LEADER: Alan Smith
ASSISTANT LEADERS:- Judith Pielou, Jonathan Orr, Steve Kent, Simon Atkinson.
MEMBERS:- Jeremy Dawes, Joanna Walker, Robert Wilson, Roger Gilchrist, Paul Bloomfield, Nicole Crease,
Ashley Crossland, Douglas Warburton, Brigit Hennessey, Peter Miles, Ian Swann, Ceri Mort, Tim Scrimshaw, Alison Paynter.
Thanks to Joanna for supplying the photos.
The bleakness of Preston Station yet again, not an inspiring experience, but one which could only improve.
The train arrives, at last a comfortable seat for 12 hours or so -no such luck. Not a seat until Glasgow. Most of the team found each other on the next section of the journey to Fort William.
At Mallaig we met up with Jonathan and his advance party, loaded the Loch Mhor and we were on our way to Rhum. No sooner had we left the harbour than the rain started - a quick stop at Eigg - hardly visible in the mist, on to Loch Scresort at Rhum, shrouded in mist. The Rhouma was waiting patiently for the Loch Mhor, knowing exactly what to expect after years of experience of the SHS (brave men!).
The N.C.C. land rovers were clustered round the jetty for the free show. Angus Macintosh organised the loading of our gear into a horse box trailer and quickly transported us to Salisbury's Dam. The first priority of course was to set up camp and eat!
After a misty 24 hours, at 1 a.m., the river rose around 3 ft. and re-routed itself through the camp. Result - a rapid evacuation of the tents, and everyone into the marquee with all perishable goods and wet clothes. We spent the first night there drinking endless brews and soup! The whole performance was repeated again seven days later!
|Judith and the famous dam
Parties left camp almost daily for Harris, Kinloch and various mountaineering trips. On Sundays visits were made to Kilmory to see Fiona Guinness and the herd of 300 deer involved in a project.
Bivvies could only be undertaken at weekends, due to the stalking, and only to the Bothy at Dibidil. This however, was a superb place to visit, with good views of Eigg and dramatic cliff scenery.
The third week was spent in Kinloch at the Farmhouse Bothy, because of stalking restrictions. We carried out voluntary work for the N.C.C. for three days.
Here we were able to use the canoes for the first time. This was the big moment for me - after four years I had finally decided to try my hand at canoeing - the first step of which is of course "capsize drill' (the bit I dreaded). Ceri and I entertained everyone else by our upside-down epics - during which my past flashed before me more than once!
The story of the Manx Shearwaters trip and rescue are told elsewhere by Judith in her report.
The final evening of the expedition was spent at a Ceilidh organised by Colin, one of the Wardens. This was an ideal opportunity for our trio of musicians to perform on the one and only guitar owned by Steve;
I would like to thank the Nature Conservancy Council Wardens and staff for their help and friendliness at all times; in particular, Peter Duncan and Angus Macintosh who did everything possible for us, including delivering the bread!
Rhum is an island I shall try to revisit as often as possible because of its ruggedness and wildlife - the midges were not the scourge I had been led to believe! - although as we were preparing to depart from the island, the midges arrived in great numbers (ugh!) - as if they had just realised what they had missed!! Simon alone was immune since he was smoking one of his 'present from America’ cigars!
Tim, Steve, Peter, Dougie, Roger, Jeremy, Ian, Paul, Alan Smith (Leader) Rob.
Front row- Simon, Ceri, Judith, Bridgit, Nicole, Alison and Ashley (me [Joanna] taking photo)
The Ridge Walk
Jonathan Orr, Roger Gilchrist, Joanna Walker, Tim Scrimshaw.
Being the only female among; the first group to do the Rhum Ridge walk which is about 13½ miles with 6,000 feet of ascent, I have had the great privilege of being; asked to write it up.
As far as I know no previous female member of the SHS had completed the ridge walk; so in an attempt to prove that females are no weaker than males, I foolishly volunteered to accompany sergeant major Orr (disguised as expedition medic), on the big walk. Having done the first three mountains already, I felt fairly confident that I would make it.
Setting off at a cracking pace along Long Loch, my calf muscles were complaining and on the almost vertical ascent of Barkeval I wondered if I was going to make it.
However, the top soon came into view and I knew I had to keep going now. I could see all the other mountains; a magnificent sight and determination welled up inside me. Down the coll, then up Hallival – a slightly less rigorous way than Simon had taken us; no rest on the top and straight down the next coll. The scramble up Askival was quite tough but once on the top when the cloud had cleared, the lunch time views were something out of this world; the Outer Isles, Ardnamurchan, Knoydart and the Cuillins of Skye were all in view.
Soon we were off again. Up Trallaval we trudged and after stopping just long enough for Roger to take a picture, we retraced our tracks then clambered down around the base of the mountain to the next coll.
A survey of Ainshval by our leader told us we ought to be able to make it up what looked like an extremely difficult slope, if we went up the edge of some scree; knowing this to be the last real climb, we quickly got to the top. The gentle walk onto Sgurr nan Gillean and then along the ridge to the base of Ruinsival gave us a break from climbing and some great views of the island. Tiredness was now beginning to show and, although the climb up Ruinsival was not very steep, it almost finished me off.
Coming down was hard going too, but once across the Harris river and onto the track, the going was much easier. We soon arrived at camp, just in time for the evening meal, to proudly announce our accomplishment which had been achieved in 8¼ hours.
Peter Miles and Jonathan Orr
|The following 13 photos are all from Joanna as well, great shots of the camp flood, I was there in the hot summer of 1976 and there were concerns that the burn would dry up!
|Floods - loo tent under water and someone on the loo behind the marquee !
The haystack we'd made - Jez, Steve and me(Joanna)
|Roger on the Ridge walk looking back to Askival
|First time on Askival with Rob Wilson, Peter Miles, Alan Smith, Nicole Crease, Simon Atkinson and Judith Pielou
|Jo on Sgurr Nan Gillean with the conquered Rum Ridge behind.
|Jonathan on Sgurr Nan gillean looking across to Eigg
|Hallival and Askival
|On Bloodstone Hill looking down Glen Guirdil with Canna and Sanday in the distance.
|Dibidil Bothy and the glen
Third time on Askival coming back from Dibidil (my blue rucksack) - Ian Swann, Dougie Warburton, Steve Kent
and Paul Bloomfield
|Sunrise - just after 7.00am walking to catch the boat home.
|Alan receiving some kind of 'midge relief'!