Step up to Winter Talks by Mountain Aid all this week. Free admission.

Mountain Aid talks Step Up up to  Winter

Monday 12th     Dunfermline –   Monarch Bar, James St, Dunfermline KY12 7QE

Starts at 1930 – Hosted by Cioch Mountaineering Club

Tuesday 13th      Irvine –  Harbour Arts Centre, Harbour St, Irvine starts

Hosted by Air Na Creagan MC

Wednesday 14th         Lanark –    Clydesdale Hotel, Bloomgate, Lanark ML11 9ET –  2000  Start.

Hosted by Upperward MC.

Thursday 15th   Dundee –   Methodist Church, West Marketgait, Dundee. DD11QR

Hosted by Ancrum MC  STARTS 7 . 30 PM

Friday 16th          Aberdeen –  Central Building, Student village, Don St, Aberdeen AB24 1WU

HOSTED BY Aberdeen University Wilderness and Expedition Society.

if your free come along.

Posted in Avalanche info, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment

Burghead remembers !

On Remembrance day , from 8-00 am, Sunday Nov 11th, the names of the 52 Burghead men who lost their lives in the First World War will be written in the sand off the Slappy in Burghead.

These names will be visible from the Station Road car park until about 11 am when the last names will be erased by the incoming tide – this is linked in withe the Pages of the Sea event taking place on Roseisle beach

Well worth seeing and being there !

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Memorial Day At Syracuse More memories .

RAF Leuchars MRT – 1988 – Some of my team who went to Lockerbie. Mostly young folk like many in the tragedy.

Yesterday started with a call from Jill she was worried about me

and organised a visit to the local hospital. I have been poorly for a while and was diagnosed with acute bronchitis . I was treated like Royalty by all the staff and I am now on a course of antibiotics and steroids. The doctors and nurses were superb and when they were told what I was doing in Syracuse there were a few tears. These were trauma nurses and had seen most things. It was then back to the hotel not feeling great for the memorial service .

It was a huge event, when you see 35 memorial scholars all lined up with a rose it brings home the tragedy for the University. Seeing real people in that number That was lost is so visual.

The audience also had badges for all 270 victims of the bombing. They were all remembered and worn by the audience .

There were many speeches and then each scholar said a few words about those who died. It was ended by the two Lockerbie scholars and they spoke about the 11 lost in their town. They spoke with such eloquence it was so powerful.

The seats laid out as they were on the plane !

Our piper Donald played at the end and then we had a short break and a service in the Chapel.

Outside were seats placed where each student had sat on the fate-full night on 21 st Dec 1988. That was hugely impacting on me and each seat had their name.

The service was impressive lots of music more words and we were in the front. Our teamate Brian Asher spoke about the bond from Lockerbie and the plans for the future of the scholarship. His words were inspiring as always and we all sat together dressed up in our uniforms.

Colin the man with the dream, and vision to put this forward in his Police uniform for the last time looked proud. David in his Formal Ambulance uniform and Paul in his formal Fireman’s uniform. Brian was in his suit as rector of Lockerbie Academy and me in my kilt that belonged to my best mate who was killed-climbing 25 years ago.

We were a team and what wonderful teammates.

Outside after the service our Lockerbie Piper from the Scottish Power Band played his tune “Forward “ that he wrote as a local man for the town and the victims. It is powerful as only the pipes can be. Callum is an example of a young man from Lockerbie who will go on to great things.

It was then meet so many relatives , there were ,tears hugs and stories yet all looking forward to the future.

I spoke to so many and was so proud of what they felt towards the Mountain Rescue and SARDA for all we did.

I spoke to many of the students and loved their vision of the future what they wanted to do to change the world. These were just like my team in the RAF and others young folk many of them who inspire you in their plans and open your eyes as only young folk can.

They have the youth and wisdom to make this a better place for the future and I pray the establishment listens to them.

I have never been called “Sir”so much or thanked hugged and told to tell those at home not just the Mountain Rescue Teams the military SAR SARDA and the Army. The families the and relatives are aware of what you did. Many mentioned our families and friends who helped us yet never understood what was happening to us in the years to come with PTSD unknown then .

We all went back to the Hotel after the reception the rest went out to various meals I was tired feeling drained by now and sadly was running on empty. I had a quite night spoke to a few folk that matter in my life family and friends on the phone and tried to relax.
My head was on fire but it soon settled and you look back at what happened .
Josephine one of the Angels of Lockerbie was there she washed clothes of the casualties with many women in the town. She adopted two of the girls who died on the plane and looked after my troops as many did . She was still watching me she most of the day, was this journey was worth all the trauma for me yes without doubt.
I look back and see how Colin our leader has made this mission happen the work and effort beyond belief he and his wife have put in. Colin was like many of my team and other very young men and women. They did what was asked off them and have lived with what they saw and did at Lockerbie. He has now like most of my young troops moved on and done so much good for others.
I hope that for Colin and many including me this is the end of a new beginning that the friends we have made will
be a bond for life that will be unbreakable.

Team work is what it’s all about I belong to and organisation that had Team Leaders in 1944 (a modern buzz word) How visionary I was taught mentored by the best of the best. Great men and women who saw something in me when others did not. They gave me the trust and I took it on. I made huge mistakes learned hard lessons but alway put my team mates first. We have bonds that only Mountaineering can bring. You are joined by a rope that is trust in each other no matter how young you are or inexperienced you are this is team work . Leadership can be taught but true leadership is gained from experience and treating your team like a family in good and bad times.

I was lucky but today I met many who will become true leaders that can change a World that is crying out for them

I presented the University with our shield and it was graciously received .

Again thank you all.

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Articles, Cycle to Syracuse Training, Cycling, Family, Friends, Lockerbie, medical, PTSD, Recomended books and Guides, Views Political? | 7 Comments

Cycle to Syracuse Day 4 – New York

We went down in the subway to the Bronx after we got sorted out at Lubin House where we are staying . Hosted by Syracuse University we were looked after so well.

We had a great meal and were joined by a few friends and then home for some sleep.

It was then a good nights sleep and a visit to 9/11 a poignant occasion and well worth the visit. It is so hard to see what occurred here.

We all felt upset at times in the visit it was a day that changed the world.

We were there for 3 hours and I found it hard going the losses of life nearly 3000 and the stories told are incredible.

It was then back for a reception at Lubin House where we met various dignitaries.

Our pipers Callum and Donald were there along with many dignities.

Back out today busy roads to be begin with still not feeling great.

Posted in Articles, Cycling, Friends, Health, Lockerbie, People | 2 Comments

Day 3 to New York Central Park .

At last I was back on the bike what a start we set off from a park, dedicated to the memory of Rick Monetti, who died on Pan Am 103.

The family saw us off it was emotional and

we also passed them on route . Try keeping up with the boys going fast and crying at the same time. Not easy huge emotion comes out and the team were there looking after each other. I was so glad to get going the roads were as Brian says

“Flat roads, good surfaces

No wind

Not cold

Not wet

Heavy was back in the saddle

It was fast cycling and fun too

We made it to Central Park “

Here we were met by more families and two pipers from our sponsor Scottish Power. It was another wonderful

Moment in all our lives. We chatted cried a little and laughed. Oliver Mundell the local

MSP was there to meet us what a kind caring man. Sadly our hard working support team missed the final bit due to traffic.

We owe them so much .

As always Miles the mechanic was there we had 4 punctures and he is an incredible human being . He reads the roads and more importantly like after our safety. What a guy a true one in a million.

This is his field of expertise and he keeps me right and tells me when to take a break.

The team is so strong but so aware of what this journey is about. The cycling is a big part but so is the meeting of so many folk.

This journey is way out of my comfort zone but I have great warmth from my team and folk we meet. Our support team are incredible brilliant food and they all are a huge part of the team. Thank you all.

I have learned so much already felt the love of folk I never met and hope that to

All my friends in Mountain Rescue and SARDA and the military get some of the feeling for what you all did these years ago.

There is Huge hope for the future when we meet “hoops “of locals shouting when we cycle through places and time to laugh and cry together!

A family washed our clothes the other day it was a gesture I will never forget so near to the bone for me and what the ladies of Lockerbie did for them.

Everyday is a lifetimes experience cycling through New York was incredible like a film set yet we were it.

The pipers who met us were a superb finale and the Lockerbie lament was played by a Lockerbie piper written by him as a proud young man from the town. It was inspiring.Callum and Donald from the Scottish Power Pipe Band made the hairs on my neck shiver as we heard them on entering Central Park. What a feeling of what we are doing and the pipes made this journey a little easier.

My team mates are all on the same mission to reach Syracuse and end a journey of hope for the future. We want to complete this task.

Day off tomorrow but so much to do with a media call and dinner at Lubin house where we are staying. They have treated us so well.

Thank you all feeling better but drained emotionally but so full-filling in so many ways.

Posted in Charity, Cycle to Syracuse Training, Cycling, Family, Friends, Lockerbie, People, PTSD, Views Political?, Weather | 4 Comments

Heading to the USA thanks for all the support.

That is me now in Edinburgh heading to the USA for our Cycle to Syracuse. Over a year of preparation and huge effort by Colin Dorrance the man behind the idea.

It will be some experience and thanks for all the support!

I am pretty tired just after saying farewell to Ted in Arran it was an emotional weekend.

So many turned up it was amazing and makes you think. Most there had seen and done things in life and helped put so many folk over the years mainly folk they never knew in the mountains all over the world.

Colin Dorrance what a guy!

This trip to the USA is a huge honour and I will work hard to represent so many of you.

I see the weather is coming in this weekend and the first dumps of snow and the Artic blast is coming. I will miss that for the first time in over 50 years?

Have fun be safe and if on the hill or in life look after each other.

Posted in Articles, Cycling, Friends, Lockerbie, People | Leave a comment

Some words by Jim Groak on Ted Atkins.A few thoughts of Arran and the memories of a special weekend. Thank you all for making this a special day for Shona , Lewis and Famiky.


Some of the 2001 Everest Team with Lewis Atkins

2001 Tibet Everest Team. Missing Ian Kelly. Steve Price and Nick Sharpe and of course Ted.

Jim Groak poem A few words of his best pal, mentor !


The cheeky chappy with an inventive, brilliant, and fun loving mind.

Using home-engineered ice axes, wearing kit of the ‘self tailored’ kind.

Ted was never one to merely “go with the flow”,

He could climb rock or ice in most weathers, – “It will go”.

If one could really carry experience, Ted needed a hold- all.

Antarctica, Eiger North Face, Everest, and from Scotland to Nepal.

With terrier tenacity, expertise, agility, and shear gall,

In all four seasons wearing either stickies, or big boots and all.

Ted was a ‘one in a million character’ I’m sure you’ll agree.

The tough exterior concealed a soft centre, that most did’nt see.

As a self taught oxygen delivery engineer, Ted designed and ran “Top Out”

With expeds and business ventures around the world, Ted quickly gained     clout.                                                                               

When Shona and Ted became proud Mum and Dad,

Lewis had a better education than most kids ever had.

Living in an Italian paradise, the Dolomites as they’re back yard,

Skiing and climbing in the Alps, Lewis also learnt to play hard.

Ted was always busy with Top Out, and making new records,sky diving,

People sought his expertise, the military, and even Hollywood came calling.


Ted was taken from us, all too soon, but while enjoying the hill,

He has gone, leaving a gap that no one can fill.

I will always think of Ted as a friend, confident, and instructor,

Ted was our leader, but we will always remember him as “our mucker”.

Ted had a great send off they came from all over the world and I hope Shona Lewis and family got some solace from a special day.

We put out the prayer flags in the Church Hall they had come from the North Colon Everest that I brought down in 2001. The hall had slides and photos and a wonderful amount of food all prepared by the kind folk of Arran.

Getting the Hall ready in Brodick thank you all for the effort.

It was a moving service with Ted’s son Lewis speaking as well as myself and Jim

Groak. Shona’s Dad the minister officiated and the church was packed.

Lots of folk worked so hard to ensure the day went well To many to name.

Yet Terry Moore and a few others deserve special thanks. The RAF Leeming Mountain Rescue Team were there and that was grand with the vechile outside the Church .

It was a moving day huge amount of pals about so many to catch up with.

There was a party in the Ormidale with a ceildh band at the end of the day. I had an early night but walked back to the sounds of the music in the background.

Emotion had been kept in check all day it had to be for me but that was a long walk in the dark to my accommodation and lots of time to think.

The Celebration of life is a great thing and only to often we get together at events like this. I try to see as many folk as I can in our busy lives. It’s never easy making time.

As in life we come in with nothing and leave nothing. What we achieve is what is left in the memories we leave behind. Ted left so many and those who gathered to be with Shona,Lewis and the family have a legacy of stories that keep coming of Ted’s life.Things we will never forget.

These are great folk many who have achieved much in their lives yet they have a bond that few can understand. The ladies who made the food said they knew that we were a group so full of life even us oldies. We all have a bond in the mountains in the Skies and wild places. We all worked together there are few egos as a team in whatever our speciality but there is a bond there that never leaves us.

I am glad I am a small part of such folk and hope that my Grandchildren meet them and be inspired to be like Ted ( apart from the hats) To get out into the World and meet folk who will inspire you to great things.

To see great things you have open your eyes and watch nature and let the light come in.

You do need to be a superstar just be part of a team working together trying to “look after”each other despite how hard it gets.

After I spoke at the funeral there were so many looking out for me a few words a cuddle from the girls as it was hard. I am so lucky to have so many from all over who keep an eye on me and others.

I am sure pretty exhausted and have my big Cycle to Syracuse coming up leaving Tuesday for the USA.

It’s time to recharge and I just got on the ferry in Arran . I needed to get back early only the last car on. I am now in Ayr with my sisters getting sorted, the next adventure starts soon.

I will do my best as this means so much to so many of those who did so much in December 1988 at Lockerbie.

What a few days .

Posted in Articles, Family, Mountaineering | 2 Comments

Mountain Aid Talk in Irvine a great night good crowd and good Craick . Thank you all for your support from the two local Mountaineering clubs.

Yesterday after a long drive back from Dunfermline from my first of 5 Mountain Aid Talks on Step up to Winter. I drove back to Ayr it poured all the way home. I was staying with my sister in Ayr and as they do the stayed up to make sure I was home.

By now it was midnight after my talk in Dunfermline and I was tired it had been a long day.

I had a busy day getting sorted for my next chat. Yet I manage a walk along the beach in Ayr past old haunts with ma misty Arran and a brisk wind. I thought of my sister Jenifer sadly gone now and we enjoyed walking on the beach many times. It wS great to clear the head I am still not yet fully fit from my Cycle in the USA Bronchitis still there but slowly recovering.

My sister Rosemary looked after me with her husband Michael and treated me so well

My talk was in Irvine not far from Ayr about 30 min by car in the Harbour Arts Centre .

I left just before 1800 and the venue was stunning set up with help from the host club

Local host contacts :

Air Na Creagan MC     Steve Morley and friends.

It was a great crowd great venue with about 90 with late arrivals .

some of the topics at the Question and Answer session was full on.

What gloves ,how many pairs?

Helicopter debate and that lead to a discussion on the way forward.

Running on the hills, what to take and the safety points .

How do we get the Safety message across to those that need it.

Mentoring on the hill – training Courses it was full on.

Avalanche awareness and Cornices .

Insurance, Access, hill tracks, notices on safety on the hill ? phones maps. compasses. Hill routes for winter be adaptable due to weather etc. I mile in deep snow can be hard going plan accordingly.

It was pretty hard going and then feeling exhausted the coughing started it was 2200 and time to head to Prestwick to stay with my other sister Eleanor.

The packing up takes time but we had help and then it was head off a great venue and crowd.

I was home just after 2230 and pretty tired. It was pouring againbut another interesting day.

This time my sister Eleanor was looking after me we had a catch up and then tiredness crept in.

Todays talk – Lanark

Wednesday – The Mountain Aid Talk the

Venue is the Clydesdale Inn/Hotel

15 Bloomgate, Lanark ML11 9ET

It starts at 2000 all welcome.

Today’s tip.

Winter Planning – take into account the weather the daylight available for your winter day and plan accordingly.

The hills will always be there the secret is to be there with them.

Posted in Articles, Charity, Family, Friends, Gear, Health, Hill running and huge days!, Himalayas/ Everest, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, People, Recomended books and Guides, SAR, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment

Mountain Aid – Step into Winter talks today Irvine Harbour Arts Centre at 0730.

last night was a long drive to Dunfermline in the rain the hills were covered in mist as I stopped on the A9. I was down for a chat last night to a packed audience of lovers of the outdoors. I was well looked after by the two host clubs and the Sponsor “Mountain Aid. ” Also in the audience were members of the Ochils Mountain Rescue Team. I had a meal before hand with Kev Mitchell of This Ochills Mountain Rescue Team.

And his family.

Step up to Winter

As we approach the winter season, Mountain Aid, will once again be offering a series of FREE illustrated winter mountain safety talks. Taking place at venues across Scotland

“Thank you to everyone who came along to our Dunfermline talk tonight, must have been about 80 people there.” It was then a question and answer after a break then a wet drive to Ayr for midnight a long day.

Tonight’s lecture Tuesday is in Irvine at the Harbour Arts Centre at 1930. Hosted by Air na Creaggan Mountaieering Club

Wednesday 14th November,8pm

Clydesdale Hotel, Bloomgate, Lanark

Hosted by Upperward Mountaineering Club

Thursday 15th November, 7.30pm

Methodist Church, West Marketgait, Dundee

Hosted by Ancrum Mountaineering Cub

Friday 16th November, 7.30pm

GP Hall, Hillhead Student Village, Don Street, Aberdeen

Hosted by Aberdeen Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Society.

It was a late night arriving in Ayr pouring wet a busy week ahead but an enjoyable night .

Today’s tip – if going out on the hills tell someone where you are going. If you have a problem at least the Police and Mountain and Rescue have a clue where to start the search. Also think of those at home who sit and worry about us.

Simple advice ? I wonder how many do this?

If you want to no more about Mountain Aid

Have a look at this link above .

Posted in Articles, Avalanche info, Book, Charity, Equipment, Gear, Lectures, Local area and events to see, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, People, Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment

Remembrance at Burghead Beach a unique dedication to those who gave so much.

Remembrance at Burghead Beach a unique dedication to those who gave so much.
— Read on

Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Remembrance at Burghead Beach a unique dedication to those who gave so much.

Remembrance at Burghead Beach a unique dedication to those who gave so much.
— Read on

Posted in Articles | Leave a comment

Remembrance at Burghead Beach a unique dedication to those who gave so much.

What a stunning morning yesterday and it started with the folk from my small village writing the names of 52 who died in the sand as daylight broke . I was out early and caught young Lachie a neighbour on the pipes as the light came up. It was an incredible experience .

I had asked if folks wanted to come and see the main event at Roseille beach a short walk from my house where many more would write the names of those who died in the sand and watch the tide come in.

This was all part of a special day.

The public is invited to assemble at one of a number of beaches at low-tide on November 11, for the event called Pages Of The Sea.

A large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War designed by sand artists will be washed away as the tide comes in. The public can also join in by “creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict”.

Boyle said that as a “small nation, surrounded by beaches,” the locations for the tributes were a “great stage”. Beaches are “unruly, democratic places”, he said, where “nobody rules other than the tide”.

Pages Of The Sea is described as an “informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War”.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited to write a new poem, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on the beaches.

It was an incredible morning and some pals came up . We had a wonderful walk along the beach and there were crowds of folk in our usually deserted miles of sand. It was so stunning the Moray Firth and the chat of so many not at a memorial all dressed up but out in open with kids about sharing a unique Remembrance. It was incredible that my wee village was part of it.

It was great to have so many friends with me this has been some two weeks for me. We headed back to my wee house for bacon rolls and coffee. The house was busy but great to see everyone.

There were lots of folks about children and families all learning and sharing a special time together.

I will never understand the futility of War but those young folk had no option. They gave so much for us.

This was a wonderful way for all the generations to acknowledge and remember from the past. It’s been some week returning from the USA for me but this made my day complete.

Lest We forget.

Posted in Articles, Enviroment, Family, Friends, History, Local area and events to see, People, Views Political?, Weather | 1 Comment

Lest We Forget – A few words on some of Scotland’s remoter Mountain RAF / USA aircraft crashes.

At 1100 today we remember those who paided the ultimate sacrifice on Remembrance Day. I do not go to these big public parades like many veterans do but always every year try to visit at least one of the remote crash sites in Scotland where so many lost their lives in plane crashes during the war and afterwards whilst serving in the RAF.

This year I have visited the Lancaster Crash site on Beinn Eighe in Torridon where I took a relative of one of the crew  over 60 years after the crash and to the Assynt Crash below Ben More Assynt. I also took Joss Gosling family who was a team member of the Rescue Team in 1951. Joss is now 90 and it was a huge privilege to take the family.

These sites are not easy to reach many are very remote to visit and few get therev so I feel it is good to get away from the crowds and remember those who gave so much.

All these years later relatives still have these sad tales in their family history and I will continue to visit these wild places as long as I am fit enough.

The family from Australia who want to visit the Crash site st Ben Alder and will come back. I hope I am fit enough to give them their wish.

Every year up comes another relative another story this year it was a family from Australia from the Ben Alder Wellington crash.

Joss Gosling one of the team in the Kinloss Team in 1951.

Wreckage on Beinn Eighe. This photo is of Joss Gosling one of the team who recovered the casualties in 1951.

I also have a thought at this for those who recovered the casualties from these tragedy’s many were the local people and ghillies and of course the recently formed RAF Mountain Rescue Teams in these early days.

What a task they had and those few who are still alive will never forget what they had to do in these dark days.

So if you ever pass one of these sites please be respectful these are the places where many young men died on a wild hill side few who crashed in the mountains survived and many sadly died.

These are incredible poignant places in the wild places of Scotland and I wonder what those who gave their lives for us would make of the World today?

Lest We Forget.

If you google on my website you will find some of the in depth tales of these remote crashes and the journeys to them by myself friends and relatives.

On a recent visit to the An Lurg Wellington Crash near Bynack Mor in the Cairngorms on the 14 August 1944.

This aircraft was a Vickers Wellington HF16/A of 20 OTU it took off from RAF Lossiemouth on a cross – country training Exercise and crashed on the plateau on An Lurg near Bynock Mor in the Cairngorms. All the crew of 6 were killed on the 70 th anniversary I visited the site land wrote a piece in this blog.

It was read by the grandson of the pilot who was killed in the crash and his father who is now 70 and was born 6 weeks after his  father died. He had just visited his fathers grave  P/O Philip Lionel Bennett Paterson (23), Pilot, RAFVR. (Buried Elgin New Cemetery, Morayshire.) He had never been to the crash site and a year later we visited this remote place and what a visit it was. One of the most emotional days on the mountains but so rewarding.

When people ask me why I visit these places these  are some of the reasons why!

Photo below – at the Anson Crash site with a relative for a wonderful programme for Rememberance Sunday up near Ben More Assynt – poignant days .

The Assynt crash is a huge story and worth looking through my Blog for the tale the aircraft was missing for over 6 weeks and was found by a local keeper. In these dark days of war after being killed the worst thing a family could have to be reported missing and never found.The crew were all buried were they crashed and this was fairly unique at the time. Over the years the grave was getting battered by the weather as it over 2000 feet in the mountains  and it took two years to get things sorted out. The war Graves Commission were a great help and in the end it was a great project to be involved in.

assynt-crash-helicopter Chinook  and old cairn and cross getting removed a huge effort.

The new memorial on scene at the aptly named Aeroplane flats.

Avro Anson  N9857  from 19 OTU RAF Kinloss Map reference

NC 29463  23129. – The RAF Mountain Rescue Service was formed during the war to rescue downed aircrew in the mountains. As the Kinloss Team trains throughout Scotland at times we come across old crash sites from this period. Regularly the team was train near Ullapool and visited the crash site the story of this aircraft and its crew it is a reminder to those who gave so much. The crash site is a moving place at over 2000 feet high on Imir Fada near Ben More Assynt it is in a remote area about 5 miles from the nearest road.

On the 13th April 1941 an Anson aircraft from RAF Kinloss on a cross country training flight crashed near Ben More in the North West Highlands at Inchnadampth above Ullapool. The aircraft had taken off from Kinloss in less than ideal weather to follow a route via Oban, Stornaway and Cape Wrath before returning to Kinloss. The aircraft had completed the first two legs of its flight and reported passing Stornaway in icing conditions around this time the aircrafts port engine lost power and failed. Sometime after this having either flown onto Cape Wrath or turning for base near Stornaway the aircraft flew into high ground in near white out conditions to the North East of Inchnadamph.  The aircraft was reported overdue at Kinloss and an air search was initiated but this failed to locate the missing aircraft, it wasn’t until the 25th May that the aircraft was located by a shepherd. All six of the crew were killed. The crash site is the only site in Scotland where the crew are buried at the crash site. This crash happened in the days before a proper mountain rescue service existed. It became policy thereafter to recover bodies no matter how difficult or unpleasant this might be. It should be noted that at the time of the crash it is said that 3 local shepherds’ died in the wild weather. When the wreck was discovered it was thought that the crew may have survived the crash but died shortly after of exposure and their injuries. One crew member had attempted to walk for help but was walking east away from civilisation and had died of hypothermia.  The aircraft was found by a local shepherd on the 25 Th May 1941, nearly 6 weeks after the aircraft went missing! The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has placed a memorial to the crew beside the gateway to the local church at Inchnadamph. The inscription reads;

“Here are commemorated the crew of an aircraft crash on Ben More Assynt on the 13 Th. of April 1941, whose bodies rest where they fell”

Flying Officer JH Steyn DFC.  Pilot

Pilot Officer WE Drew.             Observer/ Instructor

Sergeant J Emery.                      Wireless operator gunner

Flight Sergeant T R Kenny.       Wireless Operator

Sergeant CM Mitchell.              Observer Pupil

Sergeant HA Tompsett. .           Wireless operator gunner.

The new memorial at the ceremony on the hill a huge effort by all thanks.

Cairngorm wrecks,

On January 10th 1945 at 1045 hrs, Oxford PH404 took off from RAF Tain on the North East coast of Scotland bound for RAF Hornchurch near London. The weather in Tain at that time was reported to have been good with blue sky, no clouds and no wind. However, the met forecast was apparently for adverse weather. Onboard the aircraft were five airmen from 311 (Czech) Squadron which was based at Tain, four Pilots and a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.

Squadron Leader Karel Kvapil – Pilot
Flying Officer Leo Linhart – Pilot
Flying Officer Jan Vella – Pilot
Flying Officer Valter Kauders – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Warrant Officer Rudolph Jelen – Pilot

The flight was not an operational one. It is believed that F/O Jan Vella was travelling to London to receive his DFC award, F/O Linhart, S/Ldr Kvapil and F/O Kauders are believed to have been taking some leave, and W/O Jelen was detailed to return the aircraft from RAF Hornchurch to RAF Tain.

The aircraft failed to arrive at RAF Hornchurch, and no record could be found of it having landed at any other airbase. It was believed that Oxford PH404 must have crashed in the sea since no trace of any wreckage had been reported.

It was not until August 19th 1945, that the fate of Oxford PH404 and her crew was finally known when the wreckage was discovered by two hill walkers.


There are several crashes in the Cairngorms and if you look about you will see them, this is overlooking the Larig Gru.

Looking towards the Larig Gru

I have written on this blog about many of the mountain crashes in the hills have a look and think of the secrets these hills share ?

Ben MacDui crash Anson

Few notice just of the summit of Ben MacDui is a memorial to an Anson that crashed there killing all the crew.

More recently in the 80’s an USA F111 crashed on the Isle of Skye in early December at night.

It was an epic night I was the young Leader of 6 that located the tragedy. This was one of the hardest call outs of my life.

Sadly both crew were killed and we bivouacked at the crash site high on the mountain in a wild night. I was there for a week afterwards with the USA investigation.

Later on 1994 I was in the fast party that located the 29 fatalities of a Chinnok helicopter

that crashed on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. It was a awful incident and the aircraft was on fire when we arrived by helicopter . Sadly this was another tragic event that we must never forget.

So why do I visit these wild lonely places it is to pay tribute to those who gave so much.

I will continue to do so as long as the body holds up. These places mean so much to me.

There are many sites for information on these sites.

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Articles, Local area and events to see, Mountain rescue | 3 Comments