Beinn Eighe – the Lancaster Crash – The magnificent Triple Buttress revisited by Geoff a relative of the crew.


Over 64 years ago in March 1951 a Lancaster Bomber crashed high on the Torridonean giant Beinn Eighe.

All of the crew were killed and it took till late September to recover all the crew. This was due to the extreme weather , wildness of this mountain in winter and the lack of training and equipment of the RAF Rescue Team. Lots has been written about this but they did their best and they had a grim task.

1951 The RAF Kinloss Team at the crash site on the incident. Look at the gear they had? How can you criticise these people who tried their best?

1951 The RAF Kinloss Team at the crash site on the incident. Look at the gear they had? How can you criticise these people who tried their best?

It was an incident that changed Mountain Rescue forever. Huge improvements were made in equipment and training after this sad episode. I have told the tale of this tale many times on this Blog in the past.

Yesterday I had the privileged of taking a relative up to the crash site Geoff whose uncle was killed in the crash in 1951 and this is his 3 visit to this amazing place.

Geoff has travelled from the Deep South to visit and what a day we had. The crash site is just below the huge Triple Buttress of the Coire and there is a small memorial there on the propeller.


The magnificent Triple Buttress .

It is a fair walk in 3 hours from the road and the weather held! The journey into the Coire was full of wild flowers orchids , violets and many others. It is a steady walk gaining height and passing through past Liathach and its wild corries on a wonderful path that takes you past huge boulders and cliffs.

Today it was a walk to savour the sun was out and the midges gone and the views got better. As we gained height round the back of Beinn Eighe the incredible vastness of the area is there to view. A myriad of lochans and huge peaks dominate all great memories of past adventures past rocks that are millions of years old and it is scene to drink in – and savour.

From here it is a steep pull past massive cliffs and a waterfall takes the eye as it splashes down from the lip of the Corrie. Then to me the finest view of the great cliffs and the loch set a scene that always humbles me.

We sat by the loch and had lunch Anne and Mark who had come with us were spellbound by the beauty and wildness of this Cathedral of cliffs!

Today the loch had a mirror image of the cliffs and as we wandered round the Loch the mist started to come in. It was like nature had lifted a curtain and made it if possible a more atmospheric  place to be.  We reached the end of the loch that was crustal clear and you can see wreckage in the loch brought down bu winter avalanches and nature.
You can see the wreckage in the screes over 60 years have past yet it is still there. It is ravaged by weather and time but we came across an engine a huge tyre and lots of twisted wreckage all around.

The huge Tyre still there after many years.

The huge Tyre still there after many years. Thanks to Geoff, Anne and Mark for a great day

How do you describe this place its thousand feet cliffs in a swirling mist and a bit of rain add this to the poignancy . As always words fail me to express this place but we had time to fell the presence of the tragedy and Geoff paid his respects to an Uncle he never met and the crew who died here. It despite the sadness a place of huge wildness of soaring rock and scree and with the loch as a backdrop it is incredible.

We had some quiet time at the memorial on a battered propeller and then a wander around it is always different and you find so many different pieces of aircraft! High up in the gully there is more but not for today!

2016 Rounad June

It was now raining as we left finding a wing with the RAF Roundal still there and the Yellow training paint on the wing looking so natural in amongst the scree and rocks.

It rained heavy as we walked back along the rock, I always stop in several places and just drink in the view each one of us in their own thoughts. The chatter was gone for a while and soon we were on the descent a last look at the Corrie some food and the long walk back!

We had rain, sun and a few midges on the way back more incredible views and then we were back at the car. The last 10 minutes we got soaked  but it did not matter!
What a day it had been Geoff had a great day and though hard at times  physically and emotionally it was worth the long journey .

2016 The Memorial on Beinn Eighe

2016 The Memorial on Beinn Eighe

We all met a few pals in the great cafe The Whistle Stop in Kinlochewe meeting up with Ryan one of the local Torridon and Kinlochewe Mountain Rescue Team, his Dad and wife Susan old pals and Kallie. It was a great night and I stayed over at Susan’s B&B Duart in the village Kinlochewe and was treated royally.

Details – Duart Bed and Breakfast – Kinlochewe Achnasheen, Ross-shire

Situated in Kinlochewe next to Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve. Duart is an ideal location to explore the West Highlands. Ideal location for landscape and wildlife photography.

Small bed and breakfast in Kinlochewe offering local knowledge of the area for climbing, walking and natural history. We have one double ensuite bedroom and a private guest lounge with wood burning fire. Hill walking, climbing, cycling and other outdoor pursuits to enjoy – or just relax and take in the magnificent scenery. Ideal location for photographers and we can offer camera stalking of the local wildlife, boat trips on Loch Maree discovering the natural history of the area http://www.eoghainmacleanphotography.co.uk

What an incredible day in these magnificent mountains that hold so many memories for me. This walk into the Corrie is one of the finest in Scotland. We only me three people on the way in. We never rushed and just tried to take in the magnificence of this wild area and its stunning scenery that cleanses the soul. What a day Beinn Eighe and the Coire that keeps on giving.

I have plenty of photos to add and will update when I get home later today.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist
Image | This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Enviroment, Friends, Local area and events to see, Mountain rescue, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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