In 1970 European Conservation Year was celebrated with the Festival of the Countryside. KCFA member John Goss took a very special trip.
TSS King George V Trip to Rum
At 12.30 on Monday 11th May, 1970, outside the Gairloch Hotel, HRH the Princess Margaret performed the opening ceremony for the ‘Festival of the Countryside’. Running until the 22nd May, the Festival was sponsored by the Highlands and Islands Development Board in association with the Wester Ross Tourist organisation.
For twelve days a wealth of wildlife and countryside within the are was made available for visitors to enjoy. From Plockton Airstrip you could take a flight in a Loganair Islander to St Kilda for £7.10s, or a thirty minute tour round the islands of Eigg and Rhum for £3.15s (£2.00 for children)! There was archery at Gairloch, cruises to the Crowlin Islands, St Kilda or on Loch Maree, mountain rescue demonstrations and, as they say, lots more!
For a youthful John Goss, clutching my £5.00 ‘Runabout Travel Ticket’, the highlight came on the last day of the Festival as I stepped aboard the TSS King George V at Armadale, Skye; Mallaig being ‘too full of fishing boats’ for embarkation to take place there. My destination, the Isle of Rhum Nature Reserve. I kept a journal of my travels which were published in the Coastal Cruising Association Magazine.