The Ben Affleck Challenge.
Vickers Wellington T2707 in Glen Affric.
(Distance covered = 19 mile/Ascent +1042m
There's two routes I could of taken to reach the Wellington wreck in Glen Affric, one was about a 12 mile round trip and one was an 18mile round trip. However the longer route was mostly along a Landrover track so I could utilise the Mountain Bike, therefore I chose to use that one
The Highland Dancing Championships at Inverness usually have a big entry so usually lasts all day, even so doing an 18 mile round trip was going to prove a bit of a challenge, because I would also have an hours drive to the starting point and an hours drive back, plus as I always try to photograph as many pieces at the crashsites as possible probably at least an hour on site.
Just below the carpark, Right from the off the views in Glen Affric are spectacular.
As I knew it was going to be a challenge, not for the distance but for the time, I figured the deciding factor would be how much time I spent riding the bike and how much time I spent pushing it up a hill, therefore quite a few weeks before we were going to Inverness I hit the exercise bike in an attempt to improve my cycling stamina.
Not a bad place to live
When I explained to Heather that I was training for the 'Glen Affric Challenge' she misheard me and began calling it 'The Ben Affleck Challenge', so that's what my planned expedition up Glen Affric became known as.
Notice that its sunny again.
Despite all my training on the exercise bike at the first sign of an uphill gradient I was off the bike pushing it, I think my lungs were up for it but the arthritus in my knees wasn't.
The road was really good at the start but gradually deteriated as it made it's way up the Glen.
Usually when I use the bike to save time on the walk in, it will be uphill all the way out (pushing it)then downhill all the way back(great fun), but along Glen Affric the road was going up and down all the way and I think there was more downhill stretches than uphill stretches, trouble is that mean't more uphill than downhill on the way back.
Despite still having to push the bike up the inclines I was still making good time and after about an hour I was half way there, on the second half of the route however there was going to be a lot of sections where even Bradley Wiggins would have to get off and push, not just because they were steep but because the surface of the track had eroded leaving just large boulders.
Much of the route is on the Affric Kintail Way, from this point the track became decidedly worse.
Half a mile short of where the Wellington crashed there is a Youth Hostel where I planned to leave the bike, it is officially the most remote Hostel in the country. To reach the Youth Hostel it had taken me 2.5 hours. Under one of the benches beside the Hostels Reception is a propeller blade from T2707, so at least I'd found one piece of it!
One of the Wellington's prop blades at the Youth Hostel
Also at the youth Hostel there was a very conveniantly placed suspension bridge which proved handy for chaining the bike to, it also proved handy for getting across to the other side of the burn without getting the feet wet.
Mobile phone masts,fire towers, suspension Bridges, if it doesn't move I will chain my bike to it.
Over the other side of the bridge it was very boggy and there didn't seem to be a distinct path, so I headed diagonally across the slope directly towards the Wellington crashsite which wasn't very far away at all.
Pieces of Wellington T2707
Above and below:-A toothed drive ring from one of the Gun Turrets.
There is quite a lot of wreckage at the crashsite of T2707 including both engines which are totally smashed, a propeller and lots of geodetics. Pieces are scattered over a large area but a lot is concentrated in and around a scar on the hillside which was most probably caused when the Wellington crashed. No one died at this crashsite because the crew had baled out before it hit the hillside.
Next 9 photos:-Pieces of Wellington lying in and around a scar on the hillside
Next 17 photos:-Crankshafts, cylinders/cylinder heads and rocker gears from both shattered engines.
Nest 9 photos:-Pieces scattered around the area of the crash
As is always the case I spent way too much time taking photographs, but I figured as it took me 2.5 hours to reach the Youth Hostel on the way out it should take me about the same going back, so by the time I was back at the bridge and my bike I had enough time to have me butties and change into some nice dry socks before tackling the 8.5mile back to the carpark.
Leaving the Youth Hostel on my way back.
About halfway back to the halfway point(aka 1/4 of the way back)
Affric Kintail Way marker post
These lodges heralded a distinct improvement in the track
Another Affric Kintail Way Marker, this one was approximately halfway between the carpark and the Youth Hostel
This was a nice long downhill section on the way out but now it was a not so nice uphill stretch.
7.5 mile from the Youth Hostel and 1 mile from the carpark, as I was just finishing pushing the bike up one of the uphill bits I passed a couple of backpackers heading for the Youth Hostel, "not far to go" I said to them cheerily, "Oh good" they replied to which I responded "No I mean not far to go for me, you've got nearly 8 miles to go yet" after which I jumped on the bike and sped off down the next hill.
The Carpark end of Loch Affric.
It took me exactly the same time coming back as it did on the outward leg
so I was looking good for arriving back at Inverness in time for the
It always finishes my day off nicely when I find out that Heather has done well in her competition and today was one of those days as she had won the trophy for finishing a very creditable 6th in the Line-up
Heather with Emily Morrison who also finished in the Line up in her section.