Smokey and the Bandeirante.
AW Whitley BD295 on Cawdor Moor
(September 2016)
(Distance covered = 12.5 mile/Ascent =+526m)

 I like a trip up to Inverness; the competitions we go to up there are always Championships and they usually go on until 6 or 7pm so I have plenty time to go off wandering in the local Hills.

Today I was hoping to go and visit the crashsites of two AW Whitleys, both just back down the A9 a short distance, one on Cawdor Moor and one on Carn a' Choire Mhoir. I knew there wasn't much left at both sites as the 'Recovery Groups' had been busy, but it gave me something to aim for and there was also a more modern crash within range of the first Whitley that I could check out as well.

Parked at the entrance to Moy Windfarm.

As the Whitley on Cawdor Moor was the farthest to walk I tackled that one first and as there was a track I could follow for all but the last mile or so I took the bike, so I could save a bit of time on the return journey. While having a look on the interweb to research the best options for accessing the Hills here I discovered a Windfarm had been built that wasn't marked on my map, this meant there would be a good access road I could use but it also meant there could be new tracks going off in all directions, so finding the one I needed could be difficult.

The track I needed.

Fortunately for me the track marked on my map was still there and the Windfarm Tracks had been built either side of it and only crossed it a couple of times so they didnt cause any confusion. The incline for the first 4 or 5 miles up to the end of the track wasn't so bad either so I managed to ride the bike as much as I pushed it.

Above and next 4 photos:- Following the track through Moy Windfarm.

At the end of the track was what I thought at first to be a hide for bird spotting, or bird shooting whatever the inclination, but it was what appeared to be a chicken coupe as there was rows of nestboxes inside; long walk to collect the eggs!

The end of the track between Carn Dubh Mor and Carn Monadh nan da Allt.

Once I'd ditched the bike beside the Chicken Coupe it was time to do battle with the peat Gullies for just over a mile to the north to reach the area where the Whitley crashed, luckily most of them were running in the same direction as I was walking.

View back towards Moy Windfarm from near Lochan Dubha

It would appear Lochan Dubha was suffering from a drought!

One of the peat gullies that was going my way!

The few remaining scraps of Whitley were easy enough to find, at least the bits I found were, there could have been more pieces scattered farther afield, hidden in the numerous gullies, I searched a bit around the grid ref I had but found nothing other than the initial pieces I came across. I had seen pictures on the interweb showing a lot more scattered wreckage than what I found, but shooting butts had been built right over the site so perhaps the wreckage was 'tidied up' when they did that.

above and next 4 photos:-The pieces I managed to find.

After locating the remains of the Whitley my plan was to nip over to nearby Carn a' Choire Odhair to check out where an Embraer Bandeirante crashed but they were busy burning the heather off over there so as I didn't have a gasmask handy I decided to leave that one for another day.

Pleased the wind was blowing it in the opposite direction.

The area on Cawdor Moor where some of the Whitley wreckage lies.

When I set off for the slog back over to where I'd left the bike I came across another piece of wreckage about a quarter of a mile further up the moor, beside one of the shooting butts; if I'd been about 100 metres west I would have found a lot more.

above and below:-Another piece of Whitley.

above and below:-Another search around the area where I found the other piece of wreckage turned up nothing else of interest but I found out at a later date that I'd narrowly missed finding a lot more wreckage in this area.

I returned here in 2019 and about 100m from where I found the isolated bit of BD295 in a gully; and just off the photo to the left on the above image, was a large collection of pieces.

Standing on the peat hag adjacent to the isolated piece I found on my previous visit; I took this photo of Stuart and Chloe who are at the main pile of wreckage from BD295.

Above and below: Main collection of Whitley wreckage.

Above and below:-Engine cowling from BD259 found on Cawdor Moor above and the same panel being fitted to a Whitley during the war below.

Image taken from IWM video,'Repairing a Whitley Bomber'.

More wreckage photos.

This peat gully was about 12 feet deep.

Walking through the very deep peat gullies on the way back to my bike I received a text to say the Competition was going to be finished a lot earlier than expected, so because of this and the fact I'd spent way too much time scratching around all the peat gullies looking for bits of Whitley and way too much time taking photos, admiring the views etc, as I always do; I would now not have time to go and visit the second Whitley site. In fact I was going to be pushed to get back in time from this one.

Not the best terrain to walk across.

It had taken me 1 hour and 40 minutes to get from the car to the chicken coupe where I left the bike, the return journey from the chicken coupe to the car only took me 20 minutes so thanks to the bike I made it back to Inverness in time.

Remembering my experiences in the Monadhliath Mountains*, I stopped and used the rocks as stepping stones to cross this.

Nice end to a nice day, well not counting the 6 hour drive home still to go anyways.

*-Monadhliath Mountains

Click this link for more information about the crash