No Icecream for me!
Lockheed Hudson T9432 on Ben Lui.

(Distance covered = 12.5 mile/Ascent = +1226 )

During August the Highland Dancing World Championships take place in Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula. As we go up for the full week that gave me a chance to visit a couple of wrecksites in the area.

As Heather would only be dancing in the World Championships on the Friday and also on the Saturday if she qualified, and as there is plenty to do at The Drimsynie Hotel where we were staying for the week, the girls didn't mind me disappearing for the day. This also meant I could make an early start, but at the expense of missing the very nice scottish Breakfast in the Hotel.
This was the third year Heather had taken part in the World Championships and the third year we had stopped in the Drimsynie Hotel at Lochgoilhead which
has proven to be brilliant accommodation in a superbly picturesque location at the
head of Loch Goil.
It seems Scotland may also have a Ministry of Obvious names.

Lochgoilhead, sitting at the head of Loch Goil, our base for the week

The default weather on the Cowal peninsula seems to be rain, so I wasn't expecting my luck with the weather to apply on this day. After parking the car at Dalrigh and heading off along the track that leads past Cononish Farm to Ben Lui the weather was indeed threatening to rain, but also the sun was occasionally peeking through the clouds.

7am and the weather is busy making its mind up

As I progressed along the 4.5mile walk in just to get to the base of Ben Lui the weather was gradually improving and nearing the end of the Landrover track there was just a small patch of cloud stubbornly clinging on to the summit peak of the mountain.
There is a much shorter route to reach Ben Lui, parking on the A85 to the North West but this involves a plodge across a river, a railway track to negotiate and boggy paths up steep slopes through a forest, so I chose the much longer but much easier going route from the east, parking at Dalrigh beside the A82. The route from the east also offers some really dramatic views along its full length.

Ben Lui from near the end of the walk in.The Allt Coire Ghaothaich can be seen heading up the slope in the centre.

At the end of the Landrover track there is a good path which follows the course of the Allt Coire Ghaothaich up into Coire Gaothach then up and around the northern ridge to reach the summit, this is the route most people take but of course I didn't, instead I contoured around the eastern slopes of the mountain above the Allt Coire Laoigh then followed a burn up into the Coire an t-Sneachda.

An Aluminium disc about 1 foot in diameter lying in the burn near to the end of the Landrover track. Being so far from the crashsite I was unsure if this was a piece of the Hudson but thanks to
Stuart Whittaker who identified it and sent me the photo below I now know it is the cover off one of the Hudson's main wheels.

Heading up the eastern slopes of Ben Lui.

Scattered up this burn were some pieces of the Hudson including a large section of wingtip, as the rest of the wreckage lies on the other side of a ridge it would suggest the Hudson clipped its wingtip here before carrying on to crash a little further on

The first piece I found, a considerable distance from the main area of wreckage the pieces down here were most likely carried downhill by the nearby burn.

above and below:-Air intake duct from the top of the engine cowling.(see 2nd photo below)

Arrows pointing to the air intakes ducts on a Lockheed Hudson, The one on Ben Lui shown in the photos above could be the port or starboard one but as it lies below the starboard wingtip(piece circled)  on the other side of the ridge to the rest of the wreckage it suggests its the starboard one, but then again its mounted on top of the starboard engine which ended up on the other side of the ridge with the rest of the Hudson so how did that duct end up where it is?. Think I'll just stick to a narrative of my walk and leave the Air Crash Investigation stuff to the experts!

Another view of the Air Intake duct, it lies quite a way downjill on the other side of a ridge from the main area of wreckage.

Above and next 4 photos:-The starboard wingtip, the rest of the Hudson lies on the other side of the ridge in the top left of the photo below.

 Following the burn up the eastern slopes the terrain became increasingly steep, which coincided with the weather becoming increasingly warmer, the Coire I was in was also sheltered from any wind, so although it was lovely it was also hard work but that didn't stop me going back downhill on numerous occasions to check out pieces I'd missed on the climb up, but then spotted from above.

Above and next 7 photos:-Some of the pieces of Hudson found on my ascent up the choire..

Coire Laoigh and the bealach between Ben Oss and Ben Lui.

At the top of the burn it was very steep but there was a path to follow to the south which went up and across a ridge to reach the rest of the Hudson wreckage which lies in another burn higher up.

view north from the top of the burn.

There are some quite large pieces of the Hudson scattered down a ravine including both engines, some large wing sections and a large piece of the fuselage from the tail area. The fuselage and wing sections had all been crushed by the weight of snow that falls up here.

Above and below:-The port wing with its wingtip still intact.

Crushed tail section with Ben Oss in the background of the photo above and the summit of Ben Lui in the one below


starboard tailplane.

above and below:-A memorial plaque had been placed on the small crag in the immediate background.

Above and below:-The Memorial plaque, laid by the family of one of the crew

The Hudson wreckage is concentrated in this gully below the South summit of Ben Lui.

One of the two engines lying in quite a dramatic setting.

The second engine lying on top of one of the mainwheels. This mainwheel still has parts of the cover attached ,so therefore the cover I found next to the landrover track is from the other wheel.(Excellent bit of detective work on my behalf there!)

The starboard wing,note where the wingtip has been ripped off.

After photographing all the parts, I found a nice flat rock to sit in the sun and have my sandwiches. From here I had two options, follow the gully down from this location to look for other parts, including a tailfin and rudder which I had seen photos of on the internet, or do a bit of Munroe Bagging and continue up onto the summit. I followed the gully down until it dropped off quite steeply and could see no sign of the rudder so I turned about and headed back uphill.

above and next 9 photos:-Pieces scattered downhill in the burn below the main area of wreckage.


On my way up to the summit, the gully containing the Hudson is circled in red.

Once out of the gully and onto the ridge leading up the summit there was a lovely stiff breeze which cooled me off nicely and there was also some nice views off to the north and west.

Ben Chleibh, the route from the A85 to the north west joins this bealach from the right. In more recent times an RAF Jaguar crashed on this side of Ben Lui's summit possibly over on Ben a Chleibh*.

The location of the Hudson Wreckage taken from the South Summit of Ben Lui.

There are two peaks on the top of Ben Lui, the North summit and the South Summit, the South Summit is the highest.

The higher South Summit taken from the North Summit.

The North Summit taken from the South Summit.The path goes down the ridge on the right

My easiest option now was to follow the well trodden path down the north ridge of the north summit. When viewed from the south summit this ridge looked quite daunting but in reality, although it was steep in places it was easy going.

The path down the North ridge, the landrover track can be seen winding its way down the glen past Cononish Farm.

Above and below:- Views on the descent of the north ridge.

Back at the base of Ben Lui I just had 4.5mile of Landrover track to worry about and I'd be back at the car, the sun was still beating down and I wouldn't have complained if it had started raining as I was now very hot and as I never think to take sunblock, a little sunburned.

About to pass Cononish Farm on the way back to the car.

After passing Cononish Farm and with the sun still blazing I received a text from the rest of the gang to say they were having an icecream then going to the village to have a drink outside the local pub. If it wasn't for the view I was enjoying in the photo below I might just have been a bit jealous.

*--Jaguar on Beinn a Chleibh