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Bomber Crash site and Ben Tirran

Saturday 23rd October

The weather forecasts for the whole weekend were off-putting with high winds and low cloud forecast. So after having an initial good response to the outing many dropped out leaving only 5 hardy souls (Chris, Sandy, Susan and new members Kenny and Sara) to set off on the early drive down to Glen Clova.

En-route we had a short hold up after encountering a smashed up car with driver by the side of the road near the Clachnaben car park. He had hit a deer and was fortunately unhurt but the car looked like a write-off. No sign of the injured deer but a gamekeeper was on the way.

From the Glen Clova car park we started off by climbing the very good walking track up to Loch Brandy. Conditions were pretty calm until we passed the lip of the loch when the wind picked up a bit. We continued up to Green Hill then along the flat and featureless plateau towards Muckle Cairn on a fairly indistinct path. It was windy but nowhere near as strong as the forecasts had suggested so we were lucky. However the cloud base was around 700m so we were in misty conditions up there.

Armed with the grid references for the 2 crash sites and the trusty OS-Maps app we headed off into the mist on what looked like a very faint path where others had previously been. For future wreck hunters here are the grid refs - OS 10-figure grid refs (GPS): NO 38098 76044 and NO 38275 76102, but in clear conditions it should be pretty easy to find.

The main crash site from the 1942 Wellington Bomber crash loomed into view. It was amazing to see so much wreckage still remaining after 80 years and the substantial scar it had made on the landscape.

The second chunk of wreckage was about 200m away and turned out to be the tail section of the plane.

Here’s an online report I found about the crash. It’s always very sad to see how young the crew were that flew these planes during WWII.

“The Wellington Bomber crashed on a test flight from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray on 9th August 1942. Following this flight, it had been scheduled to take off on a bombing mission. However, while still undergoing its test flight, the aircraft lost part of a cowling. The dislodged cowling section subsequently damaged one of the propellers, causing engine failure. The Wellington then crashed while the pilot was attempting a forced landing. The remaining wreckage can be found in the vicinity of Muckle Cairn /Tom Titlach on the hills above Glen Esk in Angus. The crash had been witnessed by the pilot of another aircraft, and his report was relayed to Scone Aerodrome (Perth). The authorities at Scone alerted the local police. Very soon P.C. Thomas Campbell headed up the glen (probably, Glen Clova) together with David Laing and David Hanton (head keeper at Cortachy Estate). On arrival at the crash scene, the rescuers found that all crew members, except the rear gunner, had died in the accident.

The crew who died were:

· Flt / Sgt (Pilot) Arthur George Wilson Keene (23) RCAF (buried, Fettercairn Cemetery.

· Sgt (Air Obs) Alfred Kirby (21) RCAF (buried, Fettercairn Cemetery.

· Sgt (Obs) Joseph Weatherson (23) RAFVR (Buried, Hebburn Cemetery, Tyne and Wear).

· Sgt W/Op , Air Gunner Oscar Knud Lerche Jensen (26) RCAF (buried, Fettercairn Cemetery.”

We continued the climb in short heather up to the trig point at 896m on The Goet

Then onwards to a very insubstantial cairn marking Ben Tirran.

Descending out of the cloud towards Loch Wharral and finally some views!

We took note of the Estate warning below against swimming in the loch and followed their advice!

It was a successful outing which clearly didn't put off Sara and Kenny who said they would like to join the club and we look forward to seeing them again in the future.



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