August 2014 Bus Meet: Torridon to Loch Maree traverse

Originally posted on Moray Mountaineering Club:

Baosbheinn

Sunday, 17 August 2014
O.S.Map(s): 19/24/25
Est. time of arrival: 09.30
Time of departure: 17.30
Leave Elgin: 07.00

This traverse has not been undertaken on a Bus meet for a number of years. This meet will provide the opportunity to undertake a traverse through Torridon and Flowerdale.

The bus will drop off members (and guests) at the Beinn Eighe car park (NG958566). The bus will then depart immediately heading round to the Red Barn car park (NG856721) where it will park up for the day.

The main walk options are to undertake a traverse via i) Beinn Dearg (Corbett), ii) Baosbheinn (Corbett) or iii) Beinn an Eoin (Corbett). It is also possible to undertake a traverse via Beinn a’Chearcaill (Graham) finishing at the Loch Maree road.

Members (and guests) can also undertake a traverse of Beinn Eighe (Munro x2) from the Beinn Eighe car park through to Kinlochewe…

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Bynack More 1090 metres and An Lurg Wellington aircraft crash revisited.

Today is the sad 70 th Anniversary when 6 young men from RAF Lossiemouth crashed near Bynack More in the Cairngorms on 14 August 1944. Sadly all 6 young men lost there lives and I wanted to visit the crash site on the wild open moor and pay my respects. The weather has been wild, there are bridges down in the Cairngorms and big rockfalls in the Corries.  We would have to wait and see what the day produced. The forecast was poor wind 30 -40 knots with gusts and the temperatures were dropping. Heavy rain was forecast as well, It was not a day for my “Baden-Powell” shorts and I put a bit more kit in my hill bag and a flask of tea.  I pick up three mates on the way and we had a leisurely drive to the Cairngorms. The river Spey was still massive, brown and the waters still raging and we were soon at Glenmore Lodge where we parked, the midges were also there eating us alive as soon as we put our boots on. If I had been on my own I would have taken my mountain bike and left it at the old Ryvoan Bothy but not today as there was no room in my car for them. A large group of kids passed us about 20 all out for a run on the track and we were impressed by the banter. Great to see!

The Green Loch a place of great beauty.

The Green Loch An Lochan Uaine a place of great beauty. Does the colour come from the fairies washing their green clothes in it?

Park at the Lodge, the midges bite!

The track, walk ski,cyle, run

The trees and wild flowers make this special

Past the Green Loch a place of peace

And beauty. Translucent green.

Where do its colours come from?

Nature at its best!

The trees Caledonian Pine, birch and juniper added to the smell and the carpet of amazing purple heather make this a lovely walk even if you just wander along to the bothy at Rvyoan . I used to escape to this walk during lunch breaks in Mountain Rescue Meetings in the past. Then would you believe it as we were all telling our “war stories” Rescue 137 The Sea King from RAF Lossiemouth flew over us heading for Glenmore Lodge. There must be a rescue on?

Rescue 137 Great memories!

Rescue 137 Great memories!

We headed along the track to where the old Bynock Stables now gone, It was a place of haven in the past after a hard day on the hill or on a search or big walk on Strath Nethy a wild place in bad weather.  There was a vehicle parked nearby and it belonged to the path makers  who are rebuilding these popular paths and doing a magic job. In the past this was an awful muddy track now it is a work of art. The wee bridge was still there after the rain and looking good, the sun came out and the helicopter headed over for Loch Avon! I later found out that the helicopter was training with the RAF team!

The bridge over the river Nethy still there!

The bridge over the river Nethy still there!

The smell of Heather along the track

The sound of a helicopter, a grand noise

Ryvoan nearby not today!

Bynack Stables

Gone!

The Bridge still there.

The new path handcrafted.

Strath Nethy, the never-ending Glen!

Strath Nethy the never ending Glen, the scene of many hard days in the past.

Strath Nethy the never-ending Glen, the scene of many hard days in the past.

The path is such a great difference, I have done some big days from here in the past taking in most of the Cairngorm hills and always this was a wet eroded way to go. Now with the good path it is still hard work but you soon gain the high plateau of Bynack More. This is not a place to underestimate, there is little shelter and in winter or a windy day this is a wild place.

The new path to Bynock Mor what an effort that must have taken!

The new path to Bynock Mor what an effort that must have taken!

It was on with jackets, hats and gloves,  a bit of food and drink the wind was gusting 30 mph at times and hard going. The summit was still clear on Bynack More and we headed out along the plateau to the prominent rocky North ridge. We found some shelter before the steepening near the granite Tors that allow some scrambling but not today.  The views into Coire Odhar a desolate place today but so wild and how many visit this area despite the new paths?  Dark clouds and the mist came in but we kept to the lee of the hill, still getting the odd gust but working our way in the summit. Again this can be fun in a winter’s day with good snow and the views (not today) are magic.

The rocky summit ridge of Bynock More before the mist came in!

The rocky summit ridge of Bynack More before the mist came in!

The wind was really picking up along with a bit of rain but we weaved between the ridge on the lee side and only occasionally got a big gust. I saw a couple of hares still brown and darting about in the summit rocks. The summit allowed a break, no views the mist was heavy by now and it was cold, how far away is winter? We were soon off and hoping to get over the plateau to An Lurg about 4 kilometers away and visit the  Wellington Crash site. I was not looking forward to leaving the path and the hard going in the peat hags that was to come!

Misty summit of Bynock Mor - above the 2000 foot contour there are no earthly worries. Tom Weir

Misty summit of Bynock Mor – above the 2000 foot contour there are no earthly worries. Tom Weir

The plateau, the windy rocky ridge

Hat and gloves on, shorts no more!

Steady walking, mist down, gusty

Use the lee side, old tricks

Summit near

No views, worth the effort.

Always.

Too be continued!

 

 

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70 years ago tomorrow a Wellington aircraft HF16/A crashed – An Lurg near Bynack More 14 Aug 1944. Lest We Forget.

Wellington aircraft.

Wellington aircraft.

70 years ago tomorrow a Wellington aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth in Morayshire Scotland crashed killing all the crew of six the remains of the aircraft are spread out on high moorland near Bynack More in the Cairngorms. The  Vickers Wellington HF816/A of 20 OTU took off from RAF Lossiemouth for a cross country training exercise (night Navex). However, at 22.30hrs, the aircraft crashed on moorland close to An Lurg Grid Ref  NJ 048097 —a hill due N of Bynack Móre. Today weather permitting I hope to revisit the site and pay my respects,today  the forecast is not so good more like early winter but hopefully if we can cross the rivers we will make it.?

Map of the crash site

Map of the crash site

 

It can be a tricky  crash site to find in bad weather and make an interesting navigational exercise for hill walkers.   From the ridge that connects to Bynack More it is best to keep to the right hand side as you head to the featureless plateau of An Lurg through some big peat hags. In the wet or snow it can be a hard place to be, not easy walking away from paths.

An Lurg Wellington Crash

An Lurg Wellington Crash

It is covered in peat hags but these when dry are easy but after this weeks rain it will be pretty wet.It is about just over a kilometer to the crash site from the Bynack More path about 2 hours walking. In bad weather this is a really tricky area for navigation and can make a very interesting challenge  to find the Wellington Wreckage. It can be a bleak place rarely visited and has that feel about it as you arrive at the wreckage.  This aircraft was a Vickers Wellington HF16/A of 20 OTU took off from RAF Lossiemouth on a cross – country training Exercise and crashed on the plateau on An Lurg.  It crashed on 14 August 1944 all on board were killed.  The wreckage is widely scattered, parts that can be seen are the oxygen bottles, landing gear, engines and part of the aircraft geodetic framework.  We must never forget that these are tragic places where young men died. RAF Lossiemouth lost nearly 150 aircraft during the war!

At the wreckage site

At the wreckage site

How many lives in 150 aircraft loses?

 

The Wellington was a medium bomber, of which there were 16 variants, the first Wellington bombers were powered by two 1,050 hp Bristol Pegasus Mk. I radial engines. It had a maximum speed of 235 mph (410 km/h)

 

Like the Vickers Wellesley, the Wellington was constructed using a geodetic (lattice) framework to provide additional strength and durability for the fuselage. As a result of this design by Barnes Wallis, Wellington bombers were able to survive and return safely to base even after sustaining considerable damage.

The framework of the Wellington aircraft.

The framework of the Wellington aircraft.

 

The first Wellingtons entered service with No. 9 Squadron RAF. Later, an improved version entered service with RAF Bomber Command. The aircraft carried a crew of six

 

Some reports suggest that the Wellington exploded in mid air. Other reports suggest that the aircraft dived to the ground at high speed, exploding on impact.

 

The cause of this explosion has not been determined. All on board died in this incident.

Lest We Forget – Aircraft Crew Casualties

The crew who died were:

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Thanks to all – 250000 views for the Blog!

250000 views 2014  Aug 12

I really appreciate all the support, many thanks to all!

There must be a book in it?Cairngorm plat Loch Avon

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Be aware of Rockfall in the Northern Corries of the Cairngorm

After the recent bad weather a lot of damage has been down to bridges and paths!

The Goatrack path into Corrie Sneachda has had severe damage due to fallen rocks the area is unstable. Please keep away from this area until the damage can be assessed!

There is lots of information on various websites about the damage. There are also a few bridges washed away they may take a long time to repair.

Please bare this on mind when venturing out onto the Cairngorms!

From the Mountaineering Council of Scotland website

“A large area of rock fall caused by Monday’s torrential rain has left a popular Cairngorm footpath in an unstable and dangerous state.

Slabs from the cliffs above the Goat Track path in Coire an t-Sneachda – one of Cairngorm’s famous and iconic Northern Corries which help form the classic view from Loch Morlich – have fallen across the track and surrounding area.

The rock fall was discovered by path builders heading into Coire an t-Sneachda on Tuesday morning. They carried out an initial examination, which showed the area to be very unstable and dangerous.

Julian Digby, Director of Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts, the firm carrying out pathwork in the corrie, said: “The rock fall is nearer to the Lochans as you start to ascend the long section of the path.

“It is passable, but the area it came from above is looking very unstable and liable to further movement.

“Further up, near the top where the path leads over the exposed bedrock sections, there has been some quite significant movement. This has been due mainly to the weight of snow that has sat there this year, but the fear is that the heavy rain will have destabilised this even further.”

The situation is currently being discussed with Cairngorm Rangers and the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT) to determine the best way forward.

In the meantime, for safety reasons, walkers and climbers are advised to avoid the whole Goat Track area.”

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1975 – The Rescue of “George” the Shorthorn Bull on summit of Sgurr Na Ciste Duibhe at Kintail. Munro bagging Bulls?

1975 Bull Incident

1975 Bull Incident – would you mess with George Val Tenanty in the photo.

23 June 1975 –  The famous Bull Rescue of “George the Shorthorn Bull “near the summit of the Munro Sgurr Nan Ciste Duibhe in Kintail

 Most casualties are more than happy to be rescued but on 23 June 1975 the Mountain Rescue Team from RAF Kinloss found a Bull near the summit of Ciste Dubh (3369 ft) in Kintail. The Kinloss Team was exercising in the area when “George”  was found near the summit. “George” a 5 year old Shorthorn Bull was reluctant to leave and had been intimidating walkers who were after the illusive Munro.

.The crazy rescue of George the  Bull Rescue

The crazy rescue of George the Bull Rescue

George was reluctant to co – operate and rope was eventually secured round his horns. After 4 hours of gentle exertion he persuaded to descend 1000 ft.  However by this time he was showing signs of peevishness and had made several charges at his would be rescuers.  They were somewhat relieved when at this stage his owners took over and managed to coax him down to their farms and his girlfriends.

From Alan Boulton via my blog

“I arrived in Kintail in 78 as the NTS ranger and this story was still fresh. My recollection was that this was a dept of Agriculture bull on loan and you saved the crofters the embarrassment of explaining that they couldn’t return the bull because he wouldn’t come down from the top of a Munro.”

From Wullie Fraser Kintail MRT

“Yes…thankfully a bit before my time….but recollect Dolan Macmillan and John Ross embellishing the incident on numerous occasions.

Oh what fun we had before the days of risk assessment.”

I wonder what the Risk Assessment would be of this rescue? Is it in the Mountain Leadership Syllabus and does it classify as “Objective Dangers in Mountaineering” 

Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe reaches a height of 1027 metres (3369 feet) making it Munro number 104 in terms of height.] It is one of three Munros which make up the famous Five Sisters of Kintail group of hills (the others being Sgùrr Fhuaran and Sgùrr na Càrnach) and is often climbed as part of the walk which takes in the full Five Sisters ridge. The mountain is not particularly photogenic and it is difficult to get a good impression of it from the A87 because of the steepness of its slopes as they fall into Glen Shiel.

The hill’s Gaelic name translates as the Peak of the Black Chest or Coffin. The meaning of the name is unsure but it is thought to refer to an unusual deep rocky hollow near the summit which lies between the main ridge and a false crest. This can be dangerous in mist or snow conditions. Other sources say that the name refers to the deep hollow of the Allt Dearg on the hills south west slope.[4] The mountain should not be confused with another Munro called Ciste Dhubh which lies just 7 km to the east. It may never be the same after this incident!

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Floods in Moray nature in the raw.

After a wild night of high winds and constant rain the whole of Moray was on flood alert!

More rain fell on one night than in a whole month normal rain!

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This is the effect on the Findhorn River at Randolph’s Leap completely underwater! I went to have a look and I could hear the roar of the river from the car, it was impressive.

After a wander I went along some of the back roads and the flooding was pretty bad, the power of nature is incredible the detritus coming down the river with trees coming down the river with such force. It was still raining when I left and more water if possible was coming down the river, what a power.   The effect on Moray is pretty bad and I am amazed no one has been hurt. Take care if out there is a lot of danger about.

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