Munro Adventure 2015 Day 98 ( 6th August ) And then there was one. – Ben More and Ben Kilbreck and a visit to the the Vampire aircraft crash memorial.

Munro Adventure 2015
Day 98 ( 6th August )
“And Then There Was One.”

This is the penultimate day of the great “Munro Adventure” by Graeme and (Penny his dog) it has been a fun adventure in a wild summer for weather enjoy and share only one day left to go)

Ben Hope

Ben Hope

Ben Hope –  (927m, Munro 256 “Hill of the inlet/bay’”
Ben Klibreck  –  (962m, Munro 194) hill of the speckled cliff’

 

Ben Hope Nav
I had a couple of days off while waiting for half decent weather to climb these last 2 hills before our final one on Saturday. I had Donnie for company today and set off on the long drive north at 6am this morning, it isn’t much further than to get to Fort William really and better roads as well. I was told that a bridge on the narrow road to Ben Hope was washed out and road closed signs up but could drive as far as the old broch and park beside it. We arrived at 8.40 and it was raining so we just sat for good while and set off when it had brightened up , we walked down the road and crossed over the stream where the bridge was (no signs of a new one getting built) and down to the normal starting point for Ben Hope.

Ben Hope map the most Northerly Munro

Ben Hope map the most Northerly Munro

Needless to say the path up was very wet and also washed out in lots of places but once on the ridge things became better as was the weather and the cloud was lifting also. We arrived at the summit had something to eat and drink and started to get views now and again as the cloud came and went. On the descent we continued along the ridge avoiding the upward path route and went down another way which took as past a little dam for electric generation and back to the van.

Ben Hope summit - 2 to go!

Ben Hope summit – 2 to go!

We then drove back up the road and parked in Strath Vagastie beside a small plantation. Donnie had done Ben Kilbreck  with me a few years ago so I was on my own with TWD on this one although he did walk the first 15 minutes with me before going back.

Ben Kilbreck

Ben Kilbreck

Again it was very wet underfoot across the open moor and didn’t improve till I got to the steeper slopes and onto the final ridge, the sun was out and quite warm for a change, I got to the summit where I met two ladies and had a good chat with them , they mentioned being in a walk highlands group and I asked if they knew Andy Lawson which they did , it’s a small world out there.

Ben Ki;breck - one to go !

Ben Ki;breck – one to go !

Took a few photos and headed back the same way
Where Donnie was waiting patiently for my safe return. Spot on timing again the rain started 5 minutes after getting back . A nice day out today and hit the weather window spot on . Today’s totals: 15.37mls:1833m ascent.6hrs 36mins.
281 Munros to date. I will see whoever turns up for Ben Wyvis on Saturday at 9am. – One to go see you Saturday.

Heavy notes: Ben Hope this is a great hill the most Northerly Munro  and the views of the sea and lochs are unique, this is a place to savour. You can see the neighboring Ben Loyal and even the Orkneys on a good day   There is a  more complex, longer route up Ben Hope from the north that takes in some exposed scrambling This ridge that few do  has a  famous bad step.  The big problem with the so called Bad Step is not so technical difficulty, it is an  short climb, may be 20 foot in height. The difficulty is dealing with the exposure, head ways  the lower part is overhanging and you are forced to move right onto a very big wall, with a lot of space of free air under your feet in winter with a rope it was an interesting place to be. There is a sneaky gully that the “fear ties” take.  There are also a few grand climbs on the face and in  summer and winter few visit but you will get a great reward.  Take plenty of time on this hill it is magic!

Ben Kilbreck – 1955 March – Royal Naval aircraft crash Vampire Crash.

Crash site a sad place with great views.

Crash site a sad place with great views.

 

In the past I have extended a day on Ben Kilbreck it by going to an aircraft crash site on the South East Spur of Meall Ailein and to a monument to the crew of a Vampire Trainer aircraft from Royal Naval Station Lossiemouth that crashed in 17 March 1955 sadly killing both crew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue team were involved in the recovery and located the crash in a wild March day all those years ago.  The weather was wild and after a 6 hours search the aircraft was located.  It is a remote site and a very impressive memorial set on the ridge with great views this wild part of Scotland. It is worth extending the day and going out to visit this site that few see.

The monument is marked on the map and pieces of the aircraft can be found a grid reference Sheet 16/6182316 and NC 619305

 

Lest We Forget

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain rescue, Munros, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather | 2 Comments

1978 Sept 17 – The Island of Colonsay and Oransay a search for wreckage from a Dutch Navy Atalntic

Just looking through and old diary  Sept 1978 – I was out the weekend at Tyndrum with the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team and had two great days on the hill, on the Saturday we enjoyed a great day on the Ben Cruachan Ridge , Beinn a’ Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich on the Saturday and next day was on Creishe in Glencoe We then got called out. W e were flown by Wessex helicopter to search the Western coast, it was an incredible adventure at the time.

Atlantic Aircraft

Atlantic Aircraft

1978  Sept 17 – Isle of Colonsay  and Oransay  A / Dutch Military Atlantic aircarft crashed in the sea and stayed afloat for a while just off the Islands.  Some of the wreckage washed ashore and all the crew survived. When we arrived by Wessex helicopter we had no communications and searched most of the day and I sure  we lived in a Cave one night and much of the wreckage washed ashore vanished in true Island Fashion. It was very like the film “Whisky Galore” It was very difficult trying to get some of the sensitive items from the locals ! They had a few dinghies,life jackets and other bits and pieces! A bit of barter and trading was called for was called for?  We just made the pub it shut at 2200 then but managed a few beers but no food?  I wonder if anyone has any photos.

From my great pal Nick Sharpe a Guide in Canada “RAF Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team also deployed to the west coast of Jura and did the same thing. Spent a night in a huge cave sleeping on a soft bed of goat droppings!!!

colonsay

 

Most of the sensitive stuff was gone when we arrived the boys in black had been in.

Crazy days back in the day !

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MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015 DAY 95 (3rd AUGUST) ASSYNT. Conival – 987m, Munro 158) ‘adjoining hill’ Ben More Assynt – (987m, Munro 158) big hill of Assynt’

MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015
DAY 95 (3rd AUGUST)
ASSYNT.

Map Conival and BMAssynt
Conival – 987m, Munro 158) ‘adjoining hill’

Ben More Assynt – (987m, Munro 158) big hill of Assynt’
I was parked up last night in the car park at the foot of Coire Dubh Mor along with Jake in his van, had a few aperitifs before Jake served up our evening meal followed by a small dram before before turning in for the night.
Awoke to the sound of rain and a strong wind blowing this morning , had breakfast and set off at 8am on a almost 2 hour drive up north to Inchnadamph via Garve and Ullapool for today’s hills . It was fair when I arrived but the tops were clagged in and a very strong wind blowing nothing else for it but to crack on regardless.

A MEMORIAL marking the crash site of an RAF crew killed during World War II has been flown onto a remote mountainside in the Highlands by a Chinook from RAF Odiham.  The crew of six were all killed when their Anson plane crashed on Ben More Assynt in April 1941. Due to the inaccessibility of the crash site, the crew were buried on the mountain – their final resting places marked with a cairn.  In 2012, the War Grave Commission decided to replace the existing cairn, which had deteriorated in the harsh climate, with a granite marker weighing some 600 kilograms, to identify and protect the aircrew’s burial site from becoming lost or disturbed in the future.2000 feet up, the site on Ben Moore Assynt is one of the Commission’s most remote sites in the UK and the logistics of replacing the cairn have proved challenging. With support from the twin rotor RAF Chinook helicopter the memorial was carried by underslung load to the site.Master Air Crew Steve Macdonald from Joint Helicopter Support at RAF Odiham said: “It’s a very humbling experience. I can honestly say that in my 30 years in the Royal Air Force it’s one of the most fantastic projects I’ve been involved in because there are very few places where the crews are actually buried where they crashed and now these men will always be remembered.” The granite memorial now serves as a permanent reminder of Pilot Officer William Drew, Sergeant Jack Emery, Sergeant Harold Arthur Tompsett, Flying Officer James Henry Steyn (DFC), Sergeant Charles McPherson Mitchell and Flight Sergeant Thomas Brendon Kenny who were killed in the crash.  The families of the crew have been informed throughout the project and for Bernie Tompsett – nephew of Sergeant Harold Arthur Tompsett – the installation of the new  marker has been a great comfort.  He said, “It was a time when so many families learned of the tragic loss of their loved ones…Perhaps we are fortunate that they came to rest in such a beautiful part of

Set off at 10am up Gleann Dubh into the wind getting buffeted about on the exposed areas not the best conditions even at this low level and I was expecting things to get a lot worse higher up. I was getting a bit of shelter in the coire but was pleasantly surprised when I got onto the summit ridge not much wind at all , it was only when I reached about 900m and into the clag that it was stronger but not too bad. I remember reading Hamish Browns book when he did these hills; he got a right battering on them getting thrown to the ground on several occasions. Reached Conival then headed E down the slippery quartz blocks, I was getting views of the watery landscape below before going back into the clag to reach Ben More Assynt’s summit. Had some fuel and a drink before retracing the route back, I still had to be aware of the odd gust of wind on the narrow ridge back but once in the coire it was fine. On the way back I seen somebody very lightly dressed and immediately recognised him it was Paul Giblin
the WHW record holder out for a bit of training while up in Lochinver on holiday, had a brief chat and he was telling me he was just back from training in Chamonix for his preparation for the UTMB ultra at the end of August. I continued down the bog of a path and back to the van, again not the most pleasant day out but could have been worse just a shower for about 5 minutes today .
Today’s totals: 11.34 mls, 1222m ascent, 4hrs 31mins.
279 Munros to date.

Heavy note

This wild Assynt is a place I love and I was part of the renovating of the memorial near Conival to the crew of an Anson plane that crashed during the war. It was found by a shepherd at the end of a long winter. I took 3 years and nearly 2500 miles travelling and 10 visits to the site to complete the task as the memorial was falling apart.

 

A MEMORIAL marking the crash site of an RAF crew killed during World War II has been flown onto a remote mountainside in the Highlands by a Chinook from RAF Odiham.  The crew of six were all killed when their Anson plane crashed on Ben More Assynt in April 1941. Due to the inaccessibility of the crash site, the crew were buried on the mountain – their final resting places marked with a cairn.  In 2012, the War Grave Commission decided to replace the existing cairn, which had deteriorated in the harsh climate, with a granite marker weighing some 600 kilograms, to identify and protect the aircrew’s burial site from becoming lost or disturbed in the future.2000 feet up, the site on Ben Moore Assynt is one of the Commission’s most remote sites in the UK and the logistics of replacing the cairn have proved challenging. With support from the twin rotor RAF Chinook helicopter the memorial was carried by underslung load to the site.Master Air Crew Steve Macdonald from Joint Helicopter Support at RAF Odiham said: “It’s a very humbling experience. I can honestly say that in my 30 years in the Royal Air Force it’s one of the most fantastic projects I’ve been involved in because there are very few places where the crews are actually buried where they crashed and now these men will always be remembered.”

The granite memorial now serves as a permanent reminder of Pilot Officer William Drew, Sergeant Jack Emery, Sergeant Harold Arthur Tompsett, Flying Officer James Henry Steyn (DFC), Sergeant Charles McPherson Mitchell and Flight Sergeant Thomas Brendon Kenny who were killed in the crash.  The families of the crew have been informed throughout the project and for Bernie Tompsett – nephew of Sergeant Harold Arthur Tompsett – the installation of the new  marker has been a great comfort.  He said, “It was a time when so many families learned of the tragic loss of their loved ones…Perhaps we are fortunate that they came to rest in such a beautiful part of the world”

“Lest we forget”

Assynt Anson

For four months they lay, alone in Assynt.

Found by a shepherd after a wild winter storm.

The old memorial.

The old memorial.

This place is where the six lie,

They did not choose to die!

On a flight from Kinloss, in winter 41

They were lost.

They crashed in a storm,

Where wild and windswept is the norm.

Above 2000 feet they lie,

They did not choose to die.

Now this sacred place is to be marked,

By a memorial bright and new,

To remember those

Who died for you.

Mem assynt

Heavy Whalley Assynt 2013  “Lest we forget.”

Thanks to all involved

¨Commonwealth War  Graves Commission.

¨RAF Lossiemouth MRT

¨Assynt MRT

¨Joint Services Support Squadron.

¨National Heritage.

¨The Assynt Estate

¨All those who helped

¨

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Munro Adventure 2015 Day 94 ( 2nd August ) Alligin and Liathach – Tom na Gruagaich Sgurr Mhor Spidean a’ Choire Leith Mullach an Rathain

MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015
DAY 94 ( 2nd AUGUST )
Alligin and Liathach.

Beinn Alligin Map

Beinn Alligin Map

Tom na Gruagaich (922m, Munro 268)’rounded hill of the maiden’

Sgurr Mor (986m, Munro 162) ‘big peak’
Spidean a’Choire Leith (1055m, Munro 75) peak of the grey corrie’
Mullach an Rathain (1023m, Munro 108) 

‘summit of row of pinnacles’

Liathach :
‘the grey one’

I was parked up in a car park in Kinlochewe again last night and enjoyed a meal provided by Jake in his VOJ , we then went and joined the rest of the MMC for a few sociable drinks in the bunkhouse . My plans for today was to climb the Alligin hills on my own in the morning, then meet up with Jake at 12 to do Liathach together. The forecast was reasonable for today so I set off at 8am and drove down to the car park at the foot of Coire Mhic Nobuil and set off at 8.30.

The Eag Dubh

The Eag Dubh


I wasn’t going to do the circuit going over the horns today just the strait forward route up the Coir nan Laogh, the start of the path was wet and muddy but improved as it got higher up . I had a look at the famous STOLEN RIDGE route first ascended by Jake Lee and Loud Jenny Graham on a MMC bus meet a couple of years ago.

Th e Stolen Ridge on Alligin a fun way up!.

Th e Stolen Ridge on Alligin a fun way up!.

I decided against it and continued up into the Coire where there is path works in progress almost to the very top , once on the col it’s not far to Tom na Gruagaichs cairn which sits right on the edge of the cliffs , the top was clear but Sgurr Mhor being slightly higher was just in cloud . It’s quite a steep rough descent to the low point and the path up to the summit is a bit eroded in places , passed the spectacular Eag Dhubh and onto the now clear Sgurr Mhor , the weather was improving all the time and all the Torridon hills were in view now. I then just reversed the route back to the van passing about 10 hikers making there way up. Drove back up the Glen to meet Jake and arrived in the car park at 11.45 and had a early lunch, he arrived bang on time.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jake last seen with a jaunty hat in Torridon!

 

Lithach map Munros

Lithach map Munros


The sun was shining and it was warm what a change from yesterday , we started the ascent on the path follows the line of the Allt an Doire Ghairbh way up into the coire it’s a very good path but consistently steep until onto the summit ridge then a couple of false tops before getting to Spidean a’Choire Leith.

Looking along the Liathach Ridge

Looking along the Liathach Ridge

The whole ridge and the pinnacles were in full view in front of us but today we were just going to take the bypass paths on the S side but even they have a fair bit of exposure . The weather was changing now and dark skies were appearing as we got to Mullach an Rathain.

Summit of Mullach an Rathain.

Summit of Mullach an Rathain.


A few photos then set off down the steep Coire and a 1000m descent to the road far below and a final 1.5 mile walk back to the van, again perfect timing the rain came on within 5 minutes and continued on and off for the rest of the evening. A superb day out today in this wonderful area.

 


Today’s totals:11.99mls,2475m ascent,7hrs 53mins.


277 Munros to date. Getting there.

Section 13 Munros and Corbetts

Section 13 Munros and Corbetts a big hill day the Munros and Corbetts in Torridon?

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Munro Adventure 2015 Day 93 ( 1st August ) MMC Meet Kinlochewe Slioch – (981m, Munro 170) ‘the spear’

Slioch Map - The Spear

Slioch Map – The Spear

MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015
DAY 93 ( 1st AUGUST )
MMC MEET KINLOCHEWE
Slioch – (981m, Munro 170) ‘the spear’
After yesterday’s hills I headed up to Kinlochewe to meet up with the MMC for their August weekend meet, it was a unusually poor turn out with only 4 others turning up on Friday night. It had rained quite heavily during the evening and overnight and today’s forecast was for persistent rain for hills south of Ullapool. Dan and Sheena were accompanying me today and we just had a short drive to get to Incheril for the starting point, got on our way at 9am taking the path towards Loch Maree, it was quite wet underfoot and the ferns almost head height in places across the bridge and up Gleann Bianasdail so far and into a very boggy Coire na Sleaghaich. The rain was only occasional and light as we headed up onto the final ridge but the wind was strong and extremely cold so it was hoods up and gloves on (it’s August??) past the trig point and onto the summit, even though it was quite wild we still got a view of Loch Maree below and over to the Fisherfield hills. This was my final Munro on my first round way back in 1995 and on the next 2 ascents there was a completion party on both occasions. About turned and found a sheltered spot for lunch before heading back , Sheena took off as if she was on the Slioch hill race going down the zig zag path on the top section and we were back in the Coire in no time , the rocks were very slippery and I heard Dan say to be carefully and immediately ended in a heap on the ground , we were just about dried off when the rain came on again and got a bit wet especially going through the ferns just before we reached the van . A good day out and not as bad as the forecast suggested and we got a view.
Today’s totals12.12mls:1160m ascent: 6hrs 1min.
273 Munros to date.

He is getting there he hopes to finish on Ben Wyvis on Saturday all being well!

Heavy notes – Slioch Towers above Loch Maree and it looks a true mountain from most viewpoints. There is some great climbing on the huge cliffs of Sloich with the huge Atlantic Wall a  massive plum for those who ljke a total commitment climb.In winter the potential for those with vision is incredible. I summer even the Stepped ridge is a big adventure with a long walk in nearly 3 hours. The Munro itself  has a good paths are used, which pass waterfalls and lochans to reach superb views, including an expansive vista over Fisherfield – one of Scotland’s last true wildernesses.

Lots of Goats in this area.

Lots of Goats in this area.


Although the route described is fairly easy, Slioch has some unusual topography, which in mist can be quite confusing, therefore well-honed navigation skills are essential.

When the Classic Cold Climbs was published in 1983, the first two chapters on Beinn Bhan and the Fainnaichs were a revelation. These areas were terra incognita for most Scottish climbers at the time, and they launched a multitude of dreams as keen winter climbers began to expand their horizons from Ben Nevis, Glen Coe and the Cairngorms.

The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland A Celebration of Scottish Mountaineering Hardback  Review this book. The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland cover image Overview - The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland is a celebration of climbing in Scotland's wild places, compiled by Guy Robertson and Adrian Crofton. Featuring contributions from Scottish mountaineering's great writers and climbers, and beautifully illustrated with stunning photography, it delves deep into the heart of some of the oldest mountains on Earth.

The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland
A Celebration of Scottish Mountaineering
Hardback Review this book. The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland cover image
Overview – The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland is a celebration of climbing in Scotland’s wild places, compiled by Guy Robertson and Adrian Crofton. Featuring contributions from Scottish mountaineering’s great writers and climbers, and beautifully illustrated with stunning photography, it delves deep into the heart of some of the oldest mountains on Earth.

Thirty years on and the publication of The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland is having a similar effect. Roger Webb’s inspiring chapter on Slioch’s Atlantic Wall has intrigued many, and it was clearly not going to be long before the cliff saw some attention this winter. Before this season, Skyline Highway was the only winter route on the wall to have seen a repeat.

1952 Tuti Waterfall Buttess dan Stewart Torridon

1952 Tuti Waterfall Buttess dan Stewart Torridon

Many year ago the RAF Kinloss MRT climbed on the incredible Waterfall Buttress which itself is a winter climb in rare conditions . The Waterfall  climbed in 1984 is a grade 5 Three star route and one of incredible beauty. I was on an early attempt with Mark Sinclair many years ago. There are many more cliffs that few visit the photo below is of Dan Stuart in 1952 August 9 Johnie Lees and Dan Stewart well worth some investigation?

The Climb is Tuti a 100 metres severe Grade 5 in winter 2001!  Plenty of scope about.

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Munro Adventure 2015 Day 92 July 31 – Beinn Eighe – Ruadh-stac Mor (1010m, Munro 120) ‘big/little red conical peak’ Beinn Eighe : ‘file hill’

 

MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015 – Graeme and Penny his wonder dog are nearing the end of their magic journey over the Munros in 100 days. They are into the last week and I have so enjoyed their trip, savour the last few days as I have despite the weather they have had. They are some pair.

Day 82 Map Beinn Eighe

Day 82 Map Beinn Eighe

Day 92 (31st July )

Beinn Eighe – ‘file hill’
Spidean Coire nan Clach (993m, Munro 150)   ‘peak of the corrie of stones’

Ruadh-stac Mor (1010m, Munro 120) ‘big/little red conical peak’

After yesterday’s hills I made my tea in the van then headed off to Torridon to meet up with Andy Lawson who was staying in the youth hostel there, had a good blether and a few drinks and made a plan for tomorrow a traverse of Beinn Eighe using 2 cars, off to bed by 10 as I was a tad tired, I had parked up for the night in the NTS car park just down the road from the hostel
Awoke this morning at 7am to a steady fall of rain , I had got a text from Andy that he was heading home as had been unwell during the night so I was in no hurry to get up . Eventually got up at 8.30 it was still drizzling and a with a steady wind blowing, had breakfast and read for a while before heading up the Glen and parked at the small plantation at the foot of Coire nan Laoigh had another brew while deciding what to do, eventually by 11am a bit of brightness began to appear but it was still windy . Got ready with paramo gear on and set off at 11.15 up the very good track which winds it’s way up the hill getting steeper as it enters the top part off the Coire, I was reasonably sheltered all the way up but as I hit the ridge it was a different story gusting winds and rain now and again , reached the trig point then headed out to the summit of Spidean Coire nan Clach which was just in the clag and no more. Headed west along the undulating ridge towards my second hill where I met another hardy walker who told me he had just completed his round of Munro tops on Sail Mhor I congratulated him and wished him well on his future adventures before heading out towards Rhadh-stac Mor , I could see the summit was clear most of the way to it but it clagged in just as I arrived and it was extremely blowy on the top.
I decided just to reverse the outward route as it was still raining but I knew once back into the coire I would be sheltered from the elements, it stayed reasonably dry most of the way back to the van , had a late lunch and within an hour the real rain started and hasn’t stopped since , perfect timing today I reckon. Not the most enjoyable day out today especially after yesterday’s conditions but I still got my 2 hills done.
Today’s totals: 8.08mls, 1465m ascent,3hrs 40mins.
272 Munros to date.

Helicopter on Beinn Eighe

Helicopter on Beinn Eighe – Photo Al Swadel 

 

This is a mountain to savour on a good day the incredible ” cathedral of the Triple Buttress is hidden from view. Few see its glory as it is a far wander in (2 hours) but what a view.  The walk in from Coire Laoigh is wonderful and the Battleship shape of Liathach the other huge Munro dominates with its huge Coires dominant and the famous Northern pinnacles. After an hour the path then splits to  the Alligin car park a great low level but wild walk.  After this it is an incredible panorama of lochans, hillocks and views of some great Corbetts. This is wild country and maybe you will see an Eagle and the deer that live in this wild place. The path then takes you up and round the massive bulk of Sail Mor an in – frequented Munro top well worth the scramble up onto the ridge. Most though will head up to the Coire past the waterfall and then the huge mass of the Triple buttress beckons.

The Triple Buttres in winter wild Scotland

The Triple Buttres in winter wild Scotland

This is from Walk Highlands “These Huge ramparts of Sail Mhor may have been impressive, but nothing prepares for the sudden view of the Triple Buttress as Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair is finally reached. The three great, almost vertical towers of rock are seen across the water enclosing the back of a fine natural amphitheatre. They are composed of two clear layers of rock, with their lower halves of sandstone whilst the upper sections are brighter quartzite, and together they are one of the most celebrated climbing grounds in Scotland. The loch itself is large and beautiful, and a popular place for a picnic in fine weather.”

It is also the scene of the tragic Lancaster aircraft crash in 1951   14-16 March – Lancaster Crash – Beinn Eighe – The most important call – out in RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue History.

My great freind Joss Gossling was a member of an RAF team sent to find bodies in 1951 after an aircraft crashed 60 years ago has recalled the recovery party’s venture “into the unknown”.

A Lancaster bomber, which had been converted for maritime patrol duties, crashed near the summit of Beinn Eighe, in Wester Ross, in March 1951.

In the evening of the 13th of March 1951 this Lancaster set out from RAF Kinloss for a training flight a Navigational Exercise. The aircraft was on the final leg of a night-time navigation exercise between the Faroes and Rockall and was heading home when it collided with the mountain, Beinn Eighe, at around 02.00hrs on the 14th of March. It was only thirty minutes from landing back at base.

The nav-ex had been flown in horrendous weather conditions, when they took off from Kinloss seven hours prior to the crash, a deep low pressure was developing further south, this effect caused a strong north-easterly airflow north of this depression which the crew would have been battling with prior to the crash and which almost certainly caused them to have flown too far south of their intended course.

The last radio message picked up reported the aircraft to be “sixty miles north of Cape Wrath”. Nothing more was heard. The aircraft was later found to have crashed and had struck just fifteen feet from the summit of that part of the mountain range and at the top of a very inaccessible gully known at Far West Gully at the western side of Triple Buttress, above Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair in the Beinn Eighe group.

All eight crew from, RAF Kinloss in Moray, died.

Joss Gosling said his team had no prior knowledge of the terrain they were having to search.

Now in his 70s, Mr Gosling has told BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme there was a delay in starting the hunt for the crash scene.

Following the crash he and the other members of the RAF Kinloss search party loaded rescue equipment into trucks, but they remained on stand-by for two days.

Mr Gosling said: “Nobody knew where it was and we couldn’t go anywhere until we found some destination.

“Then the story goes that a lad saw a flash in the sky and he told somebody who told the police and then it reached Kinloss. That was when we got on the move.”

Mr Gosling said the team were well equipped by 1950s standards for wintry conditions in the hills. They had studded boots, wind-proof clothing, sou’wester hats and capes.

However, he said they were lacking knowledge of the area. A non commissioned officer (NCO) had been to Slioch, another mountain in the area, but Beinn Eighe was new ground for the team.

Propeller from crashed Lancaster. Pic: Eddie Waltham
A climber pictured with one of the aircraft’s propellers in January 2001

Mr Gosling said: “Nobody really knew much about it.

“As far as I know nobody had ever ventured into that area. You were going into the unknown.”Joss Gosling’s first view of the huge Triple Buttress in March 1951 – Joss said it was “like a Cathedral” what an incredible photo taken by a young man in his early 20’s. He was to spend many days in this corrie on a grim task of recovery of 8 aircrew from his home station at RAF Kinloss. photo Joss Gosling collection.

Joss Gosling’s first view of the huge Triple Buttress in March 1951 – Joss said it was “like a Cathedral” what an incredible photo taken by a young man in his early 20’s. He was to spend many days in this corrie on a grim task of recovery of 8 aircrew from his home station at RAF Kinloss. photo Joss Gosling collection.

Joss Gosling’s first view of the huge Triple Buttress in March 1951 – Joss said it was “like a Cathedral” what an incredible photo taken by a young man in his early 20’s. He was to spend many days in this corrie on a grim task of recovery of 8 aircrew from his home station at RAF Kinloss. photo Joss Gosling collection.

At first the team found wreckage before eventually finding bodies near the summit.

Mr Gosling said: “It was the first time I had seen a body. But we were doing a job and got stuck into it.”

Difficulties in recovering all the bodies over several months led to the formation of RAF Mountain Rescue.

Most of the wrecked Lancaster was understood to have been destroyed in a later controlled explosion, but sections of wing and its Rolls Royce Merlin engines remain to this day.

 

I was lucky to spend some time with the local Torridon and Kinlochewe Mountain Rescue Team when I retired. I love this area it is so wild and this mountain means so much to me. Go and have a look in the corrie you will see wreckage in the Corrie still there after all these years. It is well worth a visit be aware that the gully can be very loose and dangerous where much of the wreckage still is and can be a serious place to be.

Beinn Eighe “The Triple Buttress”

Unseen from the road, the majestic cliffs are hidden by ridges and wild corries.

A long walk in, views expand as we climb, Liathach, brooding watches our progress from afar.

A familiar family of deer by the boulders, they have been there for many years and are friends.

What have they seen?

thelaird_small

The views of moor and lochans, waterfalls sparkle in the sun.

At last, the lochan and then Cathedral like, great cliffs glisten in the snow.

Time and weather sculptured, wreckage glints in the sun.

2008 Joss wreath-001

This is a wonderful poignant place, this Torridonian giant Beinn Eighe.

 

Heavy Whalley March 2011

 

Take care.

 

 

 


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Munro Adventure 2015 DAY 88/89/90( 28/29/30 July) The 5 Loch Monar Hills – Maoile Lunndaidh Sgurr Chaorachain Sgurr Choinnich Bidean a’ Choire Sheasgaich Lurg Mhor

MUNRO ADVENTURE 2015
DAY 88/89/90( 28/29/30 JULY)
THE 5 LOCH MONAR HILLS

 

Munro map

Munro map

Maoile Lunndaidh (1005m, Munro 128)   ‘bare hill of the wet place

Sgurr a’Chaorachain (1053m, Munro 78) ‘peak of the torrent’
Sgurr Choinnich (999m, Munro 139)   ‘mossy peak’
Bidean a’Choire Sheasgaich –    (945m, Munro 226)   ‘pinnacle of the farrow cattle coire’

Lurg Mhor (987m, Munro 161)   ‘big shank’


After Mondays hills I headed home as the weather for the next 2 days was going to be rubbish and I was due a rest day after a few long days out recently.
Today’s weather was going to be good so I set off at 6am and headed for Glen Carron but had a wee detour first back up to Loch Droma as I left my poles there on Monday when I came off the hill , no luck they were gone there was always a chance they might have been though.

Penny on the Lurgh Mor Munros!

Penny on the Lurgh Mor Munros!


Arrived at the car park at Craig got the bike ready and set off at 8.50 across the railway line then across the River Carron and a uphill cycle for 3.5 miles where I left it at the end of the path of the descent route. I continued on foot almost as far as Glenuaig Lodge and went cross country to pick up the NE ridge which ended up at the 996m top and a almost level grassy ridge to Maoile Lunndaidh , it was bitterly cold on the tops today and had to put on all available clothing , returned the same way to the 996 point spotting 3 dotterel on route then down the W ridge to the bealach . A steep climb of 500m took me up onto the level ridge just a short distance from Sgurr a’ Chaorachain , all the summits were clear today and visibility was superb even the Cuillin was clear in the far distance . After a short descent and ascent I was on Sgurr Choinnich in no time , I met a few people here one who was doing a bird survey on the summits . The last 2 hills were still a long way off in the distance and a descent to bealach Bhearnais led to a ascent of the Corbett Beinn Tharsuinn which can’t really be avoided , continued over it and down following the dyke to the foot of Bidein a’Choire Sheasgaith (Cheesecake) . It’s a very steep ascent at the start and a very tricky section to thread your way through the crags , I had to help Penny on up on a few occasions and had quite a struggle myself at one very exposed section much worse than anything I came across in Skye!!!. Once that was over it was a good path to the summit . I now headed to one of the most remote hills in Scotland Lurg Mhor but what a place to be on this fine clear day . I had done 19 miles to reach here and only had 10 miles to get back !!!!. First you have go back col between these last 2 hills then descend NE to about 400m contour round the side of the hillside and finally climb back up to the Bealach Bhearnais all on no path. Downhill all the way now and picked up the stalkers path back to where I left my bike and a nice downhill finish back to the van .

 

This is not exactly a natural round of these hills but a very rewarding feeling on completion.


Today’s totals:28.9mls,2957m ascent,9hrs 23mins.


270 Munros to date. – Another great day in an amazing area – see you next Saturday.  

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