Bristol Beaufighter EL457 on Hedgehope Hill.
covered = 10.4 mile/Ascent =+671m)
Heather was entered into a competition over at Dumfries but her and her Mam had a lift today, allowing me to visit the Cheviots without having the usual time limits to worry about.
There's a shorter and easier route to where I wanted to be on Hedgehope Hill, parking at Langleeford in the Harthope Valley and approaching from the north, but I was also planning on visiting two other crashsites to the south of Hedgehope so I parked at Hartside Farm which is as far up the Ingram Valley as your allowed to take your car. The road continues for another mile into the Hamlet of Linhope but past the farm it is private.
The private section of the road leading to Linhope
Walking along the private road towards Hedgehope I could see the third crashsite I was planning to visit, across the valley on Meggrim's Knowe. I knew there wasn't much left at all three I was hoping to visit today but there was a memorial post in place at each one and therefore a target to aim for.
The crashsite of Hawker Hurricane N2522 on Meggrim's Knowe(circled in yellow)
The pictueresque little Hamlet of Linhope
A lot of people who venture up to this end of the valley are going to visit the picturesque waterfall at Linhope Spout, on this day I ignored it and continued past on the farm track towards Hedgehope Hill. I'd climbed Hedgehope from this direction before but on that occasion it was zero viz and raining, not the case today!.
Further along the farm track it was decision time, on my left was Linhope Rig and the crashsite of a german Junkers 88 and on my right was Hedgehope and the crashsite of a Bristol Beaufighter. Whichever one I went to first I was going to end up back at this spot to go to the other one.
Linhope Rig on the left and Hedgehope Hill on the right.
As the slog up to the crashsite on Hedgehope was going to be the longest I decided to tackle that one first, plus I'd already been up there three times previously to look for the Beaufighter back in the late 1980's early 1990's, but as it was buried in thick forest and the grid ref I had was innacurate I hadn't met with much success but I had been close!.
The route towards Hedgehope.
I didn't actualy have to go right to the top of Hedgehope as the Beaufighter crashed lower down on its eastern slopes in an area which is now covered by Threestoneburn Wood so my plan was to head for the top edge of the wood then follow the edge of the wood north to a stream that ran down close to the location.
The top edge of Threestoneburn Wood
My plan to follow the burn downhill to the crashsite was scuppered by the fact there was no evidence of any streams out the top of the woods just bogs and snow, instead I guessed where to enter the woods aided by the nooks and crannies in the contours of its edge being quite accurately depicted on my map. I figured if I got it wrong going down I would definatley be able to identify and follow the correct burn up from the forest track below but as it happened I quickly found the burn and followed it downhill to where the memorial post has been placed.
Above and Below:-The memorial Post in Threestoneburn Wood.
Some pieces of the Beaufighter including ammunition have been placed beneath the Memorial post under a pile of stones, some of them had been cemented in place, presumably to prevent souvenier hunters removing anything else of interest. After photographing the pieces I was very carefull to put everything back where I found it.
20mm canon shells
The memorial Post, hidden deep in Threestoneburn Wood
I then had to make my way back the way I came but I didn't fancy tackling the bogs and snow out the top of the woods again so I continued downhill to a forest track which I could follow south to extricate myself from the woods.
The forest track below the crashsite, the burn would not have been easy to find down here either!
Once back down to the Linhope burn I then had two routes I could take to Linhope Rig, follow the linhope burn upstream then a short steep ascent or backtrack a bit and follow a path up the shoulder of the hill.
The ascent of Linhope Rig up its shoulder was a boggy slog but at least there was a distinctive path to follow all the way and the Ju88 crashsite was just to the left of it near the top so shouldn't be a problem to find it.
Linhope Rig,centre right.
I could find no sign of the Memorial Post where I expected it to be, as it wasn't very clear where the actual top of Linhope Rig was I took a compass bearing from the summit of Hedgehope and from where it intersected the path I was on I determined where I was and where the memorial post should be but still I could not find it.
As my feet were now feeling very cold due to my gaiters failing, allowing snow to ingress over the top of my boots, and as the temperature had dropped quite considerably, not helped by a windchill, I decided to head for home where I could determine where I had gone wrong, then return at a later date. My decision to head home was also aided by Cheviot looking like that scene in the disaster movie 'The Day after Tommorrow' where the freezing clouds roll over the hills and drop down into the valley.
The top of Linhope Rig looking towards Cheviot, now shrouded in some very cold looking clouds.
As I was now going to be returning to have another look for the Ju-88 crashsite at a later date I decided to leave Meggrims Knowe for then as well. When I returned home I had a look at a satelite view of Linhope Rig on Google earth and from that I determined the path I followed up Linhope Rig deviated south near the top from where it was marked on the O/S map so the crashsite and memorial post was actually to the right of it not to the left.I'd only been a couple of hundred yards too far south and if I hadn't been a little bit overconfident in the path I was on being where I thought it should be and taken a second bearing from Shill Moor I would have realised, at least I now knew exactly where it was and had an excuse to visit Linhope again, plus I'd had a gentle reminder never to take anything for granted when navigating in the Hills.