Hawker Typhoon RB210 on Wandylaw Moor.
(Distance covered = 2.1mile/Ascent =+60m)
Beaufighter X7588 on Shirlaw Pike.
(Distance covered = 3.1 mile/Ascent =+160m)
On my first outing of 2023, to go and look for the crashsite of a Bristol Blenheim on Hart Fell near Moffat; I had struggled quite a bit on the way up the hill. Although the slopes were quite steep I still felt that I was a little unfit and perhaps a little overweight following the Christmas festivities.
The weeks following my struggle onto Hart Fell I decided to do a few shorter walks in the hope of getting my lungs and my legs into better shape. The first of these walks was to a crashsite on Wandylaw Moor just north of Alnwick; so as well as a short walk it was also a short drive.
My backup car, Amanda the Panda, named Amanda, partly after Newcastle United's new co-owner and partly because it rymed with Panda!
Because I knew there would be narrow country roads and limited parking involved in accessing Wandylaw Moor I left the Shitroen C4 at home, and took my backup car, Amanda the Panda. The little Fiat Panda is much better suited for narrow windy roads and is also much smaller, so ideal for squeezing onto grass verges etc when there is nowhere to park.
The public path through the woods to Wandylaw moor.
At the start of a public path that ran through some woods onto Wandylaw Moor there was a notice stating that the footpath was closed due to fallen trees and there was no alternative route. As I needed to use this path I thought to myself that this was probably health and safety jobsworths at the local council being overly cautious because one tree had fallen over; so, I decided to ignore the sign and headed off into the woods.
Above:- Lovely clear path through the woods, perhaps my theory was correct!
Once I'd climbed over, under, through and around quite a few fallen trees and exited the woods onto the moor; it was a short and very easy walk along Windfarm roads to reach the final resting place of Typhoon RB210. The site was very easy to find as it had been fenced off, but there was no visible wreckage lying on the surface. Luckily I had fetched along my new metal detector which I used to locate a couple of fragments hidden in the long grass.
above and next three photos:- Making my way over Wandylaw Moor to the crashsite.
Digging at any of these sites is illegal unless you have permission off the Landowner and a licence off the MOD, so despite the metal detector pinging loads of buried targets in the fenced off area I was happy just to look for the bits that were on the surface, but hidden in the vegetation. Without the metal detector I doubt I would have found anything here and it would have meant this site would have only qualified for my 'probable' list.
View across to Bamburgh Castle from Wandylaw Moor.
The crashsite is very close to this wind turbine.
View of the crashsite taken from the wind turbine.
Nice view across to Cheviot and Hedghope from my alternative route back to the car.
Back to the Panda after using a much easier route to avoid the fallen trees.
After a successful first outing for my new metal detector I headed off
across to another crashsite which I had already visited back in 2016*,
but had failed to find anything.
This time however I was in possession of two extra things that I
didn't have back then.
After my FTF in 2016 I contacted an Aviation Archeology expert who was a member of the group who originally found remains of Beaufighter X7588 on Shirlaw Pike and he gave me a good description and a photo of where they had found some pieces, and I also now had my Metal detector; so I set off up to the hill using the same route I had used 7 years ago with high hopes of finding something.
On route to Shirlaw Pike.
The route I followed to Shirlaw Pike also involved going through woodland; although it was easy going back in 2016, this tiime, as was the case at Wandylaw moor, I was met with a wall of fallen trees as I tried to exit said woodland onto the moor. The fallen trees had formed what seemed like an impregnable wall with their upturned roots and I had to scratch around for a while until I eventually found a gap just large enough to squeeze through.
Wall of upturned tree roots which performed a reasonably good job of blocking my way out of the woods.
I found this in the mud where I squeezed through the root wall, so I placed it on the fence to act as a marker so I could find the hole on the way back.