Consolidated B-24 Liberator BZ720 nr Berriedale.
(Distance covered =
2.0 mile/Ascent =+140m)
The previous two days of my 2019 walking holiday we had suffered two ftf's; we did however manage to find some pieces of a Fairy Barracuda* near Helmsdale. Today we were heading over to Orkney.
Before driving up to Gills bay to catch the ferry to Orkney we nipped along the road to Berriedale, to have a quick look for remains of a B24 Liberator that crashed above the cliffs there. As we drove down the narrow road from Gartymore to join the A9 we spotted an old railway carriage in the field opposite the junction, so took the opportunity to diversify and get some photographs of a Train wreck for a change.
above and below:-wrecked railway carriage lying beside the Inverness to Wick Railway line.
BZ720 was another ftf from CC18, indeed Stuart had been searching for it
for quite a number of years with no luck. We did find a piece of Perspex
in 2018 that someone had wedged into the top of a wall but we couldn't be
sure of it's origins.
This year we were searching farther south then we did in 2018 so walked in from the south. The farmer we had talked to the previous day; when we had found some Barracuda wreckage just north of Berriedale*, told us the B24 had crashed near the Priest's Hut. We could find no reference of this hut anywhere but the farmer's description of the area did give us encouragement that we would be searching in the right spot.
Walking in to our search area, above the sea cliffs near Berriedale.
As we neared our search area Stuart veered right and began searching nearer the cliffs while I went left and search over beside a stone wall that ran parallel to the clifftops about 100m inland. After about 20 minutes of searching I passed a small exposed area of peat and spotted something shiny lying in it.
Above and below:- Small scar containing pieces of BZ720.
As Stuart had spent quite a bit of time researching and searching for this crashsite over the years I did feel a bit like a goal moocher as I pinched the find from under his nose so to speak. Although there was very little left to see and it being a very short distance to reach this one did give us the greatest satisfaction to locate of all the crashsites we visited on this trip.
Stuart examining a piece of the B24.
Disturbed ground on the other side of the wall containing more bits of B24.
A piece of aluminium from the B24 wedged in the stone wall. The piece of Perspex we found in 2018 had also been wedged in the wall like this and was only 100m north of this bit so was probably from the B24 after all.
As well as giving us a brief description of the location of the B24 crash the farmer had also told us the story of how another local farmer had caught his two sons trying to dig up parts of the B24. The farmer was not happy with them as he knew a lot of the B24 had been chucked into a hole and buried including ammunition.
There were two mounds of stones like this next to the scar we found. Could the farmer have dumped these on top of buried B24 parts to deter his sons from digging again?
After finding BZ720 so quickly I still had plenty of time before the ferry crossing to Orkney so I made a small diversion on the way north to have a quick look at where Lockheed Hudson AM730 crashed into a field; at a place called Staxigoe, while trying to land at Wick Airfield.
Random photo of a winch, kind of knew I would find nothing else of interest made of metal to photograph here.
The overgrown field where AM730 crashed.
Above and below:-On the ferry to Orkney.
Above and next 3 photos:- Passing Harbour defences while entering Scapa Flow.