During August this year, a party of seven members of the Zoology Department took part in an expedition to the Isle of Oransay, one of the most westerly islands of the Inner Hebrides. It was led by Bob Sturrook who, with the rest, had just completed his second year in the Zoology Dept.
The trip was run to gain experience in planning, camping and working under expedition conditions and to see how the the members survived each other's company over a reasonable period of time. Armed with this knowledge, the planning of an expedition to Ghana in 1958, to follow the one this year, should be greatly facilitated.
On August 1st six members joined the seventh on the island to start the camp. They had failed to meet three days earlier because of a failure on British Railways which resulted in the main party being unable to catch their boat. Whilst refusing to accept responsibility, British Railways generously footed the bill for extra expenses incurred during a three day "Tour of the Scottish Islands" as the party made its way by an alternatve route to its destination.
For the next three weeks no major setbacks interfered with the camp and life progressed smoothly. Problems, including an investigation of littoral insects, a survey of the distribution of craneflies, an examination of the liverfluke of the island and general biological collecting, were carried out with reasonable success.
After this, gales from various directions combined with heavy rain showers began to play havoc with the camp. All the tents were damaged and running repairs had to be made continuously under all conditions of gale, visibility and rain. Eventually four of the seven tents collapsed under the strain. Two of these were of a design reputed by the makers to have been tested in a South Georgia winter - some comment on our English summer!
With the subsidence of the gales the expedition ran quietly to an end. On August 30th camp was struck and members regretfully left the islands for their homes. The kindness of the islanders impressed itself an everyone and their hospitality will be long remembered. The whole venture was undoubtedly successful and provided all the experience hoped far.