Bristol Beaufort L4479 on Goat Fell,
Avro Anson N4939?
Consolidated B24 Liberator AM261
on Mullach Buidhe.
(Distance covered (both
12.7 mile/Ascent =+1748 m)
On day 4 of my 2017 walking holiday to Arran and Kintyre I had set off to look for 3 crashsites on Goatfell, Arran's highest mountain, the weather had not co-operated necessitating a return visit on day 6.
As with my walk on Beinn Nuis a couple of
days previously I had planned on parking at Brodick Castle and using the
well used tourist path from Cladach to the south of Goat Fell. I was then
going to visit the Beaufort crashsite first then the Anson, then the B24.
As with my walk on Beinn Nuis a couple of days previously I changed my plans, and my starting point. The Warden at Glen Rosa Campsite had told me there was a narrow tarmac'd road running up to a Water Treatmant plant above Corrie to the east of Goat Fell. Parking there instead of at Brodick Castle would save a mile or so of walking and take a little bit off the altitude.
Blueberry Esmerelda Muffin II parked at the Water Treatment Plant above Corrie.
The Warden also took me to show where, what he thought was a large lump of Beaufort wing was stored at the bottom of someones garden in Glen Rosa. It was no longer there and as the house had just changed owners he reckoned the new owners must have disposed of it. It transpired that Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum had actually recovered it and it is now on display at their museum. It was a bit of B24 not Beaufort.
Above and below:-'Take 1',Off up Goatfell on day 4.
On my first expedition to Goat Fell it was raining right from the start, this wasn't a problem until I started to gain a bit of altitude where the rain was augmented by strong winds, and the higher I got the stronger they became. Because of the atrocious weather I abandoned any idea of going over to the Beaufort crashsite which; after seeing the location in nice weather, turned out to be a very sensible idea.
Parting of the ways in Coire Lan, left for the Beaufort and right for the Anson and B24, on this day I went right.
Despite the very strong winds and driving rain I still managed to have a bit search around on Mullach Buidhe but all I managed to find was a small piece of wreckage lying in a burn near the footpath. I had no way of knowing if this was from the Anson or B24 as it was very close to where some pieces of Anson are reported to have been found but also not far downhill from the B24 crashsite.
The questionable piece of wreckage.
On Mullach Buidhe looking for bits of B24, without success.
I eventually had to beat a retreat off Mullach Buidhe, not because I was wet, but because the stuff in my rucksack had become saturated, meaning I no longer had any extra layers should I need them.
Day 6, 'Take 2', off we go again but this time it's not raining.
On day 6 when I reached 'The parting of the ways' in Coire Lan I went left, but I only followed that path until it turned west to follow a ridge up to Goat Fell summit, I continued south to take a shortcut around to the tourist path coming up from Cladach, after crossing that I continued contouring around the hill until I was in Coire Chatan where I found the first piece of Beaufort wreckage.
Waterfall to the south of Goatfell summit.
Above and below:-Relatively flat but boggy stretch between Goatfell and Glenshant Hill.
Entering Coire Chatan, Beaufort wreckage is scattered on the slope on the left from the burn up to the crashsite, which is on the steep side of the hill just over the other side of the bump .
First bit of wreckage I found.
Above and next 2 photos:-Some other bits scattered in Choire Chatan.
Goatfell summit from Choire Chatan.
Scar where the beaufort crashed and burned out.
One of the larger pieces of wreckage.
The Beaufort crashsite is on a very exposed slope that drops down quite steeply into Glen Rosa to the west. I figured some parts must have rolled off down the hill on a slope that steep so I set off down for a look. After finding a couple of undercarriage legs about 50 metres down the hill the thought of the steep climb back up put me off going any further, I was also nearing the limit of my comfort zone. I may have been tempted to go a little farther if I'd spotted something like an engine but luckily a search downhill with my binoculors revealed nothing more that was immediately visible.
Above and below:- Undercarriage legs on the steep slope below the Beaufort crashsite.
The slope below the crashsite, good job I enjoy a bit of a scramble.
Although there's not many sizeable pieces of Beaufort left there was still a lot to see and the location was quite dramatic, so I spent quite a bit of time taking photos. I then found a nice comfortable rock to sit on and enjoy my butties and the views.
Above and below:-Views across to Brodick from Goat Fell.
Glenshant Hill and the flat boggy area I have to negotiate again on the way back.
I spent way too much time at the Beaufort and I still had two crashsite to go and look for so I set myself a deadline of 5pm to be back at the path junction in Choire Lan, if I got there after 5 I would turn right and go back to the car. I was there at 4pm so I turned left and continued up Coire Lan to have a look for the Anson and B24.
I fair scootled up this path as its fairly straight and not very steep, to start with!
Of the two crashsites in Coire Lan I had a grid reference for the B24, but the only clue I had for the Anson's whereabouts was a photograph I had seen in a publication, which showed an area where Anson wreckage was reported to have been found. I found the exact spot where the photograph was taken but no wreckage, other than the previously mentioned piece that was about 50 metres upstream.
above and below:-Locations of stuff in Coire Lan.
1= Location of B24 AM261 wreckage,
2 = Location of mystery piece of wreckage,
3= Reported location of pieces of Anson N4939.
I've now introduced a new category on my list of crashsites that I have visited. Previously I had 'Crashsites found' for where I found a piece of aircraft wreckage or a memorial, then I had 'Failures', which is self explanatory. I've now introduced 'Probables' for the instances where I have some form of evidence that I was at the right spot but didn't find any wreckage or a memorial. I think using my comparison photo as circumstancial evidence and the possible piece of wreckage in the burn, Anson N4939 can go on my 'probables' list.
The area where the photograph I had seen in the book was taken, unfortunately I didn't find any Anson wreckage but that doesn't mean it's not hidden there somewhere!
At first I couldn't find any pieces at the B24 crashsite on the slopes of Mullach Buidhe above Coire Lan either, so as I'd seen a photograph on the internet of the area that some aviation archaeology experts had confirmed as being the crashsite, I took a comparison photo of that, so qualifying the B24 for my new 'probable' category. It eventually ended up on my 'found' list after I discovered loads of pieces of wreckage scattered in the boulders just below where it had hit the hill.
The area where the B24 crashed on Mullach Buidhe.
Above and below:-I found loads of pieces of B24 wreckage in these boulder fields just below where it had hit the hill. wreckage photos
View down into Coire Lan from the slopes of Mullach Buidhe.