James Bond's Money Tree
Supermarine Spitfire R7202 on Darden Rig,
Supermarine Spitfire NH700 on Dove Crag.

(Distance covered =  14.5 mile/Ascent =+591 m)

 Another local competition at Stannington, Dad's Taxi was not required so that mean't I could go off into the hills for as long as I wanted and set off as early as I wanted.

I had arranged to go back to Darden Rig in the Simonside Hills with Jim Corbett, who is an Aviation Archaology expert from the Air Crash Investigation and Archaeology group (ACIA). He was going to help me find the remains of the Spitfire on Darden Rig that I had been unable to find on a previous visit*, but unfortunately I think his Dad's Taxi was required, so he was unable to go.

Blueberry Esmerelda Muffin II parked up at Lordenshaw carpark.

I was going to meet Jim at Hepple Whitefield to the west of Darden Rig, from there it was only a couple of miles walk up to Darden Rig and the track we would be following passed Whitefield Hill on the way, where we were going to look for the impact gouge caused by a Sea Hurricane that crashed there*.
Because I was now going it alone I instead parked at Lordenshaw carpark to the east and went the long way round.

Heading off up 'The Beacon'.

Instead of a 4 mile round trip from Hepple Whitefield I now had a 10 mile round trip from Lordenshaw, but I had all day.  I therefore decided to go the long long way around so followed the St Oswald's Way off to the south west. The St Oswald's Way went via the Coquet Cairn to Fallowlees Farm where I eventually turned north west towards Darden Rig. This extra diversion turned my walk into a 14.5 mile round trip.

above and below:-Off along the St Oswald's Way

Walking to the south west along the St Oswald's Way the weather was a bit overcast and it was windy, but the wind was blowing some blue skies my way so I was optimistic the sun was going to be shining at some point on my walk.
As I approached a small wood about halfway between the carpark at Lordenshaw and the Coquet Cairn I spotted an Eagley Hawkey** type Bird sitting on a fencepost, so an opportunity arose for a bit wildlife photography.

How to take a good  photograph of an Eagley Hawkey type bird.1

1-Spot Eagley Hawkey type bird sitting on fencepost.

2-Carefully and quietly remove camera from bag.

3-Carefully and quietly change wide angle lens for zoom lens.

4-Point camera at Eagley Hawkey type bird that is still sitting on fencepost.

5-Press shutter button.

6-Aw! you bastard!

 As well as having a list of all the aircraft crashsites I have visited on my walks I also have a sideline of waterfall photographs, abandoned tractor photographs, a nice place to have a picnic list and a missed photo oppotunity list. So far on this walk I have added one to the missed photo opportunities.

Saying as I'd just acquired a good photo of a fencepost I thought I'd take another!

Just after my #fail at the wildlife photography I came across an impressive sign for what I could only think was where James Bond moved to after his house at Skyfall was blown up. As well as its name the fact it was hidden in a wood miles from the nearest road also added weight to my theory.

The woodland around Spylaw was like an oasis in the middle of a bleak windswept moorland and it was nice and sheltered from the chilly gusts, but the respite was short lived and I was soon exposed again as I set off to tackle the second leg across to the Coquet Cairn.

Leaving the shelter of Spylaw.

At the far end of Spylaw woods I came across a curious little tree that for some reason had three layers of fencing and some barbed wire protecting it, while all the nearby trees had nothing. As my imagination was still a bit chuffed with itself for coming up with the James Bond theory it decided that this must be a young Money Tree, because what else would merit all the expense the owners had gone to to protect it.

Above and below:-Still on the St Oswald's Way, nearing the Coquet Cairn.

The Coquet Cairn was actually just a bump with the remains of a stone wall on the top, no cairn and nowhere near the River Coquet either, so why it was called that I don't know.
The second stage of my walk was though a forest, so I was sheltered from the wind and as the blue skies and sunshine had started to catch up with me it became nice and warm.

Above and next 7 photos:-Passing the Coquet Cairn and walking through Harwood Forest.

The log where I sat to have some bait, number 32 on my 'nice place to have a picnic' list.

Just before reaching Fallowlees Farm and the remains of Fallowlees Castle I had to part company with The St Oswald's Way and start off to the north west to reach Darden Rig. There was forest tracks to walk on all the way but I was going to have to be carefull to follow the right ones.

The St Oswald's Way went into the trees to the left here, I had to follow the track to the right.

A four way crossroads of forest tracks, I managed to take the right one! n.b, that's right one as in correct not opposite to left!

Between Lough Hill and Chartners.

If you don't like noisy neighbours, in fact if you don't like neighbours, in fact if you don't like people full stop, then I found the perfect house at Chartners, I could quite happily live there. It would be a bit of a chore nipping to the shops for some milk though and I don't think you'd be popular with the postman or the Dominos delivery man, especially in the winter.

The house at Chartners, right in the middle of Harewood Forest. You have to negotiate a maze of forest tracks to reach it.

Just a mile past Chartners I arrived at the quarry just below the top of Darden Rig. I could see some people on the top of Darden Rig and wondered if they were looking for the Spitfire remains as well so I started walking over towards them. They must have thought to themselves "He looks like a nutter", because as soon as they spotted me they scarpered.

The quarry just below the summit of Darden Rig.

Jim Corbett had sent me a photo of himself standing beside some pieces of the Spitfire on Darden Rig so I knew exactly where to look this time, but despite spending about 2 hours searching every inch of heather in the area I still couldn't find anything. I was now becoming a bit fed up so I walked over to a nice large and flat looking boulder to have a sit down, eat a buttie and decide whether to give up or not. Right next to the boulder almost totally concealed by the heather was some pieces of the Spitfire!

Pieces of Spitfire R7202, well hidden in the heather.
For more wreckage photos Click Here.

Above is a photo I took of Darden Rig in 2016 when I failed to find any pieces of the Spitfire,
Below is more or less the same photo on this visit in 2017. 'A' is pointing to where I was standing when I took the photo above and 'B' is pointing to where I eventually found some pieces of Spitfire.
I always manage to just miss finding Spitfires at the first attempt!

Well happy that I could now add Spitfire R7202 to my list of crashsites visited I had a nice long rest sitting on that boulder in the sunshine. Before leaving I had another search around between where I found the pieces and where Jim Corbett found some pieces but I found nothing else so headed off towards Whitefield Hill.

Whitefield Hill from Darden Rig.

View west from Darden Rig.

I found the remains of the Sea Hurricane on Whitefield Hill on my first visit up here*, so today I was just looking for the impact gouge, which Jim had told me was halfway between the shooting hut and the top of the hill where the Sea Hurricane remains lie. I found a few scars but unfortunately I lacked the expertise to differentiate between what might have been caused by a plane crashing and what might have been caused by erosion, so the only way I could have been sure was if I found some pieces of Hurricane in the scar, which I didn't, but never mind, it gave me something to do!

The top of Whitefield Hill, the scant remains of the Sea Hurricane are just below the small crag in the foreground.

Now I had the monotonous slog over the top of Tosson Hill to look forward too, but the weather was now nice and sunny and the wind had buggered off, so it proved to be quite pleasant and the cracking views off to the north helped.

The path literally goes straight up and over the hill.

Nice views off to the north.

Whitefield hill, the Sea Hurricane remains lie between the bump on the right
and the small step to it's left.

Above and below:-Views back to the west from the ascent of Tosson Hill.

Approaching the summit of Tosson Hill, no scotch eggs or KitKat chunky this time.

Above and next 3 photos:-Descending down the east side of Tosson Hill towards Simonside Crag.

Walking back this way on my previous visit I couldn't decide whether to walk along the top of the Simonside Crags ridge or go along the bottom, today I didn't have that problem because I wanted to have another look for a Spitfire MkXIV that crashed below Dove Crag at the far end of the ridge.

Dove Crag, right of centre in the distance. Spitfire NH700 crashed on the relatively flat ground to it's left where the landrover track can be seen going over the rise.

I also failed to find any sign of this one last time I came here, because of forestry debris, snow and the fact that any remaining pieces were most probably buried*.  Since then a markerl post has been erected on the site and as I count memorials/marker posts as finding something it would mean I could also add NH700 to my list.
I was confident I would find the marker post easy enough as I had a 10 digit grid reference from where members of the ACIA group had previously found pieces, so I figured that's where the post would be. It was in a clearing about fifty metres to the west, although I walked right past it walking east when I turned around to face west I spotted it straight away as the sun was reflecting off the plaque like a mirror.

above and next 2 photos:-Marker Post erected at the crashsite of Spitfire NH700.On my previous visit to look for this crashsite I actually stood on that large boulder to take a photograph, the marker post wasn't there then and although I searched this area I didn't have a metal detector or a Licence to dig so I didn't find any pieces.

Pieces of NH700 placed around the base of the marker post.

For more wreckage photos click here.

At least from this crashsite I didn't have a long slog back to the car as it was just over a mile from here back to the car park at Lordenshaw and most of that mile was on a lovely new stone pavement they were busy constructing.

Approaching The Beacon in the lovely late evening sunlight.

The nice new pavement being built from the carpark to the top of The Beacon.

Although I would have been happy walking another 14.5 mile
my feet were happy to see the end of the walk.

No abandoned Tractors or Waterfalls today but I managed to acheive everything else in a very long but very enjoyable walk, and of the three DKSoHD*** girls who were competing at Stannington, two had won their age groups and the third had finished as close runner up. A brilliant weekend all round was made even better when Newcastle United knicked the championship title from Brighton right at the end of the final match of the season.

Above and Below:- A great weekend all round.
The DKSoHD girls, Chloe, Alice and Heather, with their trophies and medals for winning at Stannington and Rafa with his trophey for winning the Championship.

*-Previous visit.

**-Bill Oddie I most certainly am not!

***-DKSoHD = Donna Kimberley School of Highland Dancing.




Click this link for more information about the crashes
Simonside Hills crashes