Cranstakie and Beinn Spionnaidh and the Mosquito crash.

Cranstakie 800 metres and Beinn Spionnaidh 772 metres. (Hill of strength)

These are Twin Corbetts rising East of the A838 road from Rhiconich to Durness. The most Northerly Corbett is Beinn Spionnaidh.

These are two Corbetts I never appreciated in my youth. There a long way North to these hills. I only heard of the crash site of the Mosquito from a story of some metal and wood found not far from the summit of Cranstakie. I took several trips to these hills and the crash site was tricky to find in poor weather. It’s a great navigation exercise to locate it and pay your respects.

The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito is a British twin-engined, shoulder-winged, multirole combat aircraft, introduced during the Second World War.

Unusual in that its frame was constructed mostly of wood, it was nicknamed the “Wooden Wonder”,or “Mossie”.Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, nicknamed it “Freeman’s Folly”, alluding to Air Chief Marshal Sir Wilfrid Freeman, who defended Geoffrey de Havilland and his design concept against orders to scrap the project.[In 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world. It’s role in the war is very underestimated and the role it played I feel was very underrated. What an aircraft and they were so versatile.

The Mosquito

Cranstakie and Beinn Spionnaidh 

These two quartzite-topped Corbetts are the most northerly mountains in Britain. Together they give a rough but enjoyable hillwalk; the views are every bit as good as might be guessed from their position. Cranstackie is the most distinctive of the two peaks, whilst Beinn Spionnaidh has the most open outlook of the north coast.

Beinn Spionnaidh is the northernmost peak in Britain over 2500 feet. A whaleback ridge of quartzite scree, it offers unique views of the north coast.It’s neighbour another Corbett Cranstackie is a mountain of 801 m in Sutherland, the northwestern tip of the Scottish Highlands. It is a Corbett located west of Loch Eriboll and northeast of Foinaven. Like Foinaven and Beinn Spionnaidh to the northeast, its top is covered with loose, broken quartzite.

Photo taken in 2000.

On this hill is the wreckage of a de Havilland Mosquito Mk.IV DZ486 of No.618 Squadron, RAF, crashed on Cranstackie NC 350560 at 2000 feet near Durness on the 5th April 1943 while on a bombing exercise from Skitten Mosquito DZ486 – Flew into hill while on a bombing exercise .The aircraft is reported to have flown over Durness and Balnakeil before turning south and flying down the glen towards Cranstackie. 5.4.1943

Crew : F/O (124.814) Donald Louis PAVEY (pilot) RAFVR – killed 

Sgt (1220369) Bernard Walter STIMSON (obs) RAFVR – killed.

I have visited this site on 3 occasions its a grand hill and enjoyed looking for the wreckage not easy in the days before GPS. 

Crash site details – NC 350560 ROUGH GRID REF:,
I would appreciate an updated reference for the crash site and any photos.

Please remember that these hills are special in many ways.

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, Books, Corbetts, Corbetts and other hills, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Recomended books and Guides. Bookmark the permalink.

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