Four Coo's and a quarry
Avro Lancaster ME729 at the Black Rocks
There was no competition at Dumfries on this day (21st May 2016) but Donna was going over to help at a friends Highland Dancing class, this mean't I only had 3 hours to fill, which wasn't enough time to head off up a hill so instead I went to check out a crashsite that is right next to a main road.
There's actually two crashsites right next to the A713 between Carsphairn and Dalmellington, I'd already been to one of them, a KB29 Superfortress* near Brockloch Tower, so today I was going a couple of miles further north to look for any remains of an Avro Lancaster that crashed into an area known as the Black Rocks.
Above and below:-Some locals passed on the way to The Black Rocks, I think the one below was the head cow as it had two earrings!
The Lancaster crashed just above an old quarry which made the location very easy to find and there was a conveniantly placed layby just a couple of hundred yards up the road.
The pug, parked in the layby on the A713.
The Lancaster was reported to have crashed above the quarry with wreckage being scattered down the slope, over the road and into the burn on the other side. Unfortunately the conveniantly placed layby had also proved conveniant for flytippers so although the burn contained quite a lot of debris there was nothing that was obviously Lancaster wreckage. I did find what looked like the smashed and rusted remains of a radio but of course it was more likely what was left of an old telly and a large alloy panel half buried in the mud turned out to be a piece of lino!
View north up the A713 from the layby, the Black Rocks are on the right.
Undeterred by my lack of success in the burn I made my way up the quite
steep slope to the grid reference where a Museum group had found some
fragments of the Lancaster, but after having a good hunt around I found
absolutely nothing, not even an old TV or a bit of Lino.
The old Quarry.
Having found nothing at the given grid ref I searched every boulder field or area of rocks in about a half mile radius, and all the grassy areas in between as well, but there was not the tiniest scrap to be found. There was several times I thought I'd spotted something through the binoculors but when I got closer it was some of those annoying white stones that look like aircraft alloy from a distance. This is one of those instances when I wished I had a metal detector as there was probably pieces concealed in the grass or amongst the boulders.
above and below:-The area where the Lancaster crashed.
View down to the A713 and quarry from above.
Near the top of Mossdale Craig, The 'Black Rocks' would appear to be a local name as it doesn't seem to appear on any maps.
In October of 2022 I returned to the Black Rocks but this time I was accompanied by my friend Stuart, who had fetched along his metal detector. We don't engage in digging in any form, we were merely going to use the metal detector to search for any remains of the Lancaster which may be hidden amongst boulders or under vegetation. It transpired however that we didn't need the detector initially as about 100m north of the quarry and right next to the road we came across a white stone with ME729 and the date of the crash painted on it, and scattered around this were several fragments of the Lancaster.
This photo encompasses most of the area I searched on my first visit in 2016, the wreckage we found in 2022 was a lot lower down the slope, next to the road.
Marker stone on the slopes near the A713 just south of Dalmellington.
Although the metal detector was not needed to find the first fragments of ME729 it did prove very usefull to find quite a few others concealed in boulders, and by logging the location of all the pings on the metal detector we were able to estimate which way the Lancaster was travelling and where it had initially hit the hillside.
There was a large amount of pings on the detector in this area, as there were none prior to this area we deduced this is most probably where ME729 first impacted the slope.
above and below:-Following the trail of detector pings. ME729's wreckage was reported as being scattered down the slope and across the A713 into the burn on the other side.
Standing beside the burn on the other side of the A713 looking back along the trail of Wreckage. We believe the Lancaster first struck the hillside just beyond the rocks arrowed. The white painted rock is visible just left of centre of the photo.
On my way back to Dumfries in 2016 I came across the four Highland Cows that I'd passed on the way, but now two of them were lying in the middle of the road and they refused to move. When I wound the window down and shouted at them to shift a third one standing beside the road looked at me as if to say "Have you seen the size of our horns".
This cow was not impressed by my polite request for them to move.
At this point the head cow with the two earings stopped eating and walked over to the cow that was giving me the evil eye, it then proceeded to flick its head and catch the other cow right in the bumhole with one of its horns, this had the effect of makling it scarper up the road and the two that were blocking the road got up and followed it. Unfortunatley the four of them then decided to take a very leisurely stroll up the middle of the road for about half a mile and not fancying one of their horns through the side of my car I just had to totter along behind them.
above and below:-I was only able to get passed when the head cow decided that 'passing place' actually meant 'Arse sctratching post'.