Nobby the Sheep saves the day!.
Bristol Beaufighter LZ156 at Borgadale
(Distance covered =
5.7 mile/Ascent =+490m)
The 11th day of my 2017 walking holiday on Arran and Kintyre. I had originally planned to go walking on the 12th and 13th days as well but various circumstances conspired to make this the final walk of my trip.
We could have parked the two pugs* a couple of mile back down the road to shorten our walk but instead opted to leave them at the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse carpark. This would allow us to reach the crashsite by following a fenceline along a ridge, making navigation much easier, which seemed like a good idea saying as we set of walking very early and in a very thick sea mist.
These Deer must have been used to seeing nutters walking past as they weren't particularly bothered by our presence.
By the time I got my camera out Stuart had almost disappeared into the mist.
By the time we'd walked over Torr Mor and Beinn 'a' Theine the sea mist had begun to clear and we started to hope the weather might turn out to be as nice as on our epic walk the day before when we'd visited 8 crashsites on the Mull of Kintyre**, smashing my previous record of 3 in one day.
We had several clues as to the location of this crashsite, we'd been told by the landowner that it was in thick bracken and would be hard to find, we'd also been told that we would find it no problem if we lined up two sheep pens and also we had a grid reference. Despite all this information we couldn't find any sign of the Beaufighter despite thoroughly searching every inch of bracken around the grid reference we had and also over where the two sheep pens 'lined up'.
The area where Beaufighter LZ156 crashed.
As we rather disappointedly resigned ourselves to the fact we weren't going to find it we set off back towards the carpark but instead of retracing our route out we decided to take a more direct route back over to the road. As we climbed up out of the depression where we'd just searched for Beaufighter wreckage I spotted what I thought was a sheep in the distance a little further west than where we'd been searching. I decided to wind Stuart up so I pointed to the sheep and said "Oh look there's a bit of Beaufighter wreckage over there", just as I said that the sheep appeared to stand up vertically on its back legs then went back down horizontal again. After we'd watched it do this several times I said to Stuart, "What the hells that sheep doing". Stuart suggested I put the zoom lens on my camera to have a closer look.
The area where I spotted the sheep, we were on the hill on the left in the middle distance.
What I thought was a sheep was actually a light coloured rucksack, the person wearing it was bending down to examine something and what's more he had two companions who we hadn't been able to make out with the naked eye, they were also picking things up to examine. We both quickly came to the conclusion that there was only one reason for these people's behaviour so set off over to where they were.
The man on the right is Dave Earl who is an author of Aviation Archeology books and was there doing some research for a new book. On the back of the second man from the left is what we christened 'Nobby the sheep'.
The crashsite was indeed 'in line' with the two sheep pens but we had been mislead by other slightly inaccurate information and had been searching where the pens lined up to the east instead of to the west. However thanks to spotting Nobby the sheep victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat!
above and below:-Stuart examining wreckage in a gully below the crashsite.
Remains of a carburetor from one of the Hercules engines.
Very corroded 20mm cannon shells. Stuart has identified at least one of these to be of the high explosive variety.
Above and next two photos:-The crashsite of Beaufighter LZ156, probably in the only area of bracken we didn't initially search.
*-- Pugs = Peugeots