ULVA EXPEDITION 1970
Leader: Alan Fowler
Officers: Paul Caffery, Peter Carlile, Tim Webster, Chris Hood, Jonathon Orr, John Round.
Boys:- Richard Friend, Michael Ruffle, Anthony Johnson, Timothy Thomson, Charles Runacres, Jeremy Turff,
Martin Turff, Colin Hyland, Nicholas Cust, Graham Ralph, Peter Thomas, John Adams, Nigel Parker,
Peter Sadler, John Parrett, Alan Beaney, Timothy Jeans, Gregory Watson.
Eeyore came with us to Ulva - between the pages of a book, of course. In spite of this, I can imagine him describing the Expedition to Piglet as if he had been there, commenting in his melancholy way:
"Not that there wasn't any sunshine and here-we-go-round-the-marquee, mind you; but it was quite damp in some people's tents around ten oclock in the evening. In fact, quite between us and the tent-post, little piglet, it was WET."
But this, of course, is not the whole story. To be sure, we endured a depressing two days at the beginning and end of the Expedition, confined by hours of heavy rain and dripping, clapping canvas, but during the intervening heatwave (coinciding with the visit of Hugh Williams, whose sun-magic is more powerful than my rain-sorcery, it seems) we walked and climbed and sailed and surveyed and rested with energy rarely found in more southerly latitudes. Perhaps there was a sense of the uniqueness of the opportunity, for we were allowed to camp and to explore on the very private island of Ulva, as a result of dire emergency within three days of the Expedition's departure, and the generosity of Lady Congleton.
Looking from Ulva towards Mull 22/10/2008 © Copyright Nicholas Mutton
The Gometra track, looking east. 3/06/2009 © Copyright Colin Kinnear
Many and dark were the difficulties that loomed on the horizon, but thanks to Jonathon's epic first ascent of the marquee pole to rig the storm guys, and Paul's second ascent to get the nails out; thanks to John and Chris's sortie to re-organise food supplies and to recover the Vinga; thanks to Tim's attention to our minor ills ('though I'm not sure how grateful I am for those liver salts, Tim); thanks to the hard work and optimism of the boys; thanks to the patient and good-humoured work done by Paul with the stores, and finally to Pete's unfailing wit and songs, there were no problems that got the better of us.
There is no doubt that much of this would have failed without the support and friendship of Mr McPhail and Hugh McPhail. and the good company of Rose, Emma and Katrina - and, of course, it would not have taken place at all without the hospitality of Lady Congleton.
Landing in Sąilean Ąrdalum. 13/08/2007
The first night camping spot on a four day sea kayaking expedition
© Copyright Nick R
Sheepfold Above Soriby Bay
With views across Loch Tuath to the mainland.
To the left on the mainland can just be made out the dramatic waterfall Eas Fors
We did more than exist, however. To some extent, the articles which are included in this Report will show what else took place during the Expedition, but they are a small reflection of the patient and detailed observations made, the hours of sailing, the shaking crises of climbing, the elation of hill-walking, and the quieter moments of swimming, evening canoeing, fishing and drawing. I think we did something of everything we set out to do, and everyone will remember their experiences in their own personal way. At least everyone who was on the Expedition could tell you what happened to the brick with SMITH written on it ... which shows you that we sometimes share memories.
- ALAN FOWLER