My friends Babs her pal Kay and “young Derek” aged 79 were going for a walk to Ben Rinnes yesterday. I thought I might be able to meet them at 1000 after my hospital appointment in Elgin. It would be good to catch up and the forecast was excellent. Ben Rinnes is a lovely hill that I often climb it’s a busy local mountain much loved and cared for by the “Friends of Ben Rinnes “ They look after the mountain and the path. It is only a short drive from my house and is well loved.
As always it’s a busy hill many taking advantage of the weather. I just got there as they were setting off. I was ready to go parking was tight but I got in.
It’s a great path and Babs and Kay were soon chatting as were myself and Derek he was so pleased to be out on the hills again it’s so good for everyone after the Covid shutdown.
It’s a steep pull to the summit but the path is good and busy. Lots of families out and it was great to see. The views of Moray were wonderful the fields and now the many wind farms and the Cairngorms with snow still lingering. There are small trees growing even near the summit. They must have a hard life here. Also the Cairngorm granite tors that are near the summit have wonderful shapes and look sculptured. It’s a grand wander from the steep path to the summit plateau where the views are outstanding.
The summit was quiet and we had lunch and then went to have a look at the remains of the aircraft that crashed a few hundred feet from the summit. This side of the hill is covered in cloudberry and walking is wonderful as the ground is so soft and springy. There are also some hares here that I see most visits.
A low-growing relation of the raspberry (although not as sweet as that species), the cloudberry was a traditional food in parts of the Highlands and was well known to the Gaels, as is attested by a considerable number of mountains named after it, ranging from Stirlingshire to Aberdeenshire.
The Gaelic for the fruit is oighreag, and the plant is known as lus nan oighreag. Places like Meall nan Oighreag and Càrn Oighreag were recognised as areas for collecting the fruit (they ripen from deep red to orange in autumn). Keep your eye open for them in the hills – and here’s a little project for a keen person – why not see if the mountains named for them still carry the species in abundance today?
Even a few hundred feet away from the path it’s so quiet and today so warm. It is a place so covered in Cloudberry and peaceful you may hear folk on the summit of the wind is right. Today it was so warm and hard to believe a tragic aircraft crash occurred here.
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. Both the crew were killed.
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”.
I regularly visit this place it’s not far from the summit and have taken so many others to visit and pay respects.
We traversed back to the path from the crash site amazed at the scrawny fir trees struggling to grow on the ridge. It was then back down the path meeting lots of folk heading up.
We were soon down at the car and I only picked up one face mask the path was litter free. There was no dog poo bags about as there were on another trip. It’s good to see folk are looking after our wee Corbett. We are lucky to have this on our doorstep.
We said farewell I went back via Grantown to visit a pal and we had a good chat. It was then home stopping for fish and chips and the football on tv after a shower.
Today’s tip : Be careful with the sun please use sunblock drink plenty of fluids and a hat . sunstroke is not nice.
Thanks all for a grand walk just what I needed.