Fifth time Lucky,but not for the Bike.

Avro Anson EG693 on Craigronald.
(Distance covered= 10.8 mile/Ascent = +589m -592m)

Every month there was a Highland Dancing contest at Dumfries or Locharbriggs and not too far from Dumfries is Cairnsmore of Fleet, which is littered with Aircraft Wrecks.

It was just as well we were over at Dumfries every month because visiting the crashsite of Anson EG693 became a bit of a personal battle between me and Craigronald, a hill on the eastern flanks of Cairnsmore of Fleet where the Anson wreckage lies.

The Knee of Cairnsmore on the left, Clints of the Spout in the centre(in line with the light green trees)and Craigronald on the right. Cairnsmore of Fleet summit is above and beyond the Clints of the Spout.

Attempt 1

As it was a championship competition at Dumfries on this day it meant I had a bit more time, so my plan was to visit two Ansons* that crashed into the Clints of the Spout then return via Craigronald and visit another Anson that crashed there.
I parked the Pug at Big Water of Fleet Viaduct then took to the Mountain Bike to save some time as more than half the distance involved was along forest tracks. I hid the bike at a strategic point about 1 mile from Loch Grannoch, this meant I could follow a circular route passing the 3 Anson crashsites and end up back where I ditched the bike.

View of Loch Grannoch from where I hid the bike.

The first part of my strategy went to plan apart from taking a lot longer to reach the first two crashsites than I had anticipated because of the terrain. I then spent way too much time taking photographs at the Clints of the Spout. When I eventually moved on I encountered a grueling climb to get above the Clints onto Meickle Multaggert. I therefore found myself short of time as is usually the case and about 1 mile from the crashsite of EG693 I had to abort and make a beeline back to the bike in order to have any chance of getting back to Dumfries in time to pick up the girls.

Me 0, Craigronald 1

View south across Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve.

Attempt 2

This time I headed straight for Craigronald, hiding the bike behind Loch Grannoch Lodge and making straight up the eastern slopes of Craigronald. The area behind Loch Grannoch Lodge is very boggy and the ascent of Craigronald from this direction is a series of rocky inclines and boggy terraces. Again I ran out of time, this time only about 1/2 mile away from the crashsite.

Me 0, Craigronald 2

Halfway up Craigronald, the Landy track to Loch Grannoch Lodge can be seen middle distance.

Attempt 3

The weather on this day was not good, low cloud covered the hills and quite heavy rain persisted. I didn't even attempt to reach EG693 but instead went looking for a nearby Hawker Typhoon which crashed low down on Dunharberry Hill**.

Me 0, Craigronald 3

Snow filled gully, this made the going much easier in places.

Attempt 4

As I had a similar amount of time as 'Attempt 2', this time I hit the ground running and saved a little bit time here and a little bit time there. Once the bike was hidden at Loch Grannoch Lodge I saved a lot of time negotiating the boggy slopes onto Craigronald as there was still a considerable amount of snow and the ground was frozen, so instead of sinking into bogs or making diversions around them I was able to walk straight over them. Although the snow was of assistance at first it was to prove problematic later.
I usually don't bother going wreck hunting when there's snow because obviously it makes finding wreckage much more difficult when its buried, but today there was about 50% snow, 50% clear, so therefore I surmised I had a 50% chance of finding something.. Right in the area where EG693 crashed were two very large and deep banks of snow, after a good search around I came to the conclusion that the wreckage was buried under one of those snowbanks.

Me 0, Craigronald 4

EG693 wreckage is buried under the 2nd snowbank on the right of the photo.

Attempt 5

I now knew I could make it in time, just! So to save more time on this attempt I travelled light, so dressed in shorts t-shirt and trainers I reached Loch Grannoch Lodge in record time, then did a spot of fell running up to the top of Craigronald. Without the snow to contend with I found what's left of EG693 without difficulty and had plenty of time left to take some photos then get back to Dumfries in time for the Competition ending.

Me 1, Craigronald 4

Arriving at the crashsite of Anson EG803 at last.

More crashsite photos.

One thing I've noticed about using the Mountain bike to save time is that it's hard work on the way out and not that much time is saved, but on the way back the distance is covered in a fraction of the time and with minimal effort. About 1 mile into the journey back I was giving it 10 nowt down a steep section of forest track when it felt like the saddle dropped down on the bike. I kept going as I didn't want to lose any momentum but when the bike started to make funny noises I had to stop to investigate.

Sheared frame on the bike.

It turned out the frame had sheared in two just below the suspension mount. As I didn't have time to walk the rest of the way I continued riding the bike watching nervously as a split appeared on the cross member just below the saddle which spread a little more every time I hit a bump, If that had sheared as well I would have been on the ground in a heap. Seems Craigronald had the last laugh!

Me 1, Craigronald 5

*--Clints of the Spout Ansons

**--Dunharberry Hill Typhoon.