The remote one.
DH Mosquito DZ486 on Cranstackie.
(Distance covered =
8.7 mile/Ascent =+951m)
Day 11 of my 2018 Holiday and I was still waiting for my good luck with the weather to run out. I thought it had run out on day 8, but just like me it was simply having a day off.
The previous day had started off a bit overcast but improved as the day went on, and by the time I had parked up at my camping spot for the night there was clear blue skies and sunshine. It was the same the following morning.
Glorious weather on the approach to Rhigolter Farm which is nestled at the base of Beinn Spionnaidh and Cranstackie.
The Mosquito wreck on Cranstackie had been on my 'wish list' of crashsites I really wanted to visit for quite a while. I had read reports of the wreckage being high up on a remote and wild mountain miles from civilisation and it had caught my imagination. In reality, it was one of the easier ones to reach, although, it would have been a long drive if I'd gone straight from home.
Above and below:- Some fantastic views to match the fantastic weather.
The simplest way to access Cranstackie was by walking in along a farm access road which meant having to walk through a farmyard. I will usually try to avoid walking through farms but I was quite happy to on this occasion. The evening before I had phoned the landowner for permission after acquiring his number from a signpost at the end of the access road which prohibited any unauthorised use of the road.
Nearing Rhigolter Farm.
After passng through Rhigolter Farm things became a little steeper, the farm track continued uphill for a bit further than it was marked on the map before terminating at a barbed wire fence. Once over the fence it was just a case of picking the easiest looking going towards Cranstackie.
The track became rougher and steeper after Rhigolter.
Fantastic views of Ceann Garbh and Ganu Mor to the south west.
I stopped for some breakfast on a large boulder at the head of the Calbhach Coire. I knew there was some pieces of the Mosquito in there so I had a look with my binoculors to see if I could spot anything, I couldnt. I decided to have a search for those bits on my way down so continued climbing up towards the summit of Cranstackie.
Calbhach Coire, I would come back down that way.
I didn't have to climb much further up the slope before I started finding the first bits of the Mosquito. Wreckage was spread over a large area so it took me some time to search around trying to find as many pieces as possible. A lot of it was in amongst boulders as well so I would have invariably missed some bits hidden behind or under the rocks. Despite this I still managed to find quite a lot of stuff scattered over the hillside includng a large crater which was highley likely to be where the Mosquito first collided with the hill.
above and next two photos:-Some of the first pieces I came across while ascending Cranstackie.
Above and below:-Remains of one of the Mosquito's elevators.
Above and below:- I could be wrong but this crater seemed highly likely to be where the Mosquito collided wth the side of the mountain. It was a lot deeper than what it appears on the photo.
More wreckage in amongst the rocks.
One of several radiators at the site.
After spending way too much time looking around for bits of Mosquito I dismissed any ideas I had of continuing up onto the summit of Cranstackie. Instead I chose the most difficult route I could have to descend back down into Calbhach Coire. I did find a couple more pieces on the way down though, then a few more lying in the base of the Choire.
Getting a bit steep up this end, luckily I could see no wreckage this far over.
Wreckage is scattered in the area circled, the crater being at the far right.
One of the pieces I came across whilst descending into the coire.
In Calbhach Coire, there are several windswept panels to be found in here.
Once down into the Coire it was an easy walk back down off the mountain. My little camping spot overlooking Cranstackie was so nice I stopped there another night before heading off to check out the remains of a Spifire in Sandwood Bay the following morning.
In the summer holidays of 2019 I returned to Cranstackie with Stuart and his daughter Chloe as company. Stuart hadn't been to Cranstackie before and as well as that I knew there was a lot more pieces of the Mosquito to be found in amongst the rocks. We had also developed a theory that the two Rolls Royce Merlin engines could still be up there somewhere, perhaps over the other side of the ridge.
Stuart and Chloe on their way up Cranstackie having just emerged from the clag..
The weather this time around was nowhere near as nice as my first visit with low cloud shrouding all the hills and a horrible drizzle which threatened to soak us through. Fortunately though, we climbed up through the weather and emerged into beautiful sunshine and blue skies which stayed with us for the rest of the day.
I love it when I get to admire the top of the clouds.
Cranstackie's next door neighbour; Beinne Spionnaidh.
One of the peaks of the Foinavon range protruding through the clouds to the south west of Cranstackie.
Above and below:-Stuart and Chloe on the hunt for Mosquito bits.
Because of the glorious weather we were able to spend a long time hunting around in the rocks, and we did find a lot more pieces I had missed on my first visit but unfortunately two Rolls Royce Merlin engines were not amongst them.
Above and below:- Something I didn't find on my 1st visit, an oxygen bottle from the Mosquito.
When we had worked our way along the side of Cranstackie we discovered the trail of wreckage petered out just before we reached the bealach between Cranstackie and Beinne Spionnaidh. Stuart and Chloe decided to head up to the summit from there but I continued over and down the other side just in case the engines had made it over to that side; there was no sign of them.
The last bit we found just before reaching the bealach.
On the baelach between Cranstackie and Beinne Spionnaidh.
While making our way down off Cranstackie I spotted something in the cliffs above Calbhach Choire that my imagination registered as being one of the engines. I could see through my binoculors that it was nothing more than a black rock but I still had to backtrack quite a way before my imagination would believe what I was telling it.
Maybe's there is an engine up there amongst the rocks but unfortunately all I spotted was a black roughly engine sized rock!
Above and below:-At least the
the weather down below is nice now as well, ready for our return.