BBC – Autumnwatch from just down the road at Aigas Field Centre

Autumnwatch’s will be based at the Aigas Field Centre, in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Just down the road from Inverness it is a beautiful place. It’s one of the finest areas in the country to experience autumn wildlife, and it will be right at the heart of the action. Nestled in a wooded glen and surrounded by dramatic mountains, Aigas is home to some of the UK’s most iconic animals, from highland specialists to familiar garden wildlife. In the forest, there are many types of animals. Birds of prey cruise over the moorland, while foxes and small mammals hunt in the undergrowth, and a loch is home to a family of beavers.  I will be looking forward to this programme as the Stags and deer are looking great just now. There’ll be 4 live shows on BBC 2 from Tuesday 30th October until Friday 2nd November, with Autumnwatch Unsprung on Friday.


This weekend is the Annual RAF Kinloss/ Leuchars Mountain Rescue Re Union at the Highlander Hotel in Newtonmore. This is a great event where many meet for a get together. The dinner is on in the Saturday at the Hotel and at 1700 myself and Joss Gosling and ex Team Member from the 1950’s will be doing a chat before the dinner at 1700. The chat is on Beinn Eighe and the Lancaster crash in March 1951. Joss was on the team at the time of this tragedy and has some unique photos of the crash and what exactly happened.

The Lancaster crash on Beinn Eighe in 1951 the RAF Kinloss Team with the wreckage. Photo Joss Gosling collection.

Joss was a very young man at the time and the crash had a huge effect on him all his life. He speaks of a different era and the Scottish Highlands were so far away for most. Travel was very difficult and places like Torridon were a long distance away on very poor roads. Few were on the mountains at this time and the RAF Teams were not equipped or trained for what they encountered. Beinn Eighe in summer or winter is an incredible mountain and must have been so intimidating for a young Joss and the team.  In the end they did there best in a very difficult time and it will be humbling to work with Joss on this wee chat on Saturday night. I will take the story forward from after the crash and the huge changes that occurred in Mountain Rescue after this incident. Up to the 60 th Anniversary in 2011 where we took 4 hours to walk in to the crash site in conditions identical to what occurred all those years ago. Joss was there at a wee meal we had after in the Kinlochewe Hotel after a hard day out and we had a great night with some incredible stories. The Torridon and Kinlochewe Mountain Rescue Team were with us on the day and there is now a great bond between them and Joss. Many of the locals helped with the casualty evacuation after the crash and the snow melted. Many of the crew were taken off the hill on the highland ponies which took several months to complete due to the conditions. It must never be forgotten the human loss of life after such an accident and that these were all people who died in a tragic accident on a huge Torridon Mountain.  Recently I took a nephew to the crash site he was born just after his Uncle the navigator Flt Lt Robert Strong was killed.

Grave of Flt Lt Robert  Strong who was killed in the Lancaster crash in 1951


He had just lost his mother who was the Flt Lt Strong’s mother and never knew the story of the crash and what happened all these years ago. He investigated and wanted to visit the site. It was a moving day as we reached the first of the wreckage for all of us even after all these years.

Lest we forget!

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.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, History, Lectures, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to BBC – Autumnwatch from just down the road at Aigas Field Centre

  1. Wish I could be there,sounds really interesting. Please pass on my best wishes to any troops I may know .Many thanks


  2. Wish the new series well as it is super to watch. Been to Inverness and all over the
    Scottish Highlands and have been lucky enough to see a Pine Marten near Inverness Airport! Seen red squirrels in Granton upon spey, all super memories.


  3. Alex Morrison says:

    Just got back to Aussie from UK. Had a message from Sunshine re the reunion but we had already booked and paid for our flights. Was at the 50th in Bangor, also Fort Bill, Carlisle and LLanberis. Please pass my best wishes to all and have a Laphroaig for me!!!



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