The Storm.
AW Whitley LA877 on Meallan Odhair.
(Distance covered =  21.20 mile/Ascent =+580m)

 Our plan for CC19c had been to visit a Hawker Hunter near Blair Atholl on Saturday morning then drive up to Dalwhinnie and cycle in to Loch Pattack, set up camp and visit the Whitley crashsite, then wildcamp before visiting Wellington L7867 on Ben Alder on the Sunday.

Because we had taken so much time finding a lot more bits of the Hunter than we expected, then suffering a puncture on my bike which delayed us further we changed our plans.

Above and below:-Part 1 of our changed plans, rather large and delicious breakfast at the Snack Shack in Dalwhinnie.*

After pigging out on our slightly late breakfast in the Snack Shack we unloaded the bikes from the car and set off for the quite long walk in, or in our case cycle in to Loch Pattack; a distance of approximately 7.5 mile. During the first mile or so we were subjected to quite a heavy wintry shower which had us thinking it was going to be a bit of an ordeal reaching our destination.

Going under the railway at Dalwhinnie.

Luckily the wintry weather didn't last too long and the sun came back out although for the rest of the distance the weather had that calm before a storm demeanor. We had already given up on the idea of reaching the Whitley crashsite, instead our focus was on seeing how near to Loch Pattack we could get before the failing light dictated we should set up camp for the night.

Gatehouse at the Sheiling.

above and below:-Track alongside Loch Ericht. Both photos were taken at the same time at the same spot, one into the sun one away from the sun!

above and below:-Passing Ben Alder Lodge.

By the time we'd passed Ben Alder Lodge the light was beginning to show signs of failing and there was a foreboding feeling that the weather could turn nasty at any moment. After Ben Alder lodge there was a long straight and uphill section of track that seemed to go on forever, but after that we were able to jump on the bikes and gain a bit momentum down the other side to a forest near Loch Pattack where we  pitched the tents.

Long straight section, my dodgy knees do not like cycling uphill so I pushed the bike up to the top of this.

Almost at Loch Pattack; we camped in the trees on the right.

Our accommodation for the night. Overlooking Loch Pattack.

In the 1980's I was a big fan of a band called 'Big Country', I used to travel around the country going to all their concerts, the best ones were always at Barrowlands in Glasgow. The first Big Country song I listened to and the one that got me hooked on their music was called 'The Storm', and that song is probably the best way to describe the night me and Stuart were about to endure in our tents beside Loch Pattack.

To listen to the Storm click play.

The times I've wildcamped previously I'd been lovely and warm in my sleeping bag but at Loch Pattack I was a bit chilly all night, but strangely very comfortable. In the morning I found out why; the nice dry spot where I'd pitched my tent had flooded during the night so it had been like sleeping on a waterbed, but the icy cold water had also been leaching all my warmth from below. 

View across to Ben Alder and Culra Bothy which is now closed due to asbestos.

As we thawed out with a nice warm cup of tea on Sunday morning we still had designs on visiting the Whitley and the Wellington but we had a pretty good view across to Ben Alder and it was plain to see the Wellington crashsite was covered in snow, so that one was penciled in for CC20 the following summer.

Leaving the campsite, we didn't get far on the bikes as the track past here was too muddy.

We couldn't make a beeline for the Whitley crashsite because of the River Pattack, instead we had to follow it north for just under 2 mile where there was a rickety old bridge that allowed us to cross it. After crossing another bridge over the Allte a Mheallain Odhair burn we turned west and followed that towards the Whitley.

The remains of LA877 lie between the smaller bump on the left and the snow covered hill.

Above and next 5 photos:- Following the River Pattack north.

As well as being a simple case of following the burn up to the Whitley remains someone had laid a trail of small cairns along the path as well, which I dubbed 'The Whitley Way', we didn't follow that but made our own route which involved leaping from one side of the burn to the other a couple of times.

Above and next 4 photos:- Following the Allte a Mheallain Odhair burn to the final resting place of Whitley LA877.

Above and below:-Stuart arriving at the crashsite, with a snow covered Geal Charn in the background.

While searching the internet for information prior to our visit to Meallan Odhar we came across some pieces of LA877 for sale on Ebay.
Best not say what I think of that then!

above and below:- A King George V penny Stuart found at the crashsite above and a photo of one from the internet for comparison below.

above and below:-Reverse side of a second penny above and again a photo from the internet for comparison below.

More crashsite photos.

We did not take the pennies we found to sell on ebay but left them where we found them and set off for the 10 mile plus slog back to Dalwhinnie, but at least we knew a lot of that distance would now be downhill and we had bikes.

Above and next 4 photos:-Following the Allte a Mheallain Odhair burn back down to the bikes.

The Whitley wreckage lies about centre of the photo.

above and below:-The wild and remote Loch Pattack.

above and next two photos:-Passing Ben Alder Lodge on the return journey.

A Mchedgehog in someone's garden in Dalwhinnie.

Snack Shack photos from:-/em>