Above and Below!
Supermarine Spitfire W3244 on Bullhope Law and DH
Vampire WA432 on Fennie Law.
(Distance covered = 9.0 mile/Ascent
The first Championships of the 2016 season were the UKA, held in the Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh. This gave me the ideal opportunity to nip down the road to the Lammermuir Hills and have another look for a Spitfire on Bullhope Law that I'd failed to find on a previous visit.
The UKA Championships are very busy, so the Girls wanted to get there early to avoid having to queue outside in the cold. As I dropped them at the stadium at 7:30am and the competition was estimated to be finishing at 6:00pm I had plenty of time, so my plan was to go and have another look for the Spitfire then go back along to Rushie Cleugh, which I reckoned would not be as overgrown as when I visited in August of 2015*.
Parked at the Water Treatment Plant at East Hopes
This time I parked at East Hopes to the North of Bullhope Law, then followed a good Landrover track to the south west which skirted the shores of Hopes Reservoir before making its way uphill between Bullhope Law and Bleak Law.
Off along the Landy Track, the Hill in the distance is Lowrans Law.
About a mile into the walk the track I was following crossed what appeared to be the best constructed footpath I have ever seen in the Hills, with large kerbstones on either side of very evenly laid paving slabs it was a shame it was going in the opposite direction.
Worlds best hill path, it runs parallel with the track gradually gaining height then dissapears around the hill in the distance. Behind me it continued on the other side of the Landrover track and terminated at the Dam. Its actually a Water Conduit but not sure what its purpose was!
The Dam at Hopes Reservoir. It was made from the stone of The Calton Jail in Edinburgh which was demolished in 1930.
Above and below:-Hopes Reservoir, its full of Brown Trout and very popular with the fishermen.
Once past the reservoir there was one little steep bit and I was at the base of Bullhope Law, I continued around into Rogers Cleugh then ascended Bullhope Law from the west.
A steep bit between Windy Law on the right and Trindle Bonny on the left, Bullhope Law is centre in the distance.
In Rogers Cleugh, Madyad on the left, Bullhope Law on the right
On my previous visit I had searched for the Spitfire crash site just a little bit too far down the hill, I had walked within feet of it but it was hidden from view from below by the heather. This time I went a tadge higher up the hill and from above I spotted the wreckage straight away.
above and next below:-Wreckage of Spitfire W3244
The wreckage had been tidied into what could possibly have been the crater made by the crash and consisted of some interesting pieces, some of which would have been highly desirable by the souvenier hunters 20 or 30 years ago or more, but were now very battered and corroded.
This is a cam for operating one of the control surfaces;most probably the rudder. The corroded parts each end of it are where the control cables attached.
Above and below:-A few pieces with part numbers.
Heavy cast part possibly from the engine.
I guess a piece of perspex this thick could have come from the armoured windscreen.
Above and below:-Gun Access panel from below the wing, although a bit crumpled the slot for ejecting the cartridges can still be seen at the top. I have outlined the same panel on the photo below, however it could have been from the port or starboard wing.
Above and next 4 photos:-Throttle assembly, don't know how the Souvenier Hunters didn't steal this years ago.!
The catch for the boost, pushing this would allow the throttle lever to be advanced through the gate giving the engine a 'boost'.
A throttle lever in slightly better condition, the boost catch can be seen near the top right of the yellow circle.
This photo shows how the wreckage is hidden from view from below, my excuse for missing it last time. Hopes Reservoir can be seen way below in the background.
Bullhope Law, the wreckage is dead centre of the photo at the right hand edge of the light green area. The small hill beyond the patch of snow is where I went to look for an Airspeed Oxford crash**
From the Spitfire I headed to the north east towards the top of Lowrans Hill, apart from a short stretch of track which turned downhill after a couple of hundred yards, the walk over Lowrans Hill was pathless and difficult going through heather and bogs.
Lovely track to follow, shame it only went my way for 200 yards.
The trudge over the pathless Lowrans Hill was made a bit more pleasant by the appearance of the sun.
Although this looks like a path it's not; it's where the Estate workers have cut the heather to create a firebreak so they could burn the heather off a specific area.
Years ago I walked over a snowfield like this and promptly dissapeared through it because a stream had melted a deep channel through it from underneath. I walked around this one!
Over the other side of Lowrans Hill I picked up a track that came up from West Hopes, then turned to the north east; the direction I was going. This track wasn't quite as good as the 'Water Conduit' Path I had passed earlier but it was a whole lot better then the pathless moor I had just crossed from Bullhope Law, and it passed very close to the De Havilland Vampire wrecksite I was visiting next.
Above and below:- Rushie Cleugh
consists of three gullies, Vampire Wreckage can be found in two of them. I
climbed the small hill in the background of the photo above to take the
photo below. To take the photo above I was standing just below the large
snowbank at the top of the gully going up the centre of the photo below.
The third gully which contains no wreckage can just be seen bottom left of
the photo below:
'There's so many aboves and belows in that paragraph you may have to read it more than once before it makes sense!!'
I had previously been to the Vampire Wreckage in Rushie Cleugh, but on that occasion it was the height of summer so the vegetetation was a little overgrown to say the least. Coming back in march I had expected the undergrowth to be a little less dense, but I was surprised by the difference. It was considerably easier to negotiate my way around the gullies and I found several pieces I had missed last time.
Above and below:- Two photos in Rushie Cleugh taken from the same spot, one on this visit in March and one on my previous visit in August. Note the pieces of Vampire at the top right.
Above and next 11 photos:-Pieces of DH Vampire WA432 in Rushie Cleugh
Above and below:- This large chunk of Jet Engine was difficult to spot, it is gradually being absorbed by its surroundings!
I have seen photos on the interweb of a piece of the vampires cockpit canopy lying to the east but this appears to have taken itself off somewhere as there was no sign of it. Once I was finished in Rushie Cleugh I simply had to rejoin the track and follow it all the way down the hill to East Hopes where I had parked the car.
Back on the track, Rushie Cleugh is on the other side of the small hill in the centre.
Ruined Farmhouses and Church beside Brookside Burn, seems they have suffered the same fate as the 'SOAP' of the same name.
Nearing the bottom of the track it became apparent that I was going to have to walk through a farmyard to reach the road where I had parked. I considered several other options but it transpired the only feasable way to reach where I had parked without a massive detour was to go through the farmyard. I figured as it was sunday the Farmer may not be out and about, so I decided to go for it and sneak through.
Approaching the Farm at East Hopes
Entering the last field before reaching the Farm I noticed there was a public footpath marker on the gatepost and further on another one pointed through the Farmyard, so I needn't have worried, which is just as well because my plan of sneaking through unnoticed would have been hampered by the kennel full of Sheepdogs who all started barking at me rather enthusiastically as I walked past.
Hopes Hall, Rushie Cleugh can be seen behind it.
Texts up to the Meadowbank Stadium asking how Heather had done were met with silence which usually means she's done well and wants to tell me in person, which I'm happy to say was the situation today.