The three Stoogies
Supermarine Seafire PR432 on Hill of Stake.
(Distance covered = 6.6 mile/Ascent =+402m)
As it was a busy Championships at Glasgow I decided to head for the Clyde Muirsheil Country Park and Hill of Stake. Distance wise the Seafire crashsite on Hill of Stake is the farthest to walk of all the crashsites in those Hills, well probably equal longest with the Spartan Cruiser on nearby West Girt Hill.
I knew I wouldn't find much of the Seafire that crashed on Hill of Stake as it was completely recovered in the 1990's, this is one of the crashsites that I regret not visiting back in the late 1980's early 1990's before all the pieces were spirited away. It was however a glorious sunny day and I love an excuse to go to the Clyde Muirsheil Country Park. From the Visitors Centre I followed the old mine track to the north of Queenside Loch then took a south westerley course across Queenside Muir towards Hill of Stake.
Hill of Stake on the left.
Approaching the summit of Hill of Stake I could see a large mast attached to the trig point, I at first thought it was a flagpole someone had put up, but on reaching the summit it turned out to be an Amateur Radio Mast that someone had carried up with them and erected and they were busy using it to talk to people on other hilltops. After chatting to the Radio Man for about 5 minutes another person arrived at the summit, he was there to do a bit of Bird watching. I remember thinking of that television program called 'Three me in a Boat' with Rory Mcrath, Grff Rhys Jones and Dara O Briain, and how they could make another version called 'Three Nutters on a Hill'.
East Girt Hill from Hill of Stake.
From the summit it was a short distance down the other side of the Hill to the area where the Seafire crashed, it was lovely and warm down here and sheltered from any breeze so I ditched the rucksack stripped down to just my shorts and a T-shirt and had a good search around for any remains of the Seafire. The first thing I found was a washer, this however looked new and was very shiny so it may have originated from elsewhere bearing in mind the radio mast being used on the summit above and the bird watcher with his binoculors and camera equipment.
The new looking washer, if this was all I found could I count this as a Crashsite Visited?
My own rules for including a crashsite on my list of 'Crashsites Visited', is I must find a piece of the Aircraft, no matter how small, or a monumant at the actual location of the crash, so if this washer was all I found, despite it being exactly where the crash occured I probably would not have counted this one.
The washer was found below this peat hag.
Luckily I found a few more other scraps that were unmistakenly aircraft fragments and after seeing photos of the wreckage before it was removed, I could see these piece lay where the engine used to be situated.
Quite a few more scraps lying in the scar where the engine used to be.
The small scar where I found most of the fragments
Usually, even after a site has been cleared there will be the odd panel that was left behind or had been windswept, but this site had been very thoroughly cleared and apart from the tiny scraps lying where the engine used to be, the only other piece I found was a tiny shard of perspex.
Tiny piece of Perspex from the Seafire's canopy
Above and below:-There used to be a large amount of the Seafire lying in this area including some large sections and the engine, it has now been very thoroughly cleared. Like the Lancaster in the Monadliath Mountians this is one I regret not visiting during my first shift of Wreckhunting in the 1980/90's.
Instead of going back the way I came I headed south east over East Girt Hill with the intention of following the Black Grain Burn and then the Raith Burn down to the Visitor Centre. Climbing over East Girt Hill was very hot work in the sunshine and I was tempted to take my shirt off, however memories of acquiring some severe sunburn on a hiking trip in the Pennines made me decide against that idea. On that occasion I had visited the crashsite of a Gloster Meteor on Knock Fell then unsuccessfully searched for the remains of a DH60, Anson and a Lockheed Hudson on Cross Fell, I removed my shirt as it was so hot and by the time I was back to the car I had an imprint of my rucksack burnt onto my back.
Leaving the Crashsite, Hill of Stake on the right and West Girt Hill on the left,
The Seafire crashed in the depression between them. There are pieces of another aircraft just the other side of West Girt Hill.
Where the Black Grain Burn met the Raith Burn there was quite a deep gully on either side of me, the Raith Burn coming down from my left and the Black Grain Burn which I had followed to this point on my right. To progress meant I would have to follow the Raith Burn back uphill untill I found an easier spot to cross.
Where the two burns met.
Before I'd walked too far back up the Raith Burn I spotted some waterfalls below so dropped down into the bottom of the gully instead to take some photographs. By the time I'd taken photos of all the waterfalls I was quite a way downstream where the sides of the Gully wern't as steep so I was easily able to climb back out, but on the other side.
Above and next 7 photos:- Waterfalls in the Raith Burn Gully.