Oakwood Quarry near Elgin – an old haunt first visit for 35 years. A plane Crash and lots of bits of old aircraft!

It was a busy day  and  Dan back from working abroad popped in and we had a coffee in the bothy and then I managed to get out for a walk yesterday first time for a while along to my local cliff  at Cummingston. It was great to be out again and though I was very slow to feel the cold wind on the face was magic. My mate John Cosgrove came across and had  a run before he met me on beach at Roseille and after a coffee in the Bothy. It was blowing a bit near the harbour but at Cummingston it was mild and out of the wind. There was a big group of about 20 mainly young people enjoying their day and we went down to watch them. We had a wander back and John wanted some lunch so were back at the bothy (the local cafe) again.

On the walk at Cummingston.

On the walk at Cummingston. Grand to be out in the fresh air.

I had to tax the car and had a snag on line so after lunch we wandered into Elgin. On the way back I mentioned to John had he climbed at the old Oakwood Quarry on the outside of Elgin?  In the early 70’s we used it with the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team. I remember a few visits with the late John Hinde and a few others but I cannot remember why we stopped using it.  John Hinde I think had a hand drawn map and we did classic abseils here, scared me to death at the time! John Cosgrove had climbed there  as well and we parked the car and had a wander. We soon found the old quarry and the cliffs are very overgrown now. I cannot remember why we stopped using it? Instead we used the local Cummingston Cliffs and Duntelchaig near Inverness or Huntly’s Cave near Grantown On Spey, fun days.

Oakwood Quarry near Elgin.

Oakwood Quarry near Elgin. Last visit over 30 years ago.

I wonder if anyone has any photos climbing on this crag, it looked pretty overgrown now but I may go back for a proper look.  The area now has a really good bike trail in the forest and looks pretty wild mountain biking in places with a set trail.

Got this feedback any ,ore would be great?

Rab Russell – “Heavy, I was taken to the ‘hidden’ quarry behind the Oakwood building(sounds dodgy I know) near Elgin during the winter course in early 1976 or 77? (Geordie Smith – Leeming was on it too). Can’t recall my instructor (Valley or Stafford?) and he took me pitoning up a crack twice that day. A new experience for me! I went back there about 8 yrs ago dog -walking and was amazed at how quick nature has overgrown the area. This was after a gap of nearly 30 yrs. My son was with me and impressed his auld RAF dad did silly things back then!”

Bill Rose “That I am sure is where I did rock climbing with moray sea school on outward bound. No harness just a sling and some hemp rope to make a waist belt. Remember the rope burns on the back of the jacket 1969″

Dave Mitchell ” I recall smooth sandstone, fossils & an a/c crash site?”

Andy Nisbet ” I don’t think I ever had any details but I went to the quarry around 1990 when writing the area for the older edition of NE Outcrops. It was pretty overgrown then. I’m afraid I didn’t even go there for the current edition and didn’t mention it. Primrose Bay, however, gets more than a mention but without route descriptions, and looks like it still gets used occasionally for instruction.”

Quarrelwood commands a hilltop position overlooking Elgin, the Moray Firth and the surrounding countryside.

For a woodland walk near to Elgin, Quarrelwood offers the ideal choice. Take a leisurely stroll through oakwood, pines and larch, or a gentle climb to viewpoints overlooking the Moray Countryside. Explore quietly and you may well see roe deer, red squirrels and a wide variety of woodland birds.

Throughout the wood you will discover old quarries whose sandstone you can recognise in many local buildings. Cutties Hillock quarry hides the secrets of the rare reptile fossils of Elginia and Gordonia that roamed the desert landscape here, well before the age of dinosaurs. The waymarked trails guide you through time to these fascinating sites, and to henge monuments ancient and modern. For those looking for a challenge there is also an orienteering course laid out in the wood. (Maps are available from Moray Forest District Office and Elgin Tourist Information Centre).

The woods are managed through the Quarrelwood Woodland Park Association in co-operation with the Forestry Commission and Moray Council.

Groups welcome, viewpoint and orienteering. – See more at: http://www.visitscotland.com/info/tours-guides/forestry-commission-moray-quarrelwood-walks-p263621#sthash.sy8dLS4Q.dpuf

Oakwood Quarry –

[The following details are based on information kindly provided by Alan Leishman and Steven Spink.] 

Vickers Wellington IC T2966-C of 20 OTU was on a training exercise. However, the aircraft crashed into trees on overshoot after the port engine failed. The crash occurred at Oakwood [nearby old  motel], Quarry Wood, situated to the W of Elgin.

One  crew member lost his life in the incident involving Wellington IC T2966-C. Four survived with injuries. The airman who died was:

Sgt John Frederick Heyman (26), Pilot, RAFVR.

(Sgt Heyman was buried at Ashford (Bybrook) Cemetery, Kent.)


(Please click on the hyperlinked name above for further details at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website.)

The airmen who survived with injuries were:

Sgt (Obs.) William Dunlop Cram Crawford, RAF.

Sgt (Obs.) Stanley Edward Monger-Godfrey (22), RAFVR

Flt /Sgt Beverly Dwight Crane (21), RCAF.

Sgt N Wood RCAF

Sadly, the first three of the above named airmen died in another Wellington crash a few weeks later at More Head near MacDuff in northern Scotland.

This is from a local Blog “When I was a youngster in the late 1960s, the late owner of my local model shop told me about a quarry in Elgin’s Quarry wood which was full of dumped WW2 aircraft scrap, and of a deep sandstone shaft which was filled with turrets. He and his friends would play in the turrets just after the war, and climb down through them to reach the bottom of the shaft. Moray Council got to hear about it, and promptly filled the shaft in to make sure nobody killed themselves.
Sure enough, I went along and found the quarry, which yielded mainly Lancaster parts – intact perspex windows with camo paint on, smashed instrument panels, lots of brake shoes, mesh oxygen bottle holders, stainless turret ammo tracking, and various equipment plastic labels for machine guns and fuel tank capacities.
The sides of the quarry are still littered with smashed aircraft batteries, turret oil tanks, and hundreds of Bakelite switches, starter buttons, connectors, etc. In comparison to the sad condition of the parts made from steel or alloy, Bakelite and perspex parts are almost mint. Here are some surface parts found recently – a Beaufighter’s cockpit opening window, fuel tank gauges, a Bakelite lever grip, and Hercules VI and XI engine plates.”



About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Mountain rescue, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Oakwood Quarry near Elgin – an old haunt first visit for 35 years. A plane Crash and lots of bits of old aircraft!

  1. fionawild says:

    Hi Heavy
    I haven’t come across the map mentioned but do remember going there with Dad when I was very young. Do you have a map reference, or directions to find it? I’d like to explore but it’s a big wood!
    Fiona x

    Liked by 1 person

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