Handley Page Halifax DG404 on Heathfield Moor,
Vickers Wellington Z8808 on Gouthwaite Moor,
Piper Cherokee G-AVYN on
Ashfold Gill Head.
(Distance covered = 10.5 miles/Ascent =
Vickers Wellington HE226 on
(Distance covered =
4.6 mile/Ascent =+178m)
As Scotland was closed due to the Corona Virus I had to think of an alternative location to do a bit of walking. A week or so earlier I had enjoyed a lovely walk in the yorkshire dales and managed to find three crashsites, so with the weather forecast predicting a warm and sunny weekend I headed off down there again.
This time my targets for the day were two crashsites that had been on my to do list for a while, a Piper Cherokee and a Vickers Wellington, both with substantial remaining wreckage. Because I always prefer going up to Scotland I had never got around to visiting them.
Parked up just down the road from Stump Cross Caverns.
The crashsites I wanted to visit were on open access land but positioned between the open access land I needed to be on and any suitable parking spaces for the car there was a band of non open access land which made planning a route that little bit more complicated. I eventually decided on a slightly longer route than I had planned which had a few advantages over the alternatives:- 1- It was all on open access land, 2-It was a circular route, 3-It allowed me to encompass a 3rd crashsite.
The first mile of the walk was not the most scenic, made worse by the poor visibility.
From this point the scenery and the weather just got better and better.
Got better and better gradually tho!
My Daughter had wanted to accompany me on this walk put she was put off by the the fact there would be no toilet facilities; after walking across the moors for about a mile and two mile from where I'd parked the car I came across a small building which had unlocked toilet facilities. I think the fact I was leaving home at 3am was also a contributory factor in why my Daughter decided against going!
The red door on the end was a toilet with a sink and running water. If there'd been a donation box for using the toilet I would have happily put some money in it!
After walking up and over Hardcastle Moor then dropping down into Ashfold Side Beck the weather was showing signs of adhering to the weather forecast, and the visibility started to improve as a consequence, just in time to allow me to see all the old mine workings on the other side of the valley. By the time I was onto Heathfield Moor and closing in on the first crashsite of the day the sun was shining and the visibilty was unlimited.
Dropping off Hardcastle Moor into Ashfold Side Beck.
Walking upstream alongside Ashfold Side Beck.
above and below:-Some of the old mine workings.
Above and below:-The derelict building at the end of this track signalled it was time to go cross country onto Heathfield Moor.
After walking alongside Ashfold Side Beck for a while the landrover track terminated adjacent to a derelict mine building, this is where I had to cross the beck and head off up Heathfield Moor on the other side of the valley. If I'd followed the Beck another 500 metres upstream I would of arrived at a place named 'Flowery Wham' on the ordnance survey map, I kind of wish I had now just so I could say "I've been to Flowery Wham!"
above and below:-Negotiating some mine workings and Ashfold Side Beck to reach Heathfield Moor.
Once over onto Heathfield Moor it was a simple case of following a stream uphill to the location of the first crashsite I was visiting today; Handley Page Hailfax DG404. A good few years back I took my sons and one of their freinds to see the crashsite of another Halifax in Kielder forest, on that occasion I used the same method of following a stream uphill, but instead of following the stream up Marvin's Cleugh where the wreckage was located we managed to follow the stream up Little Marvin's Cleugh, so #fail on finding anything on that day; on this day I managed to make the same error but because this crashsite was not in a forest the error was easily rectified.
On Heathfield Moor about to follow the wrong stream uphill.
above and below:-Some of the scattered Halifax wreckage on Heathfield Moor.
An intact fuel tank, which judging by it's shape was possibly located in one of the wings.
After finding and photographing a lot more bits of Halifax than I expected to find it was time to do a nigh on 2 mile slog across moorland to reach the final resting place of Vickers Wellington Z8808. On a wet and rainy day this stretch may have been an ordeal but on this day it was glorious and sunny and all the boggy bits were dried out which made the going much easier, but on the downside it was a wee bit hot. My Indiana Jones hat may make me look a bit like a knobhead but on this day it was a life saver!
Me wearing my Indiana Jones hat at the crashsite of Avro Lancaster PD259, I like any excuse to use this photo again!
above and next 2 photos:-Gouthwaite moor, Halifax to Wellington.
above and below:-Approaching Z8808's crashsite.
Although I was happy with finding the remains of Z8808 I was also a little dissapointed at how little remained. Photos I had seen on the internet suggested there was a considerable amount of wreckage still here, there wasn't; the magpies, souvenier hunters, scrap dealers, private collectors, recovery groups and whatever other names you want to call them had probably all been here pilfering pieces for what they will refer to as "preservation" but what that actually means in most cases is "kept in a shed for a few years then discarded".
Because what little wreckage that remained was all concentrated in two areas it didn't take me long to photograph it all, so I had plenty time to have a bit of a sit down in the sunshine to enjoy some refreshments before heading of to crashsite number 3 which wasn't too far away at all.
Off to find the remains of the Piper Cherokee, it's over there somewhere.
Approaching the Cherokee wreckage.
above and below:-Some fairly large bits still at this crashsite.
All I had to do now was walk back to the car but as I was doing a circular route it didn't involve any backtracking and in fact I'd been walking back towards the car since leaving the Wellington site. Having said that I still had just over 3 mile left to go but the weather was spectacular now and the scenery was just as good and this added to the fact I was covering ground I hadn't already, mean't I took more photographs on the return leg of this walk than ever before.
What I describe as a 'tit' on the distant ridge proved a handy landmark to keep me going in the right direction.
Above and below:-These two views looking back towards Ashfold Gill Head and the Cherokee crashsite show how featureless the moor up here can be.
This area was marked on the map as Wig Stones Swamp.
above and next 4 photos:-Rather long but enjoyable descent to Grimwith Reservoir.
above and next 4 photos:-Skirting around the reservoir.
Above and next 10 photos:-Last mile over Knot Head and Nursery Knot and back to Stump Cross.
I arrived back at the car at 15:00 which was one hour before the deadline I had set for going to a bonus 4th crashsite. My "If I've got time" clause has never worked before but today I wanted to make the most of the fantastic weather so I moved the car a couple of miles down the road to Grassington and set off for another walk.
Parked at Yarnbury, up a country lane above Grassington.
Right from the start I would say this walk ranks as one of the loveliest I have been on, helped greatly by the clear blue skies and sunshine. Although on the down side it was swelteringly hot walking along a landrover track which squeezed between two high drystone walls which made quite an efficient suntrap.
Off along a landrover track which was also a public bridalway.
Above and below:- Wall on one side = hot, Wall on both sides = very hot.
Halfway there already, once I popped out from between the two walls there was a lovely breeze on offer.
Above and below:-Making my way to the ruins of Gill House, just past which was the remains of Wellington HE226.
Above and below:-In the meadow above Gill House, the arrows point to the location of the Wellington wreckage.
above and below:-Gill House, or what's left of it anyways.
The Wellington wreckage was easy to find as it lies adjacent to a wall that runs along from Gills House. I did have one problem, in that I was on the wrong side of said wall when I reached the crashsite. I would hazard a guess that I'm not the only one to have found themself in that predicament as a small section of the wall had been knocked over, almost certainly by some clumsy numpty trying to climb over it.
Almost all of the remains had been collected together in 3 or 4 sink holes apart from remnants of a tyre and a few pieces of alluminium lying a short distance to the north east.
Main collection of wreckage.
Arrows pointing to where wreckage can be found.
More wreckage photos
Approaching Gill House on the return jouirney. After passing Gill House on the return leg I was able to take a different route for most of the way back to the car. As I walked through a gate into another pasture I noticed a man standing alone in the middle of the field; he was looking at the ground and I could hear he was talking to his wife. I walked over to where he was standing to ask if he was all right thinking that his wife must have died and he had walked out here for some reason, perhaps it was her favourite spot or where he met her or something like that. Turned out he was a pot holer and so was his wife, who was alive and well down a pothole on the other end of the rope he was holding!!
About to go through the gate where I found the man talking to himself!
above and below:-Nice views back to Gill House.
This walk was one "If I've got time" clause that I was really pleased I did have time to do and it finished off what had been a very enjoyable day of walking in the Yorkshire Dales. I would be back again in a few weeks time to visit 5 more crashsites in the vicinity of Kettlewell.
Back onto the landrover track, once through that gate anyways!
It was now 7pm so this stretch wasn't quite as warm as on the way out.
Arriving back at Yarnbury.