Low Flying Farmers
HP Halifax NR126 on Wether Cairn and
Blackburn Botha L6531 on Hazeleton Rig.
(Distance covered = 7.1 mile/Ascent = +419m)

 The second Championship of the year was being held today in the Lagoon Sports Centre in Paisley. The girls had a lift there and back and wern't planning on going to any shows afterwards, so Dad's Taxi services were not required all day!

If the weather had been nice I had contemplated having a walk up to Braydon Crag on the Cheviot, to the B-17 crashsite up there, going via a Spitfire on nearby Bellyside Hill and a Wellington on West Hill. I'd been to these sites before but back in the 1980/90's. I was back at Bellyside Hill in 2014* but didn't find anything, as was the case when I went in the 90's, however I believe there's a memorial post there now so I was sure it would be third time lucky for that one. The weather turned out to be overcast and a bit breezy and it looked like it could deteriate as the day went on so instead I opted for a slightly shorter walk on a slightly lower hill.

Parked up near the end of the road to Ewarty Shank.

There's a few routes I could have taken to the top of Wether Cairn, but I chose the walk in from the north east, as I could go via Hazletonrig Hill, where a Blackburn Botha crashed. I didn't expect to find anything at that one as it is mentioned in a book I have where the Author described visiting the site in 1978 and had found nothing back then, so the odds of finding anything 38 years later were slim to say the least, but there was no harm in having a look.

The nice well signposted path soon turned into a bogfest!, Hazletonrig is the hill dead ahead.

I could see that Hedghope and Cheviot over to the north were covered in clag ,but Wether Cairn was clear, so I was happy I had made the right decision and although it was a bit grey and overcast it wasn't raining, but it was cold.

'Pigdon's Leap',seems Mr Pigdon was a cattle rustler who was being chased; but unlike Donald Young** he escaped capture, by leaping across this gorge.

One of the Waterfalls in Pigdon's Leap, I didn't have my tripod for this one so it's a little blurred, not the water, thats meant to be blurred.

As there were Farmers flying everwhere on Quad bikes I stuck to the public path until I was around the other side of Hazletonrig below where the Botha crashed. I then headed uphill and had a bit of a root around in case I got lucky and found some pieces, as I expected there was not the slightest sign that anything had happened here.

Above and below:-The area where the Botha crashed on Hazleton Rig, taken from above, below and below, above. Shame I've already used the 'Above and Below' title.

As I started climbing away from Hazletonrig towards St David's Cairn I was passed by yet another Farmer on a quad bike,this one had a large entourage of Sheepdogs following behind. I figured if I gave him a friendly wave and a cheerfull "Good Morning" he might stop, then I could ask him if he'd ever come across any pieces of the Botha. The only response I received for my efforts was a menacing scowl as he drove past, I suppose he had more important things to be getting on with.

The view across to Hedgehope Hill on the left and Dunmoor Hill on the right. My Car is parked just to the right of the woods in the centre.

View back down to Hazletonrig from St David's Cairn.

'St David's Cairn' should be more acurately called 'St David's slightly naff Stell!

At the top of St David's Cairn there was a fence, over which the landscape made an obvious change from Sheep to Grouse, this meant the nice quad tracks I had been following to this point were now replaced by deep heather and boggy sikes.

Approaching Wether Cairn

When the Halifax crashed on Wether Cairn there were 6 bombs still on board, these were disposed of in controlled explosions during recovery of the Halifax wreckage. Five of the craters caused by this are still very evident today, the sixth crater was used to bury what was left of the Halifax after recovery.

above and next two photos:- The six bomb craters, the large one above is actually two as these two bombs were detonated very close to each other.

Because of there being no doubt that this is where the Halifax crashed; thanks to the Bomb Craters; I was undecided whether or not to count this one on my list. Although I had found something it was not a piece of the Aircraft or a memorial, but this didn't actually matter because just to the south of the bomb craters I found an area of bare soil which has been confirmed by an expert from ACIA as being where the Halifax crashed. Lying on the top of this bare area I found a few tiny fragments of the Halifax.

The scar where I found some tiny fragments.

Tiny fragments of Halifax, not much but enough to qualify this one for my 'Crashsites Found' list

To avoid the bog slog back over to St David's Cairn I headed downhill from the Halifax crashsite towards Singmoor. Just before reaching the small woods at Singmoor I picked up a public path that I could follow east which crossed the path coming from the north that I had followed from the car.

Nice spot to have my Bait!

The path to the east proved easy to find and to follow as someone had been driving a massive Tractor along it which had cut foot deep ruts into the soft peat.

A slightly more substanial Stell in Iving Cleugh, note the Tractor tracks up the hill.

above and below:-Location of the Botha crash taken from the moor above Singmoor.

Back onto the path I had followed down from the car on the way out.

Tod Stones, remains of an abandoned farmstead next to Pigdon's Leap.

It would appear from this photo that I'd tried a bit off roading, made it to the top of the hill then  become stuck in a bog.

Another photo from a bit nearer gives the show away!

 Meanwhile up at Paisley, Heather had continued her brilliant start to the 2016 Championship season by finishing 6th in the Line up. In a large group consisting of 24 of the top Dancers in the country this was a fantastic acheivement, and as always this news was a great way to end an enjoyable days walking for me.

*--Bellyside Hill

**--Donald Young