North Uist 1984

 

LEADER: Richard Young

 

 
  ASSISTANT LEADERS: Paula Hollingsworth, Bridgit Hutchinson, Simon Lorimer,

 Robert McDermott, Richard Pitts, Simon Ringrose, John Thorpe, Kirsten Warburton

 
 

 

MEMBERS: Alison Adams, Clare Alderson, Steven Allard, Rachel Allen. Michael Bailey, Kevin Bateman,

 Elizabeth Boulter, Susanna Boxall, Ian Brown, Stuart Brown, Jennifer Bundy, Jeremy Clough, Paul Connolly,

 Alasdair Davidson, Nicholas Gee, Rachael Gooberman, Keith Hawker, Ryan Herbert, Alexander Hester,

 Charles Hickman, Stuart Hogg, Georgina Hopwood, Nicholas Hurrell, Michael Krango,

Brian Marsden, Robin Potts, Nicholas Travers, Innes Webberley, Peter Young..

 

 

There was some doubt as to whether we would all get into the bus at Lochboisdale School. Soon, however, the packed vehicle was winding northwards - and the isles welcomed us with blue sky and clear air. We passed an endless number of lochans and peat cuttings as the road grew smaller and smaller, and the bends sharper and more frequent. Finally, we came to a halt on the south shore of Loch Eport, where the road ends at Obisary. We were all very glad indeed to hear that the advance parties who were waiting for us had taken it upon themselves to ferry most of our equipment round to the site. Quite a tribute to the organisation, as none of them had ever been there before! After a friendly reunion for a few folks from previous expeditions, and plenty of "hallos" from us all we decided to get to the site as quickly as possible, while the good weather lasted. There were two factors which I hadn't counted on whilst planning this part of the activities: first, the tremendous enthusiast and effort put in by everybody; and second, the good weather, which made the whole thing so much more enjoyable. I can't remember a camp going up so quickly and thoroughly, especially remembering that most of the members were on their first Expedition. Teamwork was the order of the day and this spirit was very much present throughout our time together. I wish to stress this because, whilst no-one knows exactly where it comes from, it meant a tremendous amount to all of us. It explains, perhaps, how it was possible to do so many things in such a brief venture. As I look back now, the time seemed to be so full that it's not possible to remember it all. Nonetheless, I have fond memories of sailing on Loch Obisary, of eating trout and pollock and of drinking Mrs MacPhail's tea after we had helped her fetch her peats! I might also mention the search and rescue exercises (both the practice and the real one which followed), sleeping under the stars with the distant sound of breakers on our bivvy to the West Coast or watching the moon rising over Loch Eport from our newly pitched camp.

I enjoyed watching two Arctic Skuas circling over our boat in the evening light, and equally the moment when two of us spotted another swimming in the surf at Griminish Point. Climbing Eaval at 6.00 a.m. and watching the sunrise was an experience I won't forget. Sometimes, the whole world around seemed to "fill you up". One such moment came as two of us were returning to the camp in the inflatable boat in the evening with the bread supply. The sun had gone from the sky, and the moment was reached when the mirror-smooth water-surface and the pearly-blue sky were indistinguishable. Only the glowing trail of phosphorescence from our wake was left as we rounded the headland to the camp. Being nearly a mile from the nearest house we were very much surrounded by the natural aspect of the island. I think the interest shown in both the island and its people is apparent from the fact that seventeen overnight camps were undertaken in just ten consecutive days. Whilst it is always easier to talk about the 'outward' experiences in such a review as this, I am quite sure that for many members and leaders the friendships made and developed, or the sense of self-reliance gained and tested will prove the most enduring memorial to their visit to North Uist. I must finally take this opportunity to thank very warmly indeed all those kind people who enabled the Expedition to be such a success - many within the Society who organised food, transport, membership and equipment for various activities; John MacKinnon for his hospitality at Lochboisdale School; the whole community at Sidinish and Obisary who were so kind to us; to David Shaughnessy and Alistair MacDonald for permission to stay where we did; and last, but not least, the Assistant Leaders who worked at least 50% harder than any other group Ive known! Thank you all very much.

Richard Young

I have lots of photographs from Hugh and Simon Lorimer, they were scanned from the originals but loads don't have any information or dates. By a process of linking photos containing the same people or recognising a location [eg Cruib Lodge on Jura] I have tried to identify as many as I can. (It is made slightly harder to identify them as both Simon and Hugh went on expeditions together and separately so I can't even tell which island some of the photos are). So if you spot a photo incorrectly allocated, or recognise someone in a photo then do let me know.

Thanks, Nick Smith

I'm informed that this is Bridgit Hutchinson and Innes Webberley

Innes Webberley

From the shorts, Bridgit Hutchinson and Innes Webberley again.

Innes again and Richard Pitts behind?

Bgh a' Bhiorain.  A drying inlet off Loch Euphort (Eport)  Copyright Richard Webb

Photo taken Thursday 12th April 2012 - pretty much the site of the 1984 main camp.

I think this is looking towards Eaval.