Ants in the pants.
Vickers Warwick BV512 in Culbin Forest.

(Distance covered = 4.5 mile/Ascent = 25m)

The North Of Scotland Championships in Inverness meant I would have more than enough time to visit a crashsite I had known about since the 1980's, I knew it was in Culbin Forest but had only recently acquired a grid ref.

I usually try and visit the more remote wrecks when there is a Championship, because Championships last a lot longer then normal Competitions so it gives me a little more time. The trouble is the only competitions we go to at Inverness are Championships so on this day I was going to be in no hurry.
Culbin Forest is only a few miles east of Inverness so the drive to the start of my walk didn't take much time either. At Culbin Forest there is a lovely big carpark with an Information centre and Toilets, it costs £3.00 to park for the day, so as I didn't have any change and because the Warwick Crashsite was less than half a mile from the carpark I decided to drive a couple of miles back down the road, park for free and make the walk a bit longer.

The entrance to Culbin Forest Car Park(taken on the way back)

Weather wise this was going to be a day of two halves. Walking from where I parked the car to the Warwick wreck it absolutely bucketed down. Walking from the Warwick wreck back to where I parked the car it was clear blues skies, warm and sunny. Because of this all the photos in Culbin Forest were taken on the way back to the car.

Walking into the forest from the Carpark(actually taken while walking out)

I had been told that this wreck was difficult to find because it lay in thick forest so I was looking forward to a bit of a challenge. I knew from my experiences of visiting a Halifax Bomber in Kielder forest that finding a specific spot in the middle of woods can be difficult.

Down there and left at the area of felled trees

One advantage I had visiting this site that I didn't have years ago in Kielder was the interweb, more specifically satellite imagery. By looking at a satellite image of the area you can see detail that isn't always apparent on a map. This is especially helpfull in woodland, as thick or thin areas of trees can be discerned as well as new forestry tracks, areas of felled trees and clearings in the woods. This is of course assuming the image your looking at is not to old.

It's in there somewhere

I had therefore worked out if I followed forest tracks around to the other side of the crashsite from the carpark, I could then follow an area of felled trees to a distinctive angle in the edge of a dense section of forest, then follow a predetermined compass bearing about 200yrds into the dense woodland.

An aerial shot of the crashsite.

I was quite pleased when I walked straight onto the crashsite but also a little disappointed that I had found it so easily. Of course it would also be very easy to find with the aid of a GPS but I don't own one as I believe they take all the fun and sense of achievement out of navigating.

Not long after arriving at the crashsite the sky began to show signs of clearing so I sheltered under a tree in the hope the rain would stop so I could take some photos, which it did about 20minutes later.

One of the P+W Double Wasp engines.

A valve, wedged in a broken cylinder head, the valve seat has been dislodged and is lying on the valve stem. Its surprising a souvenir hunter has not had this away!

Both engines remain onsite as well as engine bearers and undercarriage parts.

A prop hub still attached to the front of an engine

above and below:-Two more views of one of the engines

After spending some time taking photos which included climbing a tree for an aerial shot, I looked for somewhere to sit down to eat my butties. As I stood contemplating a little mound covered in light green moss that looked like it might prove comfortable I became aware of something walking over my boots. Turned out I was standing on an Ants equivalent of the M25 during rush hour and they had decided it was easier to walk over my boots than go around them. I was just a bit pleased I didn't sit down there!.

The Ant Highway going up the mound I was about to sit on .

After finding a spot to eat my sandwiches where there was less chance of being eaten alive I left the crashsite location in the opposite direction to how I entered as I knew there was a forest track over there.

The forest track running down the eastern side of the crashsite.

As I still had loads of time before the Competition at Inverness finished I then went for a random walk around the rest of the forest before heading back up the road to the car.

I'm always the proudest Dad in the World when I find out how Heather has done in a competition but more so today. I usually get an inkling if she's done exceptionally well because I won't receive any texts or phone calls, as she likes to tell me in person, that was the case today.
In a Championship the top six Dancers are awarded a Trophy, its called 'getting in the line up' and its a major achievement for a Highland Dancer.
I returned to Inverness to pick the girls up to find Heather had won the trophy for finishing in third place.

Heather on the lovely sandy beach at Loch Morlich

Because Heather had done so well and because it was such a gorgeous day we weren't really in any hurry to go home so we called into Aviemore for some tea then visited the Beach at Loch Morlich.

It was now so hot the Loch was evaporating

Loch Morlich with Cairngorm in the distance.

Verdict on our day!