Outer Isles (Lewis) 1974.
OUTER ISLES (LEWIS) EXPEDITION
Leader: Paul Caffery
Officers: Denise Whitworth (Camp Administrator), Mike Anderson (Camp Doctor), John Gibbison, Dick Light, Dave Whitworth.
Members: Michael Aitken, Mark Baker, Richard Bregazzi, Philip Davey, Patrick Fox, Johnathan Harper,
Peter Jeffries, Colin Moss, Richard Williams, Peter Wright.
An old and now mostly forgotten Hebridean poet and wit once said," If the sun shone in the Hebrides there would be nowhere more beautiful in all the world." For our first week this was just how it was, miles of silver white sands, blue-green seas with white topped breakers, and clear blue skies. It was a real fairy land (not that we saw any, but there were comments about nice officers.)
As an outdoor pursuits expedition we climbed, canoed, surfed, walked, and lay in the sun. At the end of the day there were the magnificent sunsets, games of volley ball, and quick rounds on our own golf course.
Dun Borranais on Uig beach, Lewis.
I think this illustrates the quote opposite!
© Copyright Tom Richardson
Uig Lodge, with a commanding view over the famous
beach at Uig.
© Copyright phil smith
Every expedition has its characters, but it seemed that our characters had an expedition. There was the Gibbison commission into marital harmony. (We still await the results.) Also if we were not being entertained by Jo, Charlie, and Rich, it was by Colin and his habit of hole digging.
Dick mashed us pots of delicious steaming hot Sassafras and Clover tea and hit us with an activity called orienteering. He even led a brave party out to Aird Bheag to establish once and or all where the most voracious midges live.
But what of the Camp Administrator? Despite having the least rewarding job (especially when there is a shortage of food) Denise fulfilled her task with untiring energy even finding time to come out climbing with us.
Exceptionally high tides caused us to re-pitch several of the tents, and Colin, never doing anything by half, removed his tent to the top of a nearby hill. He ended up so far from camp that every time he went to bed he had to sign out in the book.
Overlooking the bay at Uig.
© Copyright Dr Julian Paren
Drainage patterns through the flat ground near Uig Bay.
© Copyright Colin Smith
There are always so many memories of an expedition that they are too numerous to mention, but we will remember the blow hole, Barny our friendly bull, the great Burt Brutons, John's contact lenses, Mark Bakers' inventions, Dick's mouth organ, the nude swims, Mr and Mrs Morrissons' accurate weather forecasting, the collapsing marquee, and the evening talks on occultism and socialism.
The time comes when I must thank people for contributing to the success of the expedition. Thanks to Ross and Cromarty County Council for providing the loo caravan, and thanks to George and Sheila Newall for the use of the scout hut in Stornaway as well as for their assistance with other problems. Thanks must also go to the Sutherland family at Brenish for their refreshing cups of tea and coffee on our many visits. Good luck to Mrs Sutherland in her new venture of creating a local pottery industry on the island.
Last, but by no means least, thanks to the backroom boys of the Society for food, travel, equipment, with a special thank you to John Hutchison for last minute emergencies being dealt with. Finally thanks to all the expedition members.
PAUL E CAFFERY
I've included a second piece from the 1974 S.H.S report as it has a good description of the location of the campsite. Nick
THE UIG FLOOD
The campsite this year was an expanse of flat ground (part of which, believe it or not, was converted into a golf course by our doctor) bordered on one side by Uig sands and on two others by a river. When we arrived, the sea was at least a quarter of a mile away from the camp at its nearest point. We pitched the marquee, three sleeping tents and a store tent fairly close together. All went well for about eleven days, when a force 8 gale blew up and heavy rain set in. Soon after this the tide rose by several feet and started to come in fast. When we saw the water so close we got ready to move the nearest tent, John Gibbison's own three man Alpine. When the water was only about a foot away, we decided the time had come to take action and moved the tent to slightly higher ground. From then on things moved fast; the Peewits were emptied of gear, walls built up, and all the food piled into Dave Whitworth's tent. The water eventually stopped about five feet from, the marquee, although water several inches deep covered the space formerly occupied by John's tent.(My tent, by the way, was quite safe - thirty feet up a hill, about a hundred yards away!). With a lot of difficulty in a howling wind we managed to erect a tent for everyone to sleep in, and put all the gear in the marquee. However, soon after the tide went down the rain returned; we had got the gear under cover just in time!