson; Phil Hadley; Jo and Gary Sage.
Members: Mark MacKenzie; Keith MacDonald; Jamie Stavely; Rodney Moran; Philip Squance; Sarah Gatehouse;
Melanie Williamson; Samantha Hall; Chris Bohin; Simon Pollard; Danny McCormack; Kevin Goddard; Mark Heslop;
Andrew Ward; Mark Goodman; Robert Hosey; Matthew Pollard; Darren Clark; Ryan ????
October 1987. “Rob, it's Squashy here — several of us want to go on an expedition……..can you lead it???" So began 9 months of headaches, problems, heartbreak, nightmares and, occasionally, success. At times I wished I had been out when I received that fatal phone call but true Scouse determination (plus the thought of Jura Malt Whisky!!!!) pulled be through.
January 1988. We had a site — Cruib Lodge, Jura. We had a Leader me. We had one member — Phil Squance (Squashy). This month saw the quite quick recruitment of both members and leaders. Usually, all the leaders required was a phone call. Indeed, as Edi Albert put it —"Why spend two weeks in glorious sunshine in the Alps when I can get p*** wet through in the Hebrides!!! Such is the lure of the Islands…..
Seven months later, there we all were, sitting in the village hall at Craighouse, Jura, listening to the rain lightly (???) pattering on the roof of the hall. Once again, I had succeeded in bringing rain to the Island. The last time Jura had experienced rain like this was in July 1985 — yes, last time I was on the island!!! Such was the rain that we could not reach Cruib Lodge and eventually arrived at the site 24 hours later.
Setting up the camp at Cruib Lodge.
|After every expedition I have been on, I have strongly believed that it could not get better, but each time it does. Many memories linger at the back of the mind, memories I will cherish for ever but are far too numerous to list. The simple memory of what Jura had looked like in 1985 is the same as the Jura of 1988 and will probably be the same in the future.
Tug-o-war at the Ardlussa Games
I do not intend to waffle on for ages (makes a change — Ed) but must mention the day of the Highland Games. An early start still didn't beat the tide and the last group into the boathouse struggled 400m through thigh deep mud with Yours Truly laughing unmercifully on the bank. Our arrival was as warmly welcomed as it had always been in the past and the S.H.S got stuck in with much heart. Special mention to Danny (Hair Gel) McCormack who, at the age of 14. took on Jura's best in the Senior mile and was narrowly beaten into 2nd place. The other notable achievement was in the tug of war. On ten previous visits, we had never managed to win a single pull. How we spoilt that record by finishing second out of five teams, narrowly losing the final, capping what had been a great day out.
Rob McDermott on the rope!
The Ardlussa sports day.
Although the expedition needed a lot of planning, I would have gladly done it all again having seen how much pleasure the expedition brought to you, the members. You are the people who made it such an enjoyable and successful expedition (despite the weather) and I do say a very big thank you. My other thanks go the all those who helped: Mr Bury, Landowner; Iain Petrie at Ruantallain; the Islanders on Jura; my parents for all their help with the food and lorry driving; to mention but a few. Thank you all.
Corpach Bay Biyvy.
Members: Ryan, Andy, Kevin, Sam, Mouldy.
Leaders: Simon, Ernie, Phil.
The day we set off was a sunny and fairly hot Sunday (for a change).
The group should have set off around midday but the trouble was no-one wanted to do a route-card and Rob would not let us go until we had. Eventually, several of us were "persuaded” to complete it although I was a little concerned about our time of arrival… 'midnight'!!! We finally started walking about l-45pm. We flew (clever people! - Ed) up Ben Cruib in about half the time shown on the route card and headed for Rainbeg Nor where we found a tiny stream which had thousands of really small tadpoles (thousands — did you count them ALL?? - Ed) in it. We then walked up and over Rainbeg Nor which was a bit of a pig as it was still very hot.
Corpach Bay, Jura
A couple of hours later to our eternal relief we arrived at Corpach — not midnight but a quarter to eight in the evening. Some mad idiots then went swimming (Ernie and Phil?? - Ed), well, paddling whilst the rest of us pitched tents. Ernie made a camp fire which took at least 15 matches to light (more like 1500 for Ernie - Rob) around which we all sat and ate toasted banana sandwiches, after which yours truly had to do the washing up. Eventually, everyone drifted off to bed and I made sure that everyone in my tent was asleep before I shouted out at the top of my voice waking them up. Sam and Phil were not amused — I can't think why!!!
The next day was Kevin's birthday and when we got back to camp there was a birthday treat waiting for him — one or two or twenty two buckets of water!! That was a laugh, like the whole expedition.
The Paps bivvy
Tents in the ferns. (Chris Bohin - right)
"Bodies to the P4"
Diary of a Paps Bivvy.
Thursday 4th August.
Five of us sat within view of a white, sandy beach, one hot (??) August lunchtime The place was Glenbattrick, and we were eating our sandwiches before embarking on a bivvy to the Paps. As we set off, the weather was good (for Jura standards) — cloudy but dry. The Intrepid group was ably led by Simon “Veteran of the Paps" Lorimer, with Andrew "Mouldy" Ward, Rodney "Lighthouse” Moran, Ian "Roddy" Robinson and myself.
Having walked along the beach and ascended a short distance over boggy ground, infested with pleasantly perfumed sage (not Jo and Gary?? - Ed) for an hour, we were ready for a well-earned rest. To the call of "Take Five", we all immediately collapsed and rested for ten minutes!!
The weather had already deteriorated and, as we climbed further, we soon found ourselves in the mist. Visibility was very poor so we spent the rest of the day walking on compass bearings. We continued until we reached the col near Bienn an Or and found a suitable bivvy site. Water on the boil for soup and the inevitable chicken supreme and smash!! It was at this point I became really worried — the chicken supreme tasted great!! The heavy rain and the cold sent us crawling to the depths of our orange bivvy bags or green goretex bags in the case of Simon and Ian.
At this stage, we had absolutely no inclination towards activity, and so settled down in our bivvy bags for the night ahead. Every once in a while, Ian would unzip his goretex and peer out to check that the three of us hidden beneath orange bags were okay. Stifling the occasional shiver, we assured him we were okay and he guiltily disappeared back into the warmth (goretex with built-in central heating??? - Ed). We then noticed that Mouldy was very quiet and we were worried until a resounding "Bodies to the P4" echoed around the Paps. ("Bodies to the P4" was one of Bob's little ways of keeping the camp on their toes)
At about midnight, Rodney poked his head out of the top of his bivvy bag and called over to me, and sounded slightly worried when he noticed I had disappeared from where he had last seen me asleep not long before. I had slid about four feet down a slope and was having such intense difficulty crawling back up the slope that I just gave up trying. Instead, I settled down to spend the rest of the night propped up against a pegged-out goretex bag to stop me rolling further downhill.
Friday 9th August.
Guess what? Really grotty weather again!! (so what is new?- Ed) I found my sleeping bag was saturated when I woke up, partly due to condensation, partly due to rain. The others had a similar problem so we tried, unsuccessfully, to air our kit before packing it. We cooked breakfast of porridge and crushed digestives, then decided to set off up Bienn an Or, the highest Pap, and give up any hope of conquering the other two.
We eventually got to the top, managing to admire the view for seconds at a time between the dense, drifting cloud, then we fell asleep in the rain. After an hour at the summit (asleep!!), we began our descent, on slippery rocks, stumbling frequently along the way (Jura whisky has this effect — Rob). Below the lower line of scree and rocks, we stopped for lunch, before asking our way down to the loch beneath. We then skirted round it on higher ground in an attempt to avoid the really soggy ground.
For the whole journey, we were entertained by Mouldy’s enormous repertoire of songs, and even more amused by his angelic voice (only joking!!). After several rowdy renditions of SHS songs, and a few miles later, we had reached the forest, all that lay between us and the road. Mouldy and Rodney decided on the direct approach, straight through the forest whilst the rest of us took the easier route around the edge. We walked a short way along the road and then sat at the roadside to wring out our wet socks.
A welcome vehicle approached, with Mouldy and Rodney inside - as they had been picked up as they emerged from the forest. Thankfully, the driver stopped for us too, and we all piled into the back of the land-rover and set off towards the exciting night-life of Craighouse, the disco and the ceilidh......but that is another story!!!!!
Edi Albert and Ryan ??
Building a dam.
|Far left, 'putting up tents blidfolded' games (Chris
and left, "Squashy" in his burmuda's
1988 Jura expedition group photo
Can you name
anyone? If so get in touch.
1) Rachel Gooberman 2)Andrew Ward 3)Rodney Moran
4)Sarah Gatehouse 5)Heidi Albert? 6)Ian Robinson
7)Edi Albert? 8)Philip Squance 9)Samantha Hall
10) 11)Chris Bohin 12)Simon Pollard? 13)Susie Boxall
14)Darren Clark 15)Rob McDermott 16)Simon Lorimer
17) Ian Earnshaw 18)Danny McCormack 19)Mark Goodman
20)Mark Mackenzie 21)Keith MacDonald
22)Melanie Williamson 23) 24)Robert Hosey
25) Mathew Pollard 26)Kim Atkinson? 27)Rodney Moran
The following photos are some from the large selection sent to me by Simon Lorimer
|The Islay/Jura ferry from Port Askaig
|The P4 on the shore of Loch Tarbert
|The next 9 or 10 photos are the Corpach Bay bivvy (I think!)
|Corpach Bay (Isle of Mull in distance)
|Corpach Bay and the Isle of Mull beyond.
|The islands of Colonsay and Oronsay in distance
|Chris Bohin - in his own words "Being really grumpy sat on a canoe waiting for something to happen".
|The photographer being photographed. At Port Askaig waiting for the Jura ferry.