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www.scottishhills.com :: View topic - Col Bheinn - Fairey Barracuda Wreck
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Col Bheinn - Fairey Barracuda Wreck
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Cuillin
Monarch Of The Glen
Monarch Of The Glen


Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 8951
Location: Inverness

Logged:
Munros: 54 (2nd round)
Corbetts: 5 (2nd round)
Grahams: 1 (2nd round)
Donalds: 19
New Donalds: 28
Sub 2000s: 65


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:44 pm    Post subject: Col Bheinn - Fairey Barracuda Wreck Reply with quote

TRIP REPORT: Show trip details

Hills: Col Bheinn 538m
Date: Saturday 8th December 2007
Weather: Clear and cold with some high cloud
Attendees: Me
Distance: 10km
Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

This hill is located near Brora in Sutherland and I decided to do it for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to go up a Graham called Beinn Dhorain near Helmsdale but it was such a short walk (<2 hours) that I wanted to make it a bigger day. Secondly, this hill has a wreck of a WW2 aircraft called a Fairey Barracuda near the summit and I was interested in seeing it and subsequently trying to find out the history behind the plane and the crash.

Parked the car at NC 015 067 just off the A9 at the end of a track to Clynemilton

From this point you walk up by a green farm shed following a track through a couple of gates. In just less than a km you scale a high dry stone dyke and deer fence to get onto the hill proper. After this you just get the head down and go up through rough heathery slopes to NC 904 084.

A little later you will see an old electric fence and you just follow it straight up the hill.

Col Bheinn & electric fence



The route is fairly wet but as I gained height it was mostly frozen which made life somewhat easier. Just before the final summit slope at 400m GR NC 893 102, go NW towards a clearly visible cairn (pimple 1/3 in from the left back of the pic below.)

From col NW to memorial cairn



The wreck is fairly easy to spot as it is pretty large and is found at GR NC 88845 10454, about 200m north from the cairn. My blue winter (65L) rucksack should hopefully give some idea of the scale. All that’s left appears to be both wings and because the Barracuda was a dive bomber and a carrier aircraft the wings looked immensely strong.

Fairey Barracuda Wreck (Tail number PM870, 818 Squadron Fleet Air Arm)



Having searched the Internet, the Barracuda appears to have been regarded as an ugly plane which was underpowered and had a very poor safety record. It had a crew of three and although I haven’t been able to find any information, I suspect they must have been killed in the crash. There’s quite a chilling song on a web page which was sung by Baracuda air mechanics at RNAS Fearn near Invergordon where this plane flew from.

Any old ire, any old ire,
Any, any, any old iron.
Down at Lee you get them free,
Built by Faireys for a crew of three.
Bags of fun, no front gun,
An engine you can't rely on.
You know what you can do
With your Barracuda too.
Old iron, old iron.

As the wreck is virtually unrecognisable as a plane have inserted a B&W picture of an operational Barracuda

Fairey Barracuda 812 Squadron RNAS Fearn Jan 1945



Wreck taken from various angles







Didn’t hang around as it was getting cold and headed down to the memorial cairn which looks over Brora directly south towards the Tarbet peninsula and the plane’s base at RNAS Fearn (NH 843 760)

Memorial Cairn



Went back down the hill and then had a walk on the beach which is right beside the A9. This whole stretch round Brora is a lovely coastline.

Brora beach looking north



Haven’t been able to find any information about the Barracuda crash itself other than the fact that the plane went down on 14th July 1945. However, the squadron is interesting in that they were originally equipped with Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers (AKA “Stringbags”) and in 1941 2 of them managed to disable the Bismarck which led to it’s sinking by the Royal Navy.


Last edited by Cuillin on Fri Dec 21, 2007 6:58 pm; edited 2 times in total
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sheepdogcatfish
Dangler
Dangler


Joined: Sep 23, 2007
Posts: 787
Location: Angus

Logged:
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Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 9
Donalds: 16
New Donalds: 16
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stunning report. Makes you wonder what these blokes went through. Amazing.
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fatdogwalks
- Site Bard

Mountaineer
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Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 1659
Location: Larbert

Logged:
Munros: 79
Corbetts: 27
Grahams: 18
Donalds: 9
New Donalds: 12
Sub 2000s: 19


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good one Cuillin Very Happy .

Looks like your weather was a damned site better than here in the central belt on Saturday.

Never ceases to amaze me how these wrecks are still there. After 60 years you would expect the souvenir hunters to have cleared the lot.

As always the attention to detail was great. I may just spend a couple of hours on the net trying to discover a bit more about this one...you never know. Have you tried the newspaper archives? Just that one of the new members (eckyg ) came back about Meikle Bin having found out a bit more from newspaper archives.
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Cuillin
Monarch Of The Glen
Monarch Of The Glen


Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 8951
Location: Inverness

Logged:
Munros: 54 (2nd round)
Corbetts: 5 (2nd round)
Grahams: 1 (2nd round)
Donalds: 19
New Donalds: 28
Sub 2000s: 65


PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi FDW, I've spent a fair while myself trying to get more info. It looks as though the crew had real bad luck, as their squadron was disbanded in August 1945 on VJ day, just a month after the crash. The attrition rate for Barracudas was very high and Sheepdogcatfish is right, I just don't know how these guys were able to get back into unreliable planes after seeing their mates getting killed.

If you find anything please let me know - I've PM'd eckyg to see if he has any sources of info. There's some info about other Barracuda crashes on the Cromarty archive site.
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TheGoodShag
Mountaineer
Mountaineer


Joined: Jan 19, 2007
Posts: 1215
Location: Kinrossshire

Logged:
Munros: 124
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 2
New Donalds: 2
Sub 2000s: 0


PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a website somewhere which lists all the plane wreckage on all the scottish hills. But I can't remember where. Rolling Eyes
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Cuillin
Monarch Of The Glen
Monarch Of The Glen


Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 8951
Location: Inverness

Logged:
Munros: 54 (2nd round)
Corbetts: 5 (2nd round)
Grahams: 1 (2nd round)
Donalds: 19
New Donalds: 28
Sub 2000s: 65


PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TGS there are quite a few sites which list Scottish wreck sites

Have inserted a selection:

http://mysite.orange.co.uk/aircraftwreckage/scotindex.htm

http://www.scotcrash.homecall.co.uk/home.htm

http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/scotland.htm

I have GR's for most of sites so PM me if one interests you.
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TheGoodShag
Mountaineer
Mountaineer


Joined: Jan 19, 2007
Posts: 1215
Location: Kinrossshire

Logged:
Munros: 124
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 2
New Donalds: 2
Sub 2000s: 0


PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this one too.

http://www.dundeeopenaward.co.uk/leadersresources/crashsites.htm
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JimH
Yeti
Yeti


Joined: Nov 07, 2007
Posts: 3460
Location: North Ayrshire

Logged:
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Corbetts: 109
Grahams: 24
Donalds: 28
New Donalds: 36
Sub 2000s: 7


PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoyed your report. Cheers.

This is a good site for our local hills;

http://www.aircrashsites-scotland.co.uk/
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L111CHT
Scrambler
Scrambler


Joined: May 08, 2007
Posts: 333
Location: Smokieville

Logged:
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Grahams: 13
Donalds: 2
New Donalds: 2
Sub 2000s: 15


PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

here's me on the Canberra wing on Carn an t-Sagairt Mor



and this is the remains of the Cessna that came down on the Braid Cairn near Mount Keen last winter...

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fmck
Brocken Spectre
Brocken Spectre


Joined: Apr 17, 2007
Posts: 2041




PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, this is going down hill big style.

May be looking for Rotten.com instead of a hilllwalking web site?

L111cht, I hope no one was badly hurt there, who knows whos watching on google search.
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L111CHT
Scrambler
Scrambler


Joined: May 08, 2007
Posts: 333
Location: Smokieville

Logged:
Munros: 72
Corbetts: 22
Grahams: 13
Donalds: 2
New Donalds: 2
Sub 2000s: 15


PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fmck wrote:
Hmm, this is going down hill big style.

May be looking for Rotten.com instead of a hilllwalking web site?

L111cht, I hope no one was badly hurt there, who knows whos watching on google search.


rotten.com? hardly.

i think it's interesting what's left behind on our hills.


as for the Cessna, it was an Austrian chap who didn't appreciate that he'd have to be flying at over 2000 ft in heavy mist.... Embarassed
escaped with a broken nose IIRC

the report on it can be found here...
don't know if the plane is still there?http://www.aaib.dft.gov.uk/publications/bulletins/august_2005/cessna_150m__n8174v.cfm
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fmck
Brocken Spectre
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Joined: Apr 17, 2007
Posts: 2041




PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats good news considering the picture, shit that'll learn im. Wink
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MacAoidh
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Joined: Jun 20, 2007
Posts: 343
Location: Largs, North Ayrshire

Logged:
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Donalds: 89
New Donalds: 118
Sub 2000s: 59


PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoyed your report and pictures. Many aircraft have came to grief on my local hills.
I have enjoyed hundreds of visits to the wrecks since I was a boy.




Last edited by MacAoidh on Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:54 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Cuillin
Monarch Of The Glen
Monarch Of The Glen


Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 8951
Location: Inverness

Logged:
Munros: 54 (2nd round)
Corbetts: 5 (2nd round)
Grahams: 1 (2nd round)
Donalds: 19
New Donalds: 28
Sub 2000s: 65


PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Macaiodh what a lovely dog you have. Smile

I'm pleased to see that I'm not the only one with an interest in combining hillwalking with visiting aircraft wrecks. Which wreck is shown in the picture?

Near where I live, 19 OTU operated from Kinloss, Forres and Brackla and there are many wrecks of the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft from this unit.
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MacAoidh
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Joined: Jun 20, 2007
Posts: 343
Location: Largs, North Ayrshire

Logged:
Munros: 282
Corbetts: 89
Grahams: 104
Donalds: 89
New Donalds: 118
Sub 2000s: 59


PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is the wreck of a BEA Vickers Viking which crashed on Irish Law on 21 April, 1948.
Miraculously all 16 passengers and 4 crew escaped with only burned hands
and other minor injuries.





Another wreck worth visiting is on nearby Box Law. It is a De Havilland Devon VP969
which crashed on 3 June, 1958. Luckily the two pilots escaped with only head injuries. They made their own way to the lonely cottage of Howcraig
to get help. An old school friend of mine lived there. He was only 5 at the time, but he can clearly remember the pilots coming into the cottage with
their faces covered in blood. He was so scared by the sight, he ran to hide under the table.

Devon VP969






de Havilland Devon VP969


This is a photo I took in 1968 of the Vickers Viking I.B. G-AIVE on Irish Law.



Last edited by MacAoidh on Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:39 pm; edited 10 times in total
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