Last week I travelled to Ayrshire and went for a hike in the remote and anonymous moorland of East Ayrshire. The weather last week was extremely good, with blue skies, high temperatures and little wind, and this walk felt more like it was happening in the middle of summer than mid-March.
I walked northwards from the B743 into the featureless and boggy terrain of the area. There are two aircraft wreck sites in this area, and I had made a previous attempt to walk to these locations earlier in the year, setting off from the A71 to the north but was thwarted by difficult terrain and a new windfarm being built in the area which caused me to take a diversion.
The two aircraft, a Royal Navy Grumman F4F Wildcat/Martlet and a USAF/Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) Douglas B-26 Invader crashed in 1944 and 1956 respectively.
The wreck site of the Martlet consists of a single small pile of largely unrecognisable small sections of metal debris, about 500m east of the summit of Auchenlongford Hill on Blackside at an altitude of about 400m.
The crash site of the Douglas B-26 Invader lies about 2.5km to the north of this site, at the head of the Avon Water river, in an area labelled as ‘Draw Grain’ on the OS 1:25,000 map of the area, between the minor summits of Distinkhorn and Wedder Hill on Blackside. It lies in a shallow gully at an altitude of about 340m and the large debris field is about 240m in length. Despite being at a relatively low altitude, the site is fairly inaccessible as all approaches are on pathless, featureless, boggy and difficult terrain.
Many substantial parts of the Invader are still recognisable including one of the engines half-submerged in boggy ground, sections of what appear to be armour plating, a fuel tank and an undercarriage section. A small crater contains many burnt and mangled pieces of wreckage and it is possible that the other engine was largely destroyed.
Another interesting piece of wreckage at this site is a large tyre. Another unusual aspect of the site is a box containing a visitor’s book, a unique feature of this particular wreck site.
You can see my page about these wreck sites on my website here.
Stewart G Park
Two aircraft wreck sites in the remote moorland of East Ayrshire: I wonder if is the same site of the plane crash above ‘The Black Rocks” on the road to Carsphairn Dumfries Shire out of Dalmellington Ayrshire. The crash happened circa 1951. And was near Meadow Farm just above ‘The Black Rocks’ My friend walked among the wreckage. He said it was terrible and the stench was really bad. My Friend also said it was a USAF Catalina flying boat. All on board were killed.
Lancaster ME729 of 630sqn crashed on 18.7.44 above the quarry at the Black rocks, most of the wreckage ended up on the Dalmellington to Carsphairn road and in the adjacent burn. The B29 a few miles down the road crashed in 1951 and a Catalina also crashed in ayrshire but a good few miles away so perhaps details of these 3 crashes have been confused.
I think the crash you are referring to here is that of a Boeing KB-29 Superfortress tanker that crashed in July 1951 near the A713 between Dalmellington and the village of Carsphairn, next to Brockloch Tower, OS grid ref NX 539 959, killing all 11 crew. Not a Catalina, but a similar, large USAF aircraft. The amount of fuel being carried by the tanker might explain the smell you mention.
There is not much trace of the crash remaining now (apart from a memorial), but you can see some information about the crash and photographs of the site on the Peak District Air Accident Research website here:
The site of the crash of the Lancaster on the A713 is about 2 miles south of Dalmellington ,about 100 yards north of the quarry. I can remember the 4 impact marks made by the engines as the aircraft crashed into the rocky hillside . As a young boy about 60 years ago built a small cairn on the site. The sliding scree and the sheep have all but hidden the site now.
Hi Eddie it might interest you to know that the Wildca was flown by my uncle John Geoffrey Armstrong Also known as Jack. He and my father were both the Fleet Air Arm during the war and Jack was flying back to base when he crashed and was killed. Tragically their younger sister drowned about a year later. Dad died a couple of years ago aged 92 in New Zealand where we emigrated in 1968. Obviously I never knew Jack but with aid of the internet have been able to flesh out the family stories about him.