Hoy part 1, Battle of the
Chance Vought Corsair JT461 on Enegars,
B24 FL949 on the Cuilags.
(Distance covered =
9.3 mile/Ascent =+641m)
I love going on the ferry, it's like going abroad on holiday; at the end of day 9 of my 2019 walking holiday we went on the ferry to Orkney.
The first day over on Orkney was a rest day from walking. I went for a drive around the Island having a look at the scenery and some of the wartime archaeology that is in abundance on the island, before meeting Stuart at the Krkwall Vintage Car rally. At the rally we were going to check out a display by Argos, not the well known retail store but instead a group called 'Aviation research group Orkney and Shetland' .
View of Hoy from the northen end of Orkney.
Not sure if this is a Bonxie but I photographed it anyways!.
Bit of Bentley action at Kirkwall Rally.
Above and Below:-Impressive relic at the Argos Display. Complete Spitfire wing recovered from an airfield dump on Orkney.
More Argos relics.
The following day started off with another trip on a ferry, this time it was a smaller passenger ferry from Stromness on Orkney across to Moaness on Hoy. The weather was not promising as we arrived at Stromness harbour with driving rail and quite strong winds; perhaps because of this the only things to board the ferry other than the crew was us and a bag of mail.
Our transport to Hoy.(The blue and white one with the crane!)
Leaving Stromness on a slightly deserted ferry.
The first couple of miles of our walk on Hoy was a little depressing, as it involved trudging up a long straight road in zero visibility and torrential rain. We left the road where it took a sharp turn north and continued roughly west on a path for a short distance, then turned north ourselves to head off piste towards our first objective.
Heading north to contour around the northern shoulder of Cuilags.
We had been warned about a large seabird that lived on Hoy; the Great Skua, more commonly known as a Bonxie, it was reputed to be very aggressive with it's favoured tactic being to swoop down from behind and strike you on the back of the head. We were now entering what I would describe as 'Bonxie Alley'.
above and below: Bonxies, quite large seabirds that are not at all scared of Humans.
Fortunately for us it was not Bonxie nesting season, so they were not as aggressive as they can be, but we still had to be wary as several of them took the time to dive bomb us as we made our way around into the coire below Enegers.
Stuart and Chloe being strafed by a Bonxie.
A large ferry on it's way to Stromness from Scrabster on the mainland.
These three, peeking over the ridge, must have been thinking "What are these three nutters doing here on a day like this".
Stuart and Chloe enjoying another close pass by a Bonxie.
above and below:-The ominous looking cliffs of Energers.
There's some quite formidable looking cliffs and gullies at Enegeres but luckily for us the Corsair wreckage we were looking for was in a more manageable gully towards the western end of the cliffs.
The corsair crashed on the skyline at the centre of the photo but wreckage is scattered down the gullys to where Stuart and Chloe are standing.
The first bit we came across.
About half way up the gully we encountered a waterfall in a particularly narrow and steep section of the gully, Stuart and Chloe bounded up it with ease but my dodgy knees wern't having it, so I had to make a detour up a smaller gully on the right which turned out to be even steeper than the one I was trying to avoid.
above and next two photos:- making our way up the gully.
above and below:-Crashsite of Corsair JT481 at Energers on Hoy.
More crashsite photos.
By the time we arrived at the Corsair wreckage the rain had stopped and by the time we left to head over to the B24 wreckage on the top of Cuilags the cloud had started to lift. The climb away from Enegars up onto Cuilags proved to be very hard going as the vegetation under foot was very soft and springy and quite adept at sapping our energy.
The clifftops of Energers lurking in the mist. Above and below:-Two views of the Corsair crashsite taken from the ascent of Cuilags.
Once onto the top of Cuilags the going was much easier and although we'd walked back up into a cloud it was not raining; by the time we reached the B24 crashsite the cloud had dissapeared and the rest of our day was spent in blue skies and sunshine.
Heading up Cuilags, although the going doesn't look to bad the ground was spongy and tiring to walk on. On the top of Cuilags.
Nearing the B24 wreckage on the other side of Cuilags. above and next 5 photos:-B24 wreckage scattered on the top of Cuilags. More wreckage photos After spending quite a bit of time searching for bits of the very scattered wreckage on the top of the hill we started off down the steep eastern side of the hill to regain the path we had left earlier in the day. We were going to follow that path down to Rackwick Bay where we intended to stay in the Bothy there for the night; before reaching it we found several other bits of B24.
The window from the B24 waist gunners position. Rackwick Bay can be seen in the distance. above and below:-A model of a B24 below showing the position of the window found on Cuilags above.
On the decent to the Rackwick Bay path. This steep slope was littered with B24 wreckage. above and next 4 photos:-The long but enjoyable stroll down to Rackwick Bay.
View back the Cuilags from Rackwick Bay. When we arrived at the Bothy we were dissapointed to find it was full, there were no people there but all the sleeping areas were occupied by sleeping bags, rucksacks and climbing gear, it would seem climbers off to the Old Man of Hoy had used a variation of the classic german tourist tactic of reserving the sunbed with a towel. Because the Bothy was apparently fully booked we had to resort to plan B so started to erect our tents; unfortunately the local Midge objected to this course of action and undertook a mass protest. We ended up staying in the local Hostel! Above and below:The Midge were so prolific I was forced to take cover under my unerected tent. Rackwick Bay Hostel, with access to a shower and warm comfortable bunk beds we decided the midge did us a favour by forcing us to spend the night in here.