1983 memeories of the Cessna Crash at Balbeggie. No snow on the drive home and then a fun night with Lochaber MRT legend.

I had a slow drive back and returned by Glenshee and Braemar, there was no snow and the hills were bare. I stopped at Braemar Mountain Sports and bought some Christmas presents.


  • The Ultimate kit bag essential for all outdoor activities! – Running, Cycling, Dog Walking, Skiing, Fitness, Fishing, Motorbikes, Golf, Sailing, Snowboarding
  • Seamless 100% Microfibre – Hypoallergenic, No fade or lose elasticity, no itching or chafing : Designed with seamless edges (no stitching), so they can be worn under your ski/cycle helmet without causing chafing.
  • Protection from the wind,snow,sun – Stay Dry with this wicking fabric – Year round accessory : All of our scarves are made of high quality specialist technical Microfibre, which means even though they are thin they keep you warm and wick moisture in the summer – A technical baselayer for your head and neck!
  • Neck warmer, snood, head band, ski scarf, face mask, bandana, beanie hat
  • One size fits all – Men, Women, Children and medium sized dogs!

A couple of buffs for the girls a frozen one and another top that I needed, I feel it is important to support the local shops in mountain areas? I was soon back home a three hour drive with a stop for a new power lead for my laptop.


Balbegie crash one of the few where we located 4 survivors a big call – out after an all night search with 202 Sqn RAF Leuchars,  SARDA, Tayside, RAF Kinloss and RAF Leuchars MRT. Few know the story of this incident does anyone have any information as what I have is pretty scant yet I was there and it was tragic but we recovered 4 badly injured casualties.

I always thought it was a Swiss Curling Team involved and have a bit of information on the incident. It would be good to find out a bit more on the incident? We found I am sure the pilot a bit of a distance from the aircraft near a fence and it was a big learning curve for me. Al Haveron was there and was a big influence on the casualty handling as Triage was is in its infancy! Any help would be great.

RAF Kinloss 11-12/11/83 Balbegie

Nr Dundee

Missing Cessna aircraft.  4 found alive with major injuries.  2 Fatal. SARDA, Tayside, RAF Kinloss/ Leuchars.

RAF Kinloss were directed by the NRCC assist in the search for an overdue Cessna aircraft. Kinloss MRT left their training base at Tyndrum at 2150z and arrived at Balbeggie  at 2300 hours. A night search ensued in very heavy hill fog till 0450z on Sat morning. All hill parties were withdrawn for a first light search. ( a short break for food)

A first light search ensued with Tayside MRT, SARDA ,RAF MRT and 22 Sqn RAF Leuchars. The crash site was located by a SARDA dog handler at 0810z at Grid Ref Map 53 211301. Kinloss MRT and others administered first aid and Rescue 34 – Leuchars Helicopter evacuated the 2 fatalities and the 4 seriously injured casualties to  Dundee Ninewells Hospital.  This is all I have found on the incident plus the AIB report which says little.

It was a massive learning point for me, dealing with multi casualties, ensuring all were located we found one survivor a distance away from the crash and how even a low rural hilly area can be so hard to search in poor weather. Control of the searchers as the arrived to help was tricky and valuable lessons were learned. It is amazing that I had nearly forgotten this tragic incident yet we saved 4 lives and so many lessons were learned for my future involvement in Mountain Rescue. Anyone who was there would be great if you got in touch ?

I was thinking on the way back of my great pal Al Macleod whose Mum I had visited in Rattery. Al was killed many years ago on the Matterhorn and these hills I drove past were where he lived and worked as a young keeper. He was superbly fit and loved the mountains and when he joined the RAF Mountain Rescue he was in his element.  How bright a man he was and I have met few with his talent and determination and Al was taken far to soon.  I helped organise the funeral all these years ago one of my first and it was then that the Mountain Rescue Family became apparent. The love and care of the family from everyone was never to be forgotten and Al’s family will never forget the support and care.  It was a job I had to carry out on sadly on several occasions.

Big Al MacLeod on Hells Lum Crag photo Bill Batson.

Big Al MacLeod on Hells Lum Crag photo Bill Batson.

Later when I got back I went out with Dan Carrol and Al Swadel to meet a great pal Donald Watt a past Team Leader Of Lochaber MRT. Donald and his wife Norah are in the village for a wee break and it was a big birthday for Donald. We had a great night spraffing about past rescues and listening to Donald’s stories. Norah has a few as well and in the early day in the 60’s when no one had a car or a phone the Police would pick the team up for call -outs. Donald and Norah were then a young married couple and had just moved to the area. The neighbours  for ages thought Donald was always in trouble as the Police car was always at the house and taking him away! These are wonderful stories of the early days and the great characters of Lochaber MRT and how the wifes would race around and get the other team members.    Hardly anyone had phones in these days or cars and the call out system was simple. Norah was always saying that she would not sleep till they were off the hill, what amazing people they are and the effect on the families is something few realise these days. There are so many tales of Lochaber and of the incredible Mountain Rescue story it was great to hear them from a man like Donald and his incredible wife Norah.




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 Friends, Mountain rescue, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.