Lockheed Hudson T9292 on Socath Hill,
Hawker Sea Hawk
Creag an Lochain Deirg,
Fairy Barracuda PM870 on
(Distance covered =
9.0 mile/Ascent =+610m)
Day 7 of my 2018 walking holiday and so far my good luck with the weather had continued. Today my plan was to take care of some unfinshed business and visit three crashsites above Brora that I failed to find back in 2001.
Back then I'd parked at Achrimsdale just north of Brora and followed a track up onto Creag an Lochain Dearg. I planned on doing the same this time but unusualy I could not remember where it was I'd parked the car the last time, or where the start of the track was. I think perhaps there had been a lot of new cottages built so as there was no-where obvious to park at Achrimsdale I drove farther west past East Clyne and found somewhere to park there.
Parked on the verge using the tried and tested 'gravity assisted' parking method. The Hudson is on the hill behind the bushes on the left.
I was going to go and look for the Sea Hawk first, then the Barracuda, Wellington and finally the Hudson, but now I was parked right next to the hill where the Hudson crashed so I headed for that one first. It was also easy to access the hill from where I'd parked as there was a gate onto a footpath that lead north to Oldtown.
Start of the footpath to Oldtown.
Almost as soon as I passed through the stile onto the Oldtown footpath I left it, and headed up the hill to the right. I had been told the Hudson crashsite was in an obvious light green area on the hillside, so as I could see a solitary light green patch on the hillside I headed for that.
Socath Hill, a light green area can be seen in the centre of the photo.
After having a good search around the light green patch I found no sign of anything resembling aircraft wreckage, so resigned myself to adding one to my ftf list. I sent a text message to Stuart, who was preparing to make his way back to Ireland to say I had failed to find the Hudson, he sent me a 10 digit grid ref and with that I found pieces of the Hudson about 100 metres north of where I'd been searching.
Burnt area and small fragments of wreckage.
View south to Brora from the crashsite of Hudson T9292.
I'd already done better than when I came here in 2001, back then I wasn't aware of the Hudson crashsite but I had failed to find 3 others, which I was now on my way to have another look for. This time though I had the correct grid references and I had also seen photos of the sites on the internet, so I would have a better idea where to look. So this time I was hoping for much better luck.
Heading off towards Creag an Lochain Deirg, location of Hawker Sea Hawk wreckage.
The weather on this day was a lot better than my 2001 visit as well, wind and overcast had been replaced by clear blue skies and sunshine. Stuart had sent me a link to some photos on the internet that were taken at the time of the Sea Hawk crash, he had tasked me to try and find the impact scar made where it first hit the hill. I hadn't taken a copy of the photos with me but it turned out I didn't need them as there was a distinct trail of wreckage and as I sat above the wreckage I found farthest to the west, I worked out the only place where the Sea Hawk could of hit the hill.
Photo taken at the time of the crash, this shows the scar where the Sea Hawk first hit the hill.
Above and below:-Photos of the same crater taken on my visit in 2018.
The Sea Hawk travelling from left to right hit the left side of the bump in the centre of the photo and scattered up the slope to the right side of the photo.
By the time I'd finished taking photos of the Sea Hawk site and set off for the Barracuda on Col-Bheinn it was midday and very very warm. Because of this I had already drank all of my water, but luckily there was a lovely little burn between Creag an Lochain Deirg and Col-Bheinn and I had a filtered water bottle, which I used to refill all my empty bottles.
Nice little track to follow down to the refill station. Col-Bheinn is the hill on the right.
There is a very large lump of Barracuda wreckage surviving on Col-Bheinn, so quite how I failed to find it on my first visit is a bit of a mystery, this time I had it spotted from over a mile away.
Photo of the Barracuda wreckage taken from a mile away with my zoom lens.
Above and next 3 photos:-Remains of Fairy Barracude PM870 on Col-Bheinn.
View over to the Sea Hawk crashsite from the Barracuda.
After having a long bait stop at the Barracuda site I was in two minds on whether to continue on to Carn Garbh to have a look for the Vickers Wellington crashsite over there, or leave that one for the next day. After changing my mind several times I opted to leave it for the following day as I wanted to be back at the car in time to nip down to Golspie before the Fish and Chip shop closed.
Above and below:-Proof of how warm it was. Two dried up burns on Col-Bheinn.
Instead of reversing my route to return to East Clyne, I instead headed farther west past Loch an Tubairnaich to intersect the Oldtown path I had started out on. I was then able to follow that to the south east back to where I'd parked the car.
Loch an Tubairnaich.
View west to Loch Brora.
Above and below:- Back on the Oldtown path heading east.