Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Bleaklow: Defiant and Botha

Training outing yesterday, twelve and a half miles off-path over Bleaklow's groughs and cloughs took us almost exactly twelve hours. We went to visit a couple of sites more or less on the top of Bleaklow, which we had visited last year.

The sites are those of a Defiant and Botha, two planes united by being frankly a bit rubbish, both models ending up being used as target tugs.

The Defiant was like a Spitfire with a rear firing gun-turret. This tricked a few German pilots at first, but once they knew it had no forward firing guns, it came to seem to the unfortunate aircrew like a much less clever idea.

The Botha was very underpowered and unstable, and consequently crashed a lot. The military therefore withdrew it from active service. They then seemingly thought that these characteristics would make it an ideal training aircraft, which obviously did nothing good for its continuing safety record.

We had resolved previously to revisit the Defiant as High Peak Bob records a further wreckage pile downhill from the commonly visited major one. We actually found quite a number of collections, within a widespread scatter of small bits.

We saw nothing to prove or disprove the sometimes advanced theory that this 'plane was subject to "friendly fire": the fabled radiator with 0.303 bullet holes was not in evidence. There are in any case many things on these moors with such bullet holes in, as they were used for military training for many years. We'd have been none the wiser if we had seen it.

We revisited the Botha because it was close by, and also because visiting both sites allowed us to better investigate the hypothesis frequently put to us that publishing wreck coordinates encourages looting.

We are pleased to say that both sites seem untouched since our last visit. Whilst far from conclusive, this supports our view that publishing coordinates facilitates a harmless navigation exercise for walkers.


jason said...

Have u visited the stream near the main botha wreakage? there is quite a bit down there

Sean said...

I'm pretty sure we have been to the location you describe, Jason. I can think of three places in particular which match this description. What is the grid reference of the location you are thinking of?

jason said...

Grid ref sk 1110/9753 just about 50 metres away from the large pieces I was looking for possible engines

Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled. Having used the coordinates for this Bleaklow Defiant site published in the Dark Peak Aircraft Wrecks book, I failed to find any trace on Sunday just gone. Wondering why, now it's clear there's quite a bit of material still up there.

Sean said...

Try our coords Mike, Dark Peak Aircraft Wrecks coords can be quite a way out...