De Havilland Sea Vampire XA103 on Ben Klibreck
(Distance covered =
28.0 mile/Ascent =+689m)
Day 5 of my 2018 walking holiday, this one involved a bit of a long walk in, but it was mostly along a good landrover track so we had fetched along our bikes to save a bit of time and effort.
There was a lot shorter route to reach this crashsite, walking in from the northwest, but that way involved a lot of steep inclines and heather bashing so we opted for the much much longer, but easier route in, from Badenloch Lodge to the east. I enjoy the occasional challenge when out walking, so as this one was going to involve a nye on 30 mile round trip it was certainly going to be one.
Setting off from Badenloch Lodge.
Not long after leaving the cars, as we cycled over the Sluice Dam at the
southern end of Loch Badanloch we were treat to a very impressive flypast
by an RAF Eurofighter which growled it's way down the Loch at low
level and flew directly over our heads. I was nowhere near quick enough to
get my camera out in time but I waited for a while hoping it had a
companion following along behind; it didn't!
Another one for my 'missed photo oppotunity' list.
On our way again after the flypast.
When using my Bike on the walk in to a mountain I always end up pushing it as soon as there's the slightest hint of an incline, so as this day was no exception Stuart and Chloe were stealing a march on me on the uphill bits, but I was soon catching them up and gaining a headstart on them on the downhill bits thanks to my greater weight, which meant I was gravity assisted and able to reach some Kamikazi speeds.
Long up and down stretch, I gained enough momentum on the downhill bits to propel me up the uphill bits. Ben Klibreck is the big hill in the distance.
It would be a lovely walk from Loch Badanloch to Loch Choire, but I would say
to reach the crashsite and back solely on foot would need two days, unless you all but ran there
and back, but then it wouldn't be a lovely walk if you were running!
Cycling most of the route was very enjoyable as well although a bit hard on the
The yellow arrow is pointing at the Memorial which could be seen from quite some distance away thanks to it being silouetted on the skyline. When Stuart was pointing out the Memorial from here he described it as being just to the right of the hill that looked like a Boobie.
It took us about 2.5 hours to reach Loch Choire House and just past there we ditched the Bikes and set off on foot. We could have cycled a bit further but the track alongside Loch Choire was sand and loose pebbles and after both Me and Chloe fell off our bikes we decided to leave them beside the loch.
Loch Choire from the Boat House at Loch Choire House.
Where we dumped the bikes. We needed to turn uphill just past the trees in the distance.
Passing through the woods at Alltalaird.
There wasn't that far to walk after we dumped the Bikes but it was all steeply uphill, some bits very steep. There was a quad track to follow for a short distance as at the top end of Alltalaird Woods it went off in the wrong direction so we just had to pick the best looking route up onto a ridge which we then followed up to the memorial.
Once onto the top of the Boobie it was very easy going on short grass and rock and there was some spectacular views all around. The weather was also very pleasant now with the cloud breaking which allowed some sunshine to peek through.
View from the top of the Boobie.
Memorial, there is some Sea Vampire wreckage collected around the small cross.
We knew there was a memorial here with some wreckage collected at it's base but after taking some photos of that we had a sit down on a nearby rock and had a scan around with our binoculors to see if we could see any more wreckage in the vicinity or any form of impact gouge or scar to suggest where the Sea Vampire had hit the hill.
Above and below:-Possible impact crater.
While making our way across to what looked like a crater which we'd spotted through the binoculors we started finding bits of the Sea Vampire scattered in some gullies below the memorial, including a complete undercarriage leg and wheel.
U/C leg, the brake hub had corroded away to reveal the brake shoes.
While having a search around in the gullies Stuart made his way over to
the scar we had spotted, The next thing we heard was him shouting,
"There's a gun!"
The crater we spotted was indeed where the Sea Vampire had hit the hill and lying in it, amongst other things were the remains of four 20mm cannon, one of which was more or less intact, although slightly bent.
Stuart and Chloe with one of the cannon.
Above and below:-Two views of the impact crater. (More Wreckage photos)
There's a good few wreckhunting walks I've done in the past that I remember as being
'epics' and this one was definately one to be added to that list, not
least because we had found armament at the site and in this day and age
that is very rare indeed. A bit like finding a propellor blade that some moron
hadn't already hacksawed off and stolen!
The impact gouge is on the hillside just below dead centre of the photo.
Our epic day did not finish with finding the impact crater and the cannons however as we still had a 14 mile return trek to complete, but the sun was now shining and we still had loads of time before dusk so we would be able to take loads of 'butt breaks' if necessary.
Back down the hill. Walking proved the opposite of Cycling, I was quicker uphill while Stuart and Chloe didn't hang around downhill, as evident in this photo!
Back to the shoreline of Loch Choire.
I wasn't looking forward to the 12 mile cycle back to the main road but it turned out to be a lot easier than I was expecting it to be and I think I even spent less time pushing the bike on the way back. We even managed to outrun a Toyota Prius that was making it's way along the same track from Loch Choire House.
Taken at the southern end of Loch Badanloch with one mile left to go to the car. I would be looking just as proud as Stuart does if my 8 year old Daughter had just completed a 28mile round trip.
And she didn't complain once.
This lot had just settled down for the night when we came trundling along, they weren't happy.
"A day is not wasted if a memory is made", so this day was most definately not wasted and it would prove to be the most enjoyable day of my holidays even though I had some spectacular walks still to do in the following 10 days.