Rain and Pain
Airspeed Oxford PH311 on Cairn Trench.
(Distance covered = 7.3 mile/Ascent
This was the last day of my weeks walking holiday while Heather and her Mam were in Canada for the 2014 Canadian Highland Dancing Championships. My legs were starting to feel a bit weary and the weather wasn't too nice but I didn't want to waste the day and it wasn't the most remote crashsite to reach so off I went!
I parked in what looked like a yard used for forestry in Glen Clova between Rottal and Wheen, there was a sign at the gate saying walkers were welcome to park and access the hills from there. I could see the area where the Oxford crashed from the carpark/Lumberyard, I just had to decide whether to go straight up the Shoulder of Cairn Trench to reach it or go the slightly longer route via White Hill.
The location of the crashsite on Cairn Trench(yellow circle)
There's a Landrover track that runs from Rottal Lodge all the way to the top of White Hill so I decided to follow that. Instead of walking back along the road to pick up the start of the track near Rottal Lodge I decided to cut the corner off and headed across what looked like a reasonably flat bit of moorland, it was ok to start with but halfway across was a minefield of hidden tree stumps from a wood that had been felled and numerous times I stood on what appeared to be firm ground only to find out the grass had grown over the top of rotten branches which promptly gave way once my weight was on them.
The Landrover Track on the left going past the Hunting Lodge leads to White Hill
Once through the remains of the old wood
the going was much easier and I soon joined the Landy Track. While I was
walking up the first rise I could hear a loud noise that sounded like a
Panzer Tank was coming down the Hill towards me, when I was almost at the
new Hunting Lodge I could see it was a Gamekeeper on a quad towing a
trailer from the Lodge up White Hill and back again. It was the empty
trailer as he was coming down the hill that was making all the noise.
He passed me several times as I ascended White Hill but never offered me a
Cheetah Engine from the Oxford, Glen Clova can be seen in the distance.
On the ascent of White Hill I began to
get a bad pain just above my right foot, I think I must have overstretched
a muscle while doing battle with the old woods at the start of the walk, Because I had plenty of time I decided to continue as I could take my time and
hopefully walk the injury off.
Even though its half submerged in a bog this Cheetah Engine is in quite good condition
Once onto Cairn Trench I spotted an
isololated Cairn, as there was no reason for it to be where it was, I
thought maybe someone had built it to mark the site of the Oxford crash. It turned out
there was nothing in the immediate area around the cairn but I did spot
something through my binoculors a bit further downhill.
When I got nearer to what I had spotted from the cairn I could see it was only a small group of white flowers, but lying right next to them, which I didn't see from the cairn was one of the Oxford's engines.
One of the engines lying next to the White Flowers that inadvertantly led me in the right direction
By the time I found the Oxford Wreckage a clag had descended onto Cairn Hill obliterating what little views there were and it had begun chucking it down with rain. I battened down the hatches found a rock to sit on and ate my sarnies while waiting for the rain to ease off a bit so I could take some photos.
The second Cheetah Engine and various other parts are buried in this pit
After about half an hour it was still chucking it down and showing no signs of stopping so I used my expensive waterproof camera case (an asda carrier bag with a hole for the lens to stick out) and quickly took a few photos of the wreckage.
A big lump of wooden wing structure from where the undercarriage attached.An almost identical piece can be seen on Shank o Donald Young(see here)
Apart from the first engine I found there was also a pit where the second engine and a lot of other componants had been buried, near the pit was a big lump of wooden wing structure from where the undercarriage attached. As is also the case with Avro Anson crashsites these parts of the wing and undercarriage structure, although with varying amounts of wood still attached seem to be present at every Oxford crashsite I visit.
The bit of wing with the almost concealed burial pit to its right, the other engine can be seen between and beyond them.The Hills peaking through the clag are Ben Tirran and The Goet.
Although the clag lifted a bit off Cairn Trench the rain kept at it, I didn't fancy going back the way I came because that would require some ascent back onto White Hill and my right foot was still playing up. On the way up White Hill I could make out a faint Quad track running up the shoulder of Cairn Trench which joined a Landy track further down and eventually at a junction beside the hunting lodge, the track I had used on the way up. I therefore walked around the hillside until I intersected the quad track and followed that down.
My route out via White Hill marked with yellow dots and my route back down the quad track marked with red dots
The way back down the quad track was much shorter but also much boggier, once I was on the the Landrover track I stuck to it until I was almost at Rottal Lodge as I didn't want to take a short cut and run the risk of encountering any more concealed treestumps. Nearly back to the main road in Glen Clova there was just a couple of hundred yards 'cross country' to avoid walking through the Lodge grounds. While I was getting changed back at the car the rain finally decided to stop and I was treat to a very impressive rainbow, a very nice finish to my weeks walking holiday!