Bog and Boulders
Avro Ansons N9589 and W2630 on the
Clints of the
(Distance covered = 12.1 mile/Ascent
My plan on this day was to get a hat trick of Avro Anson wrecks, the two on the Clints of the Spouts and one on nearby Craigronald. As is usualy the case I ran short of time for picking the girls up from a competition in Dumfries and only made it to the first two.
I took my bike to save a little time on the walk in as it was about 3 mile along the forest tracks, although they looked level enough in places the forest tracks were actually slightly uphill all the way so I ended up pushing the bike most of the time. This mean't the return journey would be a lot easier and quicker though.
View across to Cairnsmore of Fleet from the walk in.The Clints of the Spout are the cliffs beyond the lighter coloured trees in the centre.
I left the bike behind some trees about 1 mile short of Loch Granoch Lodge. I figured this was about halfway between the Clints of the Spout and Craigronald so if I made a large circle I would end up back at the bike.
Loch Grannoch taken from just above where I ditched the bike.
An initial steep climb up onto Little Multaggert proved to be very tough going as the ground was very tussocky and boggy and it didn't improve much over the distance to the Clints.This area is a nature reserve and there were no sheep which meant no sheep tracks to follow either.
Approaching the Clints of the Spout,where it wasn't boggy it was boulder strewn!
Battling through the bogs, boulders and knee deep heather, some of which was concealing boulders, I was pleased I wasn't going to be returning this way. I was also half expecting to meet the odd Adder or two in amongst the boulders, being as it was a nature reserve, but I think they could all hear me cursing every time my foot dissapeared down an unseen ditch or hole so they had plenty of time to get out of the way.
The Clints of the Spout. The location of the two Anson crashes are circled in yellow.
The going became a little easier once I reached the lower flanks of Meickle Multaggert which I contoured along to the northern end of the clints. Surprisingly I couldn't see any sign of the two Ansons even through my binoculors but aircraft alloy and engines can be almost identical in colour to rocks and boulders and there was plenty of those scattered about.
One of W2630's Cheetah engines, notice the similar colour of the engine and boulders
The first engine I spotted was lying down
at the foot of the cliffs in a boggy area, once I'd found that I followed
a trail of wreckage uphill to find a second engine which was wedged
between some large rocks.
W2630's second Cheetah engine, as it's lying in a boggy area it was in poorer condition than the one further up the hill.
next 3 photos:-The other engine, nearer the cliffs and wedged between some
Pieces of undercarriage .
Following a trail of parts up the hill which included the other undercarriage leg.
It is sometimes possible to tell the exact spot where the aircraft burnt out or was broken up, as there will be lots of small parts and fixings scattered around. I found this spot at the top of a trail of peices just below the cliffs.
Looking down the hill from the spot where the Anson ended up.
I couldn't see any sign of N9589 in amongst the boulders but I knew it was only about 100 yards away so I just walked south below the cliffs until I found a 3rd engine. As Avro Ansons only had two engines and I'd already found two engines near to each other 100 yards back, I knew I had found remains of the second Anson.
Third engine of the day below the second Anson crashsite.
N9589's crashsite is an almost replica of W2630's. One engine lies in a boggy area at the bottom of the hill and the second one is higher up wedged against a rock. One of the undercarriage retraction units has survived at this one as well.
4th engine of the day and another u/c retraction unit.
Anybody who came across this crashsite and didn't know that two Ansons had crashed could be forgiven for thinking it was a four engine plane that had met it's demise here.
W2630's second engine
There is a waterfall that falls off the top of the Clints of the Spout roughly half way along them, it's called 'The Spout of the Clints'. translated from Gaelic to english they would be 'The Cliffs of the Waterfall' and 'The Waterfall of the Cliffs'. Perhaps whoever was in charge of naming all the hills around here was at the end of a long day when he came up with those two names!
'The Knee of Cairnsmore', a little but of thought may have gone into that one at least.
After spending way too much time taking photos and searching around amongst the boulders I had to decide whether I would have enough time to head over to Craigronald. As I didn't fancy tackling the bog and boulders obstacle course again I decided to head up the steep incline onto the baelach between Cairnsmore of Fleet and Meickle Multaggert and decide then.
Meickle Multaggert from the lower slope of Cairnsmore of Fleet,I came up the gully between them on the right
Once I made it onto the top of Meickle Multaggert I decided there was no way I could cover the last mile over to the Anson crash on Craigronald*, take some photos, get back down to the bike, cycle to the car and drive back to Dumfries in time for the competition finishing so I dropped down the other side then headed straight back to where the bike was. The going this way was ten times worse than what I experienced on the way out and by the time I eventually arrived at Dumfries I was 45 minutes late.