MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015
DAY 42 ( 11th JUNE )
BACK TO CIVILISATION
The Devils Point – Munro 130 – 1004 metres “The Demon’s penis”
Cairn Toul – Munro 4 – 1291 metres –“ Peak of the Barn”
Sgurr an Lochan Uaine – Munro 5 – 1258 metres “ Peak of the little green loch”
Braeriach – Munro 3 1296 – “The brindled upland “
Just noticed Munros 3, 4 and 5 !
Arrived at corrour bothy about 4.30 pm to find Dave had just got there 15 mins before me , there was 2 sleeping bags set out so we had company for the night . Over the next 3 hrs several others arrived luckily they all had tents ,while chatting to the other couple that were there 3 men arrived needing a roof over there heads for the night , a bit of space rearranging and in they came, it was a bit crowded but not to bad. Heads down at 10 and within 15 minutes one of these lads started snoring ,it was like listening to a chainsaw in a cathedral and went on most of the night needless to say not much sleep was had , Dave got up at 4am and left. I was up at 6.45 and on my way at 7 ,up the path following the stream in the corrie which still had a steep snow band at the top to cross but it already had steps cut into it . Left my pack at the col and a quick out and back to The Devils Point which is dwarfed amongst the other giants all around. Picked up my bag and up steep rocky slopes to the 1213 top of Cairn Toul then continued onto the summit it’s self , there’s still a lot of cornices up here.
Down more rocks and up even more rocks onto Sgurr an Lochain Uaine , there was a light wind today and this early felt a bit chilly . The view over to Braeriach and the Lochan below were superb but it’s a long way round following the corrie edge, got there about a hour and a quarter later and met a couple who took our summit photo.
It was now a long walk back to the sugar bowl car park where Shona was picking me up between 1 and 2pm . There’s several new bits of paths since the last time I was here and helped a great deal , crossed the Larig Ghru up towards the Chalamain gap which also has a brand new path all the way to where the big rocks start, through the gap and another good path all the way back to the car park at 1.30 where Shona was waiting with a picnic for lunch . I was so glad to get excellent weather for these big hills and it was a pleasure to out the last 3 days.
What a great few days and wonderful to have Shona there to meet them at the end of a superb few days. They were blessed by great weather seeing these peaks at there best. This is a huge plateau that surrounded by the massive Corries and everlasting snow. It can be a a wild place in bad weather and at least they had no problems during this good weather.
For many years I have walked the Cairngorms usually in a rush chasing hills’ or climbs and always thought that there was only one aircraft crash on Braeriach. After a bit of memory lapse I sorted it out .There are two: 10/01/1945 Oxford HM 724 and the Blenheim ZY356 22/3/1945 – air Crashes on Braeriach Cairngorms. Here is some information on these tragic sites; amazingly on one crash all the crew walked away incredible high on a Scottish mountain in winter.
There is a good account of other crashes in the Cairngorms and bits and pieces are found in a book The Cairngorms A Secret History – Patrick Baker
The Blenheim appears to have struck the ground flying roughly west to east and its forward momentum carried much of the wreckage over the edge and in to the Lairig Ghru. Both engines were never recovered and while only one is close to the crash site the other continued on its way after the crash and is to be seen much lower down the mountain. This is pretty steep ground and there is a lot of wreckage.
Air Crash Sites Scotland
On 22nd March 1945 this aircraft flew into the side of Braeriach while on a transit flight from Digby in Lincolnshire to it’s home base at Longman airfield near Inverness. 526 Squadron was involved in the calibration of equipment throughout the war. This aircraft broke up on impact and the six men on board were sadly killed. Ordered and funded initially by Lord Rothermere, the civilian Bristol Type 142 was designed to meet this tycoon’s requirements for a private ‘executive’ aircraft. However, it proved so successful in trials that the Air Ministry requested the use of this aircraft for further evaluation.
Lord Rothermere donated his aircraft (named, ‘Britain First’) to the nation, whereupon the RAF immediately began extensive trials with this type. Ultimately, Lord Rothermere’s Type 142 was to become the Bristol Type 142M (Military) and designated the ‘Blenheim.’
The Bristol Type 142 had first flown in 1935. The Type 142M (‘M’ for ‘Military’ version) entered service with the RAF in 1937.By the time war broke out, most of the Mk I Blenheim’s had been replaced by Mk IV variants (and later the Mk V). The Mks IV and V were essentially the same airframe, but equipped with two Bristol Mercury XV radial engines (or later in the Mk V). The Mk IV also had an extended nose and some other modifications. The bomber was equipped with one 7.7mm / 0.303in Browning machine gun (port wing), and one 7.7mm / 0.303in Vickers machine gun (dorsal turret). It had an internal bomb capacity of 454kg / 1,000lb.
Unfortunately, the Blenheim was no match for the fast Luftwaffe fighters. Despite heroic attempts by the RAF to help avert shipping losses in the North Sea, many of these Blenheim bombers were lost in combat. Ultimately, the Mk IV Blenheims were replaced by Douglas Bostons and De Havilland Mosquitoes.
Pilot – WO Charles Henry Fletcher RAFVR (1375522), aged 30, of Bridlington, Yorkshire. Buried Moor Allerton Churchyard, Yorkshire.
Navigator – F/O John Eric Shaw RAFVR (149328), aged 27, of Darlington. Buried Darlington West Cemetery, Durham.
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner – F/O Stanley Charles Gale RAFVR (176940), aged 28, of Brighton. Buried Hove New Cemetery, Sussex.
Passenger – Cpl John Michie RAFVR (997051), aged 29, of Bucksburn. Buried Kemnay Churchyard, Aberdeenshire.
Passenger – LAC Angus McIntosh Fulton RAFVR (982742), aged 27, of Paisley. Buried Hawkhead Cemetery, Paisley, Renfrewshire.
Passenger – LAC Adam Veitch Bryce RAFVR (1069192), aged 36, of Gordon. Buried Gordon Cemetery, Berwickshire.
Sadly all on board perished in this accident.
OS 36 – 965000 – Oxford. HM724 had crashed on virtually the same point some months previously with a happier outcome for its crew who remarkably survived Wreckage scattered down burn below Braeriach in Lairig Ghru..
Airspeed Oxford serial no. PH404, 311Sqn, crashed January 10, 1945, en route “somewhere in England” to Tain. During the morning of 12th October 1943 the crew of this aircraft were undertaking a cross country training flight, on board was an instructor with three pupil pilots. During the first part of the flight after taking off from Dalcross near Inverness they were to cross the Cairngorm Mountains and were beginning to climb to clear the cloud-covered mountains. Soon after the instructor ordered the pupil pilot to climb the aircraft the aircraft became caught in a strong down-draught. The aircraft began to lose height and the instructor took control of the aircraft but despite applying full power to the engines he was unable to prevent the aircraft from entering cloud and hitting the side of Braeriach having almost reached a stalled state of flying because of the wind. The four men in the aircraft were very lucky and all survived the crash which occurred on a reasonably flat part of the mountain at around 1150 metres above sea level. It is to be noted that Braeriach rises to 1296 metres high and is the third highest mountain in Great Britain, given we now know more about air accidents across the UK than these airmen probably did at the time they were probably unaware of just how lucky they were as almost all air accidents in these high mountains resulted in many fatalities.
They were so lucky!