The Evil Eagle Bastard!
Fairey FireFly PP566 on Meickle Bin.
(Distance covered =
6.6 mile(1st visit))
Meickle Bin is in The Carron Valley, not far at all from Denny, where there is a monthly Highland Dancing competition. Because of this I have been to Meickle Bin quite a few times.
When the weather is not particularly pleasant or when the competition at Denny has a low entry and consequently isn't going to take as long as usual, I will just nip along to Meickle Bin. I now look upon Meickle Bin as my training hill , where I go to keep fit or to practice foul weather navigation when circumstances dictate that I cant go farther afield. This is also the case for Criffel over beside Dumfries.
Meickle Bin from the other side of Loch Carron.
On my first visit to the Firefly crashsite I took my Bike to save time on the forest tracks, as is usually the case it didn't save me much time going uphill, as I spent most of the time pushing it, but what took me over an hour going up took only 10 minutes going down. Since my first visit some lovely new paths have been constructed and large wooden signposts put in place, all of which seem to point towards a carpark, so as long as you remember which carpark your cars in you should'nt get lost.
Large signpost on the way up Meickle Bin.
This section of path replaced what was a mudfest on my earlier visits.
Peices of the Firefly have managed to scatter
themselves from almost one km west of the summit over to about a half km
east, with a big lump of wing sitting almost on the summit
A lump of starboard wing lying to the east of the summit.
Its not necessary to climb to the summit to reach the pieces to the east and they're very close to one of the marked footpaths which starts below Bin Bairn then goes along the valley between Meickle Bin and Little Bin. Seems there's a bit of a 'Bin' theme going on here!
On my first visit I went to the pieces below the eastern slopes first, from there it was seemingly straight up to reach the summit, so I made large zigzags which also enabled me to search for any other bits that may have ended up on this side of the Hill. On later visits I followed the tourist path right to the top. One thing I remember about reaching the summit this way, (well apart from a lone fir tree that someone had dressed with baubles and tinsel) is the amount of false tops encountered. For those who do not partake in the odd walk up a hill, a false top is one form of terminology used to describe what appears to be top of the hill, but when you reach what appeared to be the top of the hill there is another 'top of the hill' which was concealed from your view by the 'top of the hill' you just walked up. False Tops are more numerous and annoying when visibility is not very good!
Slogging up the east side of Meickle Bin allows some good views across to Loch Carron.
The next piece I came across was a large lump of the port wing which is lying just below the summit. About 500yards below this wing section to the west is the Rolls Royce Griffon engine.
This lump of wing is very near to the summit of Meickle Bin
I used to think that this bit of Firefly wing just below the summit could possibly be the most visited piece of aircraft wreckage in the country but that was before I visited some wrecksites in the Peak District. A lot of people mistakenly think the Firefly wreckage on Meickle Bin is from a german bomber, because some German Aircrew are buried at nearby Lennoxtown Cemetary, but its definately a Royal Navy Firefly.
Two views of the wing, the undercarriage leg and the cannon ports.
I've now visited 3 Firefly crashsite where there are substantial pieces remaining, on Meickle Bin, Blaeloch, up near Largs and Lochnagar in the Cairngorms. One piece easily recognised at all three is a large triangular shaped casting which is part of the wing folding mechanism.
After the port wing it was time to visit the engine which is downhill to the west at the treeline, it was easy to find, firstly as I spotted it through my binoculors and secondly because a path has been worn by all the people going down to have a look.
The engine, just above the treeline.
Needless to say the engine has been stripped of anything easily removable by the cursed souvenier hunters, as indeed the wing section has.
Whats left of the rocker gear and an exposed section of crankshaft with a big end, conrod and base of a piston visible.
Two views of the engine,in the photo on the right can be seen where thieving souvenier hunters have smashed the crankcase to try and steal the pistons.
On one visit along the Carron Valley I noticed an Eagley, Hawky type bird sitting on a fencepost beside the road, I quickly turned the car around with visions of a fantastic photo of a bird of prey with the loch and Meickle Bin as a backdrop. Just as I got my camera out to take said photo the beastie flew off and landed on another fencepost further down the road, I followed it in the car, stopped grabbed my camera and the beastie flew off again before I could take the photo. This bird was having a laugh, so after about 8 attempts at getting the photo with the little shit flying off everytime I was about to take the shot, I had to settle for a crap one of it flying off laughing at me!
A crap photo of an annoying bird
I have now cycled up Meickle Bin, walked up Meickle Bin, walked around Meickle Bin clockwise, walked around Meickle Bin anticlockwise, walked over meickle Bin, walked over Meickle Bin the opposite way, walked up Meickle Bin in the sun, walked up Meickle Bin in the rain. Well I think you get the idea!
It wasn't cold, really!
Oh! I've also ran up Meickle Bin as well, just the once though!