Indiana Jones and the Kurse of the Kielder shitfly!
Vickers Wellington X3171 on Comb Fell
(Distance covered = 5.8 mile/Ascent =+163m)
North American Mustang AG617
(Distance covered = 2.3mile/ Ascent = +59m)
There's a few crashsites in the Kielder area that I havn't yet visited. Several of them have been the subject of excavations by an aviation archaeology group called ACIA, but would still make good targets for a walk, as there may be some pieces still there.
The opportunity arose to visit at least one of these crashsites when the girls arranged to go to a competition with the wife's sister, aka my sisiter in law. As the siter in law was staying at her caravan near Jedburgh for the weekend I was tasked with dropping them there, then picking them up later; instead of going all the way home in between, I went to Kielder.
Parked at the Black Middens carpark.
I had been a bit indecisive about which crashsite to go to, but in the end I opted for a Wellington that ACIA had located and excavated on Comb Fell. This looked like it would be a pleasant enough walk as most of the route I planned to take was across moorland, but on arrival at my intended starting point at Heathery Hall I could find no-where to leave the car, as all the verges had signs prohibiting parking; to protect the wild flowers.
Walking along the road to Forest Lodge.
I reverted to plan B and instead parked in the carpark adjacent to the Black Middens. The Black Middens is an example of a Bastle House; there are several in the vicinity; a Bastle House was a fortified farmhouse where the animals lived downstairs and the family upstairs.
Black Middens Bastle House,(photo from wilkepedia)
There was a map in the Black Middens carpark showing several walks that took you on a tour of Bastle Houses in the area, but I had my sights on remains of a different era, so ignored all the suggested routes and set off along the road towards Forest Lodge.
Approaching Forest Lodge.
This ammended route was mostly along forest tracks but turned out to be pleasant enough as it skirted along the edge of the trees and not through them, which mean't much nicer views to enjoy. The weather was also very pleasant and today I had remembered my hat, which was to prove very handy a bit later in the day for keeping more than the sun off my face.
The forest track was nice an open, as it ran along the edge of the woods.
My original planned route coming over the moors from Heathery Hall.
After an easy and enjoyable walk along the forest track in the sunshine it was time to head into the woods to look for the spot where ACIA had dug up the Wellington remains. Previous to my visit I had looked at Satellite imagery of the area on the internet and could see a clearing in the trees exactly at the spot where I had a 10 digit grid ref for the Wellington crashsite; so I was hopefull I might at least find evidence of excavations and be able to add this one to my 'probables' list.
I had to turn left up a Forest ride just past the larger trees on the left.
The going was not so easy up the forest ride. Once I started off up the forest ride I was immediately surrounded by a swarm of shitflies; or to give the little basturds their proper name; Bluebottles. This reminded me of my first trip to see an HP Halifax crashsite in another part of Keilder Forest* where I was also harrased by them, fortunately this time I had my 'Indiana Jones' hat which did a very good job of keeping them out off my face, so therefore it was lot more tolerable than my previous experience.
Me wearing my Indiana Jones Hat. (photo taken at a different crashsite) Almost at the clearing, fingers crossed that I might find something.
Clearing where Wellington X3171 crashed. I got lucky.
I got very lucky; One of two cylinder heads from the engines still at the site. More wreckage photos. More than happy that I could now add this one to my 'crashsites found' list I set off back to the car and decided; as it was still quite early in the day and the weather was gloriously sunny, that I would head off and visit another crashsite.
Not far from Comb Fell was the scene of another crash that ACIA had excavated; again I had looked at sattelite imagery and could see what looked like a crater at exactly the right spot, and this together with the fact I had found something at the previously excavated site I had just visited gave me a bit hope of finding something at this one.
Parked up ready for walk number 2
Above and below:-On the Peninne Way. It wasn't very far to walk to reach this one and as there was a massive crater and I also had a 10 digit grid ref it didn't take much finding. At first appearance this seemed to be another one for my 'probables' list, but a quick shufty around the perimeter of the hole turned up quite a few pieces of the Mustang . above and below:-At first there appeared to be nothing here other than a large hole.
Some pieces of wreckage are visible near the bottom right of the photo, the large piece is the remains of a railway sleeper. More wreckage photos above and below:-two views of the area of the crash, the crater is just beyond the small tree in the centre of the photo. *-Halifax in Kielder