Teddy Bear's Picnic
North American Harvard on Little Knock.
(Distance covered = 6.2 mile/Ascent =+604m)
A Championship at Lanark meant I had a little more time than usual, so it was back to BroadLaw to visit a 4th crashsite that I didn't make it to on my first visit and to have another look for two of the other three that I failed to find.
I'd read online that the bridge at Hearthstanes had been removed making
it difficult to get across the River Tweed to approach from the west.
However as I drove down the A701 it became apparent the report I'd read
online must have been out of date as there was now a rather impressive
bridge across the Tweed which wouldn't look out of place on a Railway Line.
The Bridge at Hearthstanes is a prefab unit which was the most cost effective way for the Hearthstanes Estate to replace the old worn out bridge.
I had planned to park at the Megget Stone between Talla and Megget Reservoirs, this is where I parked on my previous visit to Broadlaw, on that occasion I had planned to visit 4 crashsites including the Harvard on Little Knock, but I was a little bit over optimistic and ended up only finding the crashsite of Miles Master N7761(see here). It would have been a much longer route in from the Megget Stone to the south but it would have allowed me to have another look for a DH60 Moth and an ANEC Mistlethrush which crashed close to each other near the top of Broadlaw and which I failed to find last time. However after seeing there was actually a bridge across the River at Hearthstanes I decided to take this much shorter route so I could take my time instead of being in a rush as is usually the case.
Little Knock is the smaller of the two peaks on the skyline beyond the trees.
Across the bridge and a short distance up the track it curved around to the left through a farmyard, so I headed across some fields to the right to pick up another track which ended up at the same place but avoided the farm. I have since spoken to the Estate Manager at Hearthstanes who advised me it is best to go through the farmyard as there is a sign that way advising Walkers of any shooting or stalking activity that is taking place.
Hearthstanes from the alternative track, the track that comes through the farmyard can be seen on the right, they converge half a mile ahead.
The two tracks converged about a mile from the main road, the remains of the old bridge were lying in a heap beside this junction with a road sign dumped on top which read 'danger weak bridge' I didn't think to take a photograph of the irony!
Off up into the woods. The crash site of Master N7761 is off down the valley on the right
It was easier to follow the forest tracks than
head directly for the crashsite, although it probably would have halved
the distance going as the crow flies it would have taken twice as long
battling through the trees. One section of track was through a very dark
bit of forest and I found myself pondering if I might come across any
wolves, bears having a picnic or the Pope using the facilities.
There's not much scenery to look at while walking through woods so there you go!
'If you go down the woods today your sure of a big surprise', 'is a bear catholic, does the pope s**t in the woods'!
The track I followed contoured around a neighbouring hill before crossing a small gully and doubling back on itself to head back along the side of Little Knock.
After finding no sign of any wolves, bears or the pope on the track coming in from the left, a u turn is taken and the track followed off to the right up the side of Little Knock
The track up the side of Little Knock which can be seen ahead on the right.
The track passes just 200yards below the crashsite of the Harvard but the first pieces I came across were right beside it.
A piece of the Harvard lying beside the fence on the right.
Cowling panel from the Harvard lying beside the fence.
I took my queue from the piece beside the fence to head uphill, making very large zigzags in case there was any more pieces scattered down the slope.
The next piece I found was an electrical box, visible near the bottom right corner
Halfway between the fence and the crashsite was a large piece which looked like it could be engine bearers and the firewall.
After finding a few parts on my way up the slope I found the main area of wreckage which lies in a crater which is believed to have been made when the Harvard crashed into the hill but most likely is just the hole where the recovery crew buried the remains at the time of the crash.
The 'crater' with Great Knock in the background
The wreckage lying in the 'crater'
Above and next 2 photos- The largest piece at the site is this lump of port wing
Looking over the wreckage, Hearthstanes and the large bridge can be made out in the distance, the track I used to avoid the farm is the one on the left.
Usually after reaching the crashsite and taking some photos I will look for a nice spot to sit down and eat my butties but on this occasion it was blowing a hooley on the top of little knock so I had to wait until I was back down to the track below and out of the wind.
The Harvard was reported to have flown up the valley running from left to right in the distance then turned up the valley on the immediate right in this photo, the pilot then tried to climb up out of the valley but clipped the ridge to the right of where I was standing and cartwheeled, ending up on the other side to my left where the wreckage is located.
After finding a sheltered spot to have my sarnies I made my way back down to the forest track, re-joining it further up from the first piece of wreckage I found.
Back on the track, Broadlaw is off in the distance.
Not very far into my return journey I found a couple more pieces of wreckage beside the forest track, it made me wonder how these pieces had made it so far from the rest of the wreckage, perhaps they were left here by the recovery crew at the time or dumped by souvenir hunters.
Panels can make their own way this far from the crashsite, blown by the wind but not pieces like this?
A few feet further on and I spotted something another 200 yards downhill
from the track into the trees, on approaching I began to think it was just
a boulder but it turned out to be quite a large fuel or oil tank. I
wondered if it was a possibility the engine had rolled down the quite
steep hill shedding the parts I had found on the way, if so could it lie
in the ravine at the bottom of the hill,
now hidden by the forest.
The tank, found 200 yards downhill into the woods from the forest track .
I ventured about another 200 yards further downhill into the woods from where I found the tank but as the slope was becoming increasingly steep and the woods down there were more Blair Witch than Teddy Bear's Picnic I decided my theory was most likely wrong anyway and headed back uphill to take the forest track back to the car. I also had to start thinking about getting back to Lanark in time for the end of the championships.