Ben Rinnes my local hill – with some old pals a visit to the aircraft crash site. A birthday cake.

It is grand to have a wee Corbett on the doorstep and Ben Rinnes at 814 metres is the nearest hill to my house in Burghead it is also the North East most Northerly Corbett. An isolated hill near Dufftown whisky country it has great views of the Moray Firth and the Cairngorms which looked a bit windy today. The views and the weather was good and the hill though a short walk was a fun few hours out. The Friends of Ben Rinnes they do a great job. They help look after this hill and the path. There has been great work done on the hill. At the top steepens and to me there is always a a cold wind near the summit tors. Today it got colder near the top but there was no snow the path is excellent and we were followed by two Ptarmigan. They were completely white and with no snow at all it was great to see them, They looked so vulnerable.


Key information

The ptarmigan is a gamebird, slightly larger than a grey partridge. In summer, it is a mixture of grey, brown and black above with white bellies and wings. In winter, it becomes totally white except for its tail and eye-patch, which remain black.

It breeds in the highest mountains of the Highlands of Scotland on the Arctic like landscape there. Birds are residents, seldom moving far from breeding sites. In severe cold weather, birds may move from the highest ground to the edge of forests.

What they eat:

Shoots, leaves, leaf buds, berries and insects

I was still coughing and struggling but to be we some good company great pals most over 65 it was a great wee day.

It was not to busy there were a lot of dogs on the hill. I was to find out about that latter in the day,

Newly Painted Trig point – looks great.

The trig point has been repainted well done all and is looking resplendent.

We met David from Lossiemouth on the way up celebrating his birthday on the summit. We had a grand chat .

David and his cake

What a nice man , we even tried to light his candle on the cake when we stopped for lunch just below the summit tors in some shelter. Happy birthday David. Three of us today had been in RAF Mountain Rescue for many years Dave Foy, Derek Harman and myself it was good to be out and Derek is recovering well from heart problems a fit man. Our other companions Babs our Nanny and George had to put up with out tales, my coughing and struggle but it was so good to be out.

RAF Kinloss MRT Skye 1973 myself and Dave Foy .At MacRaes Barn Glen brittle. Dave is no 16 !

From the summit we wanted to find the site of an aircraft that crashed killing both crew. The story is a tragic one but 3 baled out as far as I know. I did not have the grid references with me but we spotted some small pieces not far down from the summit.

Ben Rinnes was the scene of a terrible plane crash on 14th November 1943.
A Wellington Bomber HF746 of No20 Operational Training Unit, based at Lossiemouth, crashed into Ben Rinnes whilst on a navigational exercise.

A former member of the ground crew who went to the site on the hill shortly after the crash described it as “the most complete burn-out he had ever seen”.
The outline of this crash site is still clearly visible from the north side of the Ben where the ground was scarred so badly that nothing will grow there even today. We found the crash it was hard to located as this side of the hill is covered in heather’s and mosses. The ground is very spongy yet we located the small pieces of wreckage and put them together most were covered by the mosses. Here we saw a lot of White hares they are out of the ind and feasting on the vegetation. What a beautiful animal they are.

These are my old grid references of the wreckage if any one wants to check them

Rinnes W1 – NJ 25627/35634 – 783 Metres

Derrick leaving the crash site

Rinnes W2  – NJ  2562335664 –  774 Metres

Rinnes W3 –  NJ 2563435696 – 761 Metres

Rinnes W4 – NJ 2565035718 – 747 Metres

Rinnes W5 – NJ 25695 –  694 Metres

From here we contoured back on to the main path by the lonely tree that is wind battered and met up with Dave the Birthday boy on the main path. On the way down I collected so many dog poo bags dumped by the path and at the car even more. I will go back today to bring them back as most were broken and in a mess and I was given a lift to the hill. What a sad thing to do dump your dog poo bags. Beware where you park your car there is so much poo two of us got it on our boots. I will take a shovel and get rid of it today.

On a brighter note we had a grand cake and coffee in Dufftown to end the day then home. Thanks for the day out folks sorry I was slow but it was so worthwhile.

Off to collect the poo later this morning!

I left a donation to the Friends of Ben Rinnes thanks for all you do.

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 when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Articles, Corbetts, Corbetts and other hills, Enviroment, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, People, Plants, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ben Rinnes my local hill – with some old pals a visit to the aircraft crash site. A birthday cake.

  1. Ardivot Place says:

    Honoured to meet you and your companions yesterday sir – and a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ was the icing on the cake that I had carried up the hill with me. It’s very early days in my hillclimbing career but yesterday was definitely a high point- in more ways than one. David.

    Liked by 1 person

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