BEA Vickers Viscount (civilian), Ben More, crash date 19/01/73

[Picture from]

OS 10-figure grid refs (GPS):

NN 42725 26025
NN 43634 25640
NN 43287 24575
NN 42797 25608
NN 42675 25925

Google Maps display showing wreckage locations

Whilst climbing to the summit of Ben More via its steep northern face above the A85 to search for any remains of an RAF Westland Wessex SAR helicopter which crashed near the summit during a rescue in 1987 (some details of the incident are here), I came across two pieces of wreckage. I believe these are not from the Wessex crash however, but from a BEA Vickers Viscount civilian airliner which crashed on the summit in 1973. I found no traces of the Wessex crash on the mountain.

The first piece of wreckage (1st and 2nd photos) is quite low down the mountain, next to a forest at an altitude of about 360m. It is a fairly substantial piece, and is almost certainly a section of the rear fuselage with an access door in it. There is a picture of the aircraft that crashed here, taken just a year before the crash, and you can see the access door open just in front of the rear tailplane. This piece of wreckage also clearly has the dark blue painted BEA livery stripe visible in this picture of a similar aircraft here.

The second piece of wreckage (3rd and 4th photos) is higher up the mountain, hidden in a small gully at an altitude of about 660m. It appears to be another section of fuselage and you can see the distinctive curved shapes of the windows and also the dark blue painted BEA livery.

Previous to my visit, it had been thought that all the wreckage from this crash has been completely cleared off the mountain but these photos show this is not the case. The ACSS website also has some information about the crash here, and also has some photographs of more small pieces of remaining wreckage on the mountain. There is some more information about the crash here.

These pictures were taken in June 2009.

Update June 2011: On a subsequent walk to the summit of Ben More I found a small debris field very near the summit with what looks like aircraft parts (first three photos below). I also found two bits of metal (4th and 5th photos below) much lower down the mountain near the large section of fuselage I discovered in 2009. If these higher pieces of debris are pieces of the Viscount, they show that the impact point was on the very summit itself, and that nearly 800m of altitude on the north face of Ben More separates the highest remaining bits of wreckage from the lowest.

These pictures were taken in June 2011.

Update July 2013: On another walk to the summit of Ben More I found two small pieces of metal very close to the area near the summit at which the first three photos from June 2011 were taken, and are probably more bits of the Viscount.

These pictures were taken in July 2013.

Update September 2017: In the town of Crianlarich, about 5km west of Ben More, there is a memorial to the crash of the Viscount, located in an alley beside the Police Station.

These pictures were taken in August 2017.

Update March 2020: Andrew Robertson sent me some photos of a piece of wreckage he found on the north-western slopes of Ben More, at an altitude of about 650m, approx. grid ref. NN 425 248, not too far from the main path to the summit. I did not find this piece on any of my visits but I believe it is probably from the Viscount, as it is in the same general area as some of the other pieces I found.

These pictures were taken in March 2020.

Update October 2020: Bryan Denny sent me some photographs of what looks like one of the fuselage wheels from the Viscount. The location of this piece of wreckage is on the south-eastern slopes of Ben More at an altitude of about 770m, on the opposite side of the mountain from the other wreckage parts. The OS grid reference is approximately NN 44092 24035.

These pictures were taken in October 2020.