Ben Macdui and the Anson Crash

Today I am off to the Cairngorms and hoping to enjoy the fine weather forecast. I hope to visit the Avro Anson Crash very near the summit of Ben Macdui which has a memorial to the crew who all died in the crash. The site overlooks the Larig Gru and is an incredible viewpoint for the might  Corries of Braeraich and Angels Peak. Nearby lie bits and pieces of the crash including the two Cheetah engines and other debris in the river below the site. It is a reminder of what these young men sacrificed all these years ago. In 2001 about one kilometre away two American aircraft modern F15’s crashed nearby, flying still takes it toll as the recent Tornado crash reminds us of the dangers involved. All that technology and training yet accidents still happen.

Map of the crash on Ben Macdui.

The Avro Anson was a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft  that served with the RAF and Fleet Air Arm and numerous other air forces prior to, during, and after the Second World War. Named after British Admiral George Anson it was originally designed for maritime reconnaissance but was soon rendered obsolete in that role. However, it was rescued from obscurity by its suitability as a multi-engine air crew trainer, becoming the mainstay of the Air Training Plan. During the war many crashed in training and the mountains of Scotland are where many crews trained and ultimately lost their lives. One must remember this was in a time of war, the aircraft and crews training and equipment was basic and flying in big mountain in bad weather is never easy. It is amazing how many other aircraft are nearby on the hills. There is a Vickers Wellington on Ben Rinnes, the Wellington crash on An Lurg near Bynock More, an Oxford on Braeraich . There and several others in the Cairngorms from the Second world war. Nowadays all aircraft are removed but during the war it was a different era and manpower was short. The Anson was on Ben Macdui was not located for two days and a lot of the wreckage remains on scene. It is such a busy mountain yet few visit the memorial to those young men who gave their lives . There are two more on Beinn a’ Bhuird the first site was of an Airspeed Oxford that crashed in January 1945 , amongst the granite tors of Stob an t-Sluichd. Some large parts of the aircraft remain at the site, including the two engines . A memorial plaque to the aircrew who were killed in the crash was affixed to a boulder near the site in 2005. The second wreck site was just off the plateau, about 1km south of the South Top of Beinn a’Bhuird on a ridge called Bruach Mhor, where a Vickers Wellington crashed in October 1940.  These hills all have several tales to tell!

The Anson Aircraft

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
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2 Responses to Ben Macdui and the Anson Crash

  1. Geraint Llewelyn says:

    Hi ,
    I am Geraint Llewelyn have just come back from Ben Macdui with my brother Gareth Llewelyn and cousin Steve Llewelyn, John Llewelyn was our Uncle. He had served a tour a a pilot with 88 Bomber squadron flying Douglas Boston fighter bombers. It is a stunning area and glad we visited to see the cairn and crash site.


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