When I was sixteen and Alice was fourteen, I was staying with Alice and her family on Jura and I came up with another “good idea”, which was that we would go and sleep on our own in bothies. I would go across the sea inlet from Glenabatrick to Ruantallen where there was a bothy which had been used by Rory Darrach, a local shepherd. Bothies are places with a bed where one could stay for a night, and with a fireplace and fuel for a fire, and a basic stock of food and utensils. We also had our own supplies of supper and breakfast and a sleeping bag. Alice went to a bothy at Cruib, further inland up the coast of Jura. We agreed that we would lay a place for another person as well as ourselves; for some reason I felt that was frightening, so I didn’t do it, but Alice did. We also said “goodnight” to the moon!
That evening I decided to have a swim, and, to show that I was on my own, I swam without a costume. I found that the bit of sea I chose to swim in I was sharing with a seal, who might have thought I was a mermaid with feet! I slept well that night and didn’t feel at all frightened, nor was Alice frightened.
Another time when I went to Jura with Alice and her family we saw a big ship anchored out at sea opposite Glenabatrick. We realised it was the Royal Yacht Britannia, and so Richard, Alice’s younger brother, played “God Save the Queen” on the trumpet. While we were there with her grandparents, her grandfather was out on a boat with some gillies and a man asked if he could join them. The gillies all took their caps off, recognising the Duke of Edinburgh; Alice’s grandfather didn’t notice the taking off of caps, and carried on his conversation, as was his way.
I have many happy memories of being on Jura.
Mary Smith 11th August 2016