Assynt Meeting June 18th to 22nd 2006

bay near Achmelvic Coast near Achmelvic

Coastal flowers Coastal flowers

Assynt party Most of the Assynt WFS meeting

Preparing for the Assynt Experience

If you want to attend a full WFS meeting lasting two or more days then the normal way of doing things is to apply to the meetings secretary who decides whether a ballot needs to be held. The 2006 WFS Assynt meeting however was different.

Run by Corporal William Hawkins (assisted by his better half), an élite expeditionary force was to be created and tasked with exploring the north west of Scotland. Our leader was only prepared to consider those with a minimum level of fitness, mountaineering skill, proven survival skills in hostile environments and bravery in the face of a determined enemy.

The Corporal has in his time been up all the big hills in Scotland so is well used to the inclement weather for which that country is rightly famous and so it was by no means certain that with a meagre tally of thirty or so climbs of hills over 3,000 feet that I would qualify.

Naturally I enrolled in recommended courses to bring me up to speed although I still think that learning to fire automatic weapons whilst skiing or abseiling was perhaps overcautious.

In any case our real enemy would hardly be deterred by any weapon which the army currently has at its disposal. It is an unscrupulous opponent which attacks civilians as well as trained troops and has no mercy with either. Known to the boffins as Culicoides impunctatus or the Highland Biting Midge, it has yet to be defeated in its home territory.

After meeting the night before our first campaign, we learned from Sergeant Hawkins that our first test would be a coastal yomp over uncharted lands where poisonous plants and fierce sheep were to be expected. The scenery was deceptively beautiful but we knew that was exactly what the enemy wanted us to think.

The bottom photograph shows our party shortly after parachuting in with rucksacks of supplies.

Looking typically like an innocent group of botanical tourists carrying lunch, botanical books and magnifying glasses we were in fact equipped with short wave radio, plastic explosives and should we be caught alone by the enemy, cyanide pills.