One of those special days on Beinn Eighe in Torridon.Watching Eagles soar.

Yesterday it was an early start for some filming for Channel 5 for a tv program on the Famous Lancaster aircraft. In March 1951 a Lancaster crashed in Beinn Eighe in Torridon just below the main ridge sadly killing all 8 crew. It took 3 months to recover all the crew such was the snow and ground the aircraft crashed on.

The RAF Kinloss Team In 1951 photo
Joss Gosling

The RAF Mountain Rescue Team who were poorly equipped and trained learned so much from this tragedy. I have written about this in this in my Blog on several occasions.

The crew Rowan Graham Ian and Andy

Involved in the aircraft recovery was a Young Joss Gosling a National Serviceman who took incredible photos of the incident, it showed the awful winter weather conditions and their basic gear. Joss became a lifelong friend and only recently passed away, he gave me a unique insight into what happened and the effect the trauma had on him and his teammates.

It’s a long walk in To the crash site about 3 and a half hours and Andy who was filming needed a hand with gear. I asked Torridon MRT to help and Graham and his son came along as Sherpas. The team got a donation from Channel 5.

Joss’s son Ian came along to tell his Dads tale so all we needed was good weather.

The Cathedral that is Corrie Mhic Fhericier

Andy had contacted me and we hatched a plan we got a weather window. It’s a long walk in and so we met at 0830 it was windy so no midges.

We did a bit of sorting out and filming in the car park and set off up the path. We stopped on route on a few places as I told the story and the then the wind dropped. It was wonderful walking great company and Andy doing the filming was at the top of his game.

Normally it’s hard work filming but he cracked it. Folk never realise how long things take but Andy was impressive.

I love this place these Torridon mountains mean so much to me and your view is always while walking of Liathach and it’s incredible cliffs.

You then walk round the back of Beinn Eighe into another world of lochans and Morain hillocks with views of the sea and Loch Maree.

To me this is God’s country my heart loves this place and today on a Bank holiday we met only three others. The space and wildness is exceptional to me this is as near to heaven as you get.

You round the hillside and see today the waterfall glistening in the sun meets you.

Andy had permission to use his drone and he brought it out and it was flown giving incredible footage of the area .

The sky was incredible and the light perfect shadows on the cliffs enhanced the features we sat and enjoyed this piece of heaven while he got about his filming. Then we saw a few feet below the great Buttress enjoying the grass not bothered that we were there.

From here it was a pull up to the Loch, Andy had never seen it before and this place is majestic.

It is a Cathedral of nature with the Loch it’s colours the Sky and the huge cliffs all enclosed in a mighty Corrie. The sun was wonderful warming and here we had lunch among the boulders by the loch. I could have stayed all day. This is a place in any weather of incredible beauty and in winter even getting here in deep snow is a journey.

We wandered round the loch and I showed Andy in the distance some wreckage. We did another interview then at the end of the loch headed up the hill.

One of the 4 Merlin Engines

Andy was amazed by the wreckage still left a tyre , engines and a wing. So much wreckage I had been here on many occasions but it always had a huge effect on me. 8 young men died here it is a solemn place to me and others. Further up there is a propellor where we renewed the plaque last year. It was done with the help of Joss’s family and Geoff a relative of one of the crew who died in the crash. The RAF Lossiemouth MRT put it on an made a great job of it.

It is made of slate and we put it up this year it was looking great and here we stopped and did some more interviewing and filming.

This is a fitting tribute to these young men .

After that Andy did some more filming and then we had a good break sitting in the sun. I doubt I have in my 50 years on the hills had such a great day.

Could it get better and then above us we saw two young eagles soaring in the thermals. We watched this in awe they were so graceful and in this amphitheatre it was a joy to behold.

I believe in good Karma and to me this was Joss my pal watching over us ensuring we told our story. It was so powerful and when you see wildlife in this habitat it’s so hard to explain the beauty of nature .

Andy Filming Ian.

We finished of the filming put the cameras away and Graham and Rowan who had been so good packed them away. There patience was so good and I cannot thank them enough.

We refilled our water bottles at the burn had a last look round and headed home.

We did not hang about on the path the weather was changing yet we still enjoyed the views but moving well down the path. The skies were darkening but the we saw the hills in a different light.

It’s was hard going and yet we made great progress back to car park for just after 1730 meeting a pal in the car park. He had a great day as well on the tops.

The local Stag in the car park

We sorted the gear and said our goodbyes. I think Andy got some great footage He seemed pleased and it was a great day.

The program should come out next year I will update when I hear. I then headed to see my pal Kalie her sister Wendy and a pal Sarah from America. Kalie lives near Applecross it was a busy drive as this road is on the NC 500 with camper vans and lots of motorbikes on the single track road. . I was treated to a great meal of salmon after a wonderful Hill day superb company and I laughed all night.

I stayed the night that was planned we sorted out the World and I head home today.

This was an incredible day thanks to Graham and Rowan from Torridon MRT . Ian Joss’s son and Andy who did all the hard work filming.

The stars to me where the Eagles who showed us what wildlife is about.

Also Kalie, Wendy and Sarah who laughed at my jokes and made this day so wonderful.

This was some day and one that I will never forget.

Dedicated to the crew of the Lancaster that crashed on Beinn Eighe and to Joss Gosling and the RAF Mountain Rescue team who in 1951 did there best.

“They soared like Eagles”

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 and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Charity, Enviroment, Films, Friends, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Munros, Other hills Grahams & Donalds, People, Poems, Rock Climbing, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to One of those special days on Beinn Eighe in Torridon.Watching Eagles soar.

  1. Janet Pooran says:

    Truly special!


  2. Charlie cartwright says:

    A full complement of stars Heavy. I know that Cwm it is indeed a wonderful cathedral. . I first used the term cathedral many years ago after a magnificent evening climb on pillar rock in the Lakes, likening it to being on yo a flying buttress of a wonderful cathedral. These images are deeply ingrained in my memory and looking back, it brings deep satisfaction.


  3. Yes it is Charlie and when we saw the Eagles it was some day
    Beinn Eighe poem Aug 2019
    Unseen from the road, the majestic cliffs are hidden.
    The long walk in.
    Views expanding as we climb.
    Liathach brooding in the mist, is watching?

    As usual we meet a family of deer
    They have been there for many years
    What have they seen?

    Great cliffs Cathedral like
    Sculptured by time and nature.
    The wreckage, glinting in the sun.

    This is a wonderful poignant place.
    Only too those who take time.

    To look and see
    Maybe an Eagle
    Soaring above the Buttress

    How mighty is this corrie?
    How mighty is its story?
    This Torridon giant Beinn Eighe.
    Heavy Whalley Aug 2019. This wee poem was read at Joss’s funeral in 2018.

    For Joss and the crew of Lancaster Avro Lancaster G.R. Mk.3 TX264 / BS-D of No.120 Squadron RAF Kinloss
    Harry Smith Reid DFC Flight Lieutenant Pilot Killed
    Ralph Clucas Sergeant Co-pilot Killed
    Robert Strong Flying Officer Navigator Killed
    George Farquhar Flight Sergeant Flight Engineer Killed
    Peter Tennison Flight Lieutenant Signaller Killed
    James Naismith Flight Sergeant Signaller Killed
    Wilfred Davie Beck Sergeant Signaller Killed
    James Warren Bell Sergeant Signaller Killed


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