Avro Shackleton XF702 on Creag Bhan,
(Distance covered = 1.6mile/Ascent =+162m)
41-29369 at Tarskavaig,
(Distance covered = 1.0mile/Ascent =+86m)
Hawker Hunter XK151 at
(Distance covered =
2.22 mile/Ascent =+286m)
On my last visit to Skye in August 2018 the weather was not too pleasant. I was told by a Ghillie that the best time to visit weather-wise was Easter so me and Stuart hatched a plan to go back for a weekend in the Easter holidays of 2019.
Our main objective for CC19a as we had called our trip, was to go back to an F111 crashsite on Sgurr na Stri* in more favourable weather than I had experienced in 2018. Instead of just driving straight there however we stopped off at a few other crashsites on the way. The first of which was an Avro Shackleton that was not too great a walk from the road to Mallaig, where we would catch the ferry over to Skye.
Short walk back along the A830 to the start of the path up to Creag Bhan.
Before accessing the hill where the Shackleton crashed we first had to negotiate the railway line used by the Hogwarts express in those Harry Potter films, just prior to parking we had passed the famous viaduct it goes over. This was to be one of two 'Movie set locations' we would encounter on our weekend to Skye as we would pass a location where they filmed some Game of Thrones scenes while on our way to a B17 crashsite on Ben Edra.
Crossing the railway was made easy by a path that ran alongside the burn that ran underneath the tracks. It wouldn't have been much of a challenge to walk over the top of the tracks either!
As the crashsite was less than a mile from the road this was a good warm up walk and proved handy for blowing away the proverbial cobwebs as I had been suffering from a chest infection for the week prior to heading off for Skye. My Wife didn't think it was a good idea going for a weekend of walking while recovering from a chest infection but I had a "It will kill me or cure me" attitude, while walking up the hill to the Shackleton crashsite I was beginning to think it would be the former!
Halfway there already.
Nice view down to where we parked the car.
There isn't much wreckage remaining at this crashsite but it is still pretty impressive due to the scar made by the Shackleton when it collided with the hill. This scar gives a very good representation of the wingspan of the Shackleton, it even has two bulges at each end where the wingtip fuel tanks exploded.
Obvious scar on the hillside.
Memorial and some fragments of wreckage next to the scar.
Stuart had seen a report that there was (or used to be)an engine 200 yards away from the crater, so we had a bit of a search around but found nothing other than a trail of fragments that stretched a couple of hundred metres to the north of the impact scar. I made Stuart stand beside the farthest away piece we found while I went over onto an adjacent hillside to take a photo.
Leaving Mallaig Harbour On the ferry to Skye.
We arrived at Mallaig in plenty of time to catch the 12 noon ferry to Armadale, so we took the opportunity to nip off to a local cafe for a very welcome Bacon Butty and cup of tea. Once onto Skye we headed off route a bit to check out the crashsite of a B-24 Liberator at a place called Tarskavaig.
Parked up at Tarskavaig on Skye, ready to tackle crashsite number two of the day.
The main bulk of the B24 ended up on the hill just right of centre.
The walk to the B24 crashsite was even shorter than the previous one up to the Shackleton, but we had figured the distances into our plan and we still had one more to do after this one, then walk the 3 mile into the Bothy at Camas Fhionnairigh Bay where we were spending the night.
Cairn and scar where the main part of the B24 hit the hill.
At the site of the B24 crash there was some small pieces of wreckage remaining which were lying in and around a scar. The most noticeable thing about this crashsite was how it had been butchered by digging activity, with large sods of earth turned over around the edges of the scar and no attempt made at reinstating the vegetation once it had been dug up!
Next on our agenda was the crashsite of Hawker Hunter XK151, I had already visited this one during CC18 in august of 2018**, but Stuart wanted to go for a look so that merited another visit. As I had been to this one before I didn't bother taking my camera, but I should have remembered my trip to Criffel a few years earlier***, the webpage for which I titled "Always take the camera".
above and below:- Two photos taken by Stuart of some large chunks of Hunter found some distance from the impact scar and memorial cross.
As we set off up the hill to the Hunter crashsite I commented on how we would probably find more wreckage because I hadn't taken my camera and that is exactly what happened. Scattered for some distance beyond the rock outcrop where the memorial cross is located we found numerous bits of wreckage including a couple of larger chunks, quite a few turbine blades from the engine and a lot of intact 30mm cannon shells which were not live rounds and marked as 'ballast'
By the time we'd become bored of finding 30mm cannon shells, then walked back to the car, moved the car and walked into the Bothy it was after 10pm. We had our fingers crossed that the Bothy would be unoccupied but on arrival we discovered there was already a group of ten 20 year old Canadian lasses in residence. Now if I was 30 years younger and not married I would have thought that was a result, but as it was now after 10pm on Saturday night and I had been either walking or driving since 2am Saturday morning, all I wanted to do was go to sleep. So despite the Canadians being very loud and enthusiastically playing a game of 'Family Fortunes'; that is exactly what I did.
This image courtesy of Stuart Whittaker.