Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Update: Marchlyn Mawr German Wreck?

German Plane in Marchlyn Mawr?
Marchlyn Mawr
Originally uploaded by seansonofbig

Rob the Tog has looked further into the rumoured German plane in Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir on the Elidirs, and offers the following update:

"I’ve gone through the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald, for the years 1974, 75 and 76. The short summary is that no German aircraft were found in that period. I was working on this statement from RJMP;“My guess is that my mother wrote and told me about the aircraft discovery while I was in Singapore in 1974, but I have no idea when in the year it would have been. I hope that helps a little!"

Hence the reason for starting with 1974, however none of the indirect evidence regarding Dinorwic ties them into that time. If the lake was low/drained in 1974, I can’t link it to Dinorwic. I’ll list all of the information I found below, most of it ties relates to the PowerStation. But if you take note of the dates, you will see why I can’t tie anything to RJMP story. The italics below are my thoughts on the information I found, the date relates to the paper publication date.

1 Feb 1974 – Official confirmation from the treasury authorising the finance necessary for the Dinorwic Hydro scheme. Already into 1974 and nothing has started. I don’t know how this links into RJMP saying construction on access roads had started in ‘73, any construction would have to have been down to Welsh national water as at that time they owned the lake and not related.

22 Feb 1974 – One of the first contracts awarded for the Dinorwic station, awarded to Mowlem, for construction of access and exploratory tunnels, first stage includes access roads and drainage works. Completion of this contract starting this month is scheduled for July 1975 in 18 months time. It might have been this work starting that RJMP is thinking about? I guess it depends on the date he went out the Far East.

10 May 1974 – Work has begun to provide an alternative supply of water to replace Machlyn Mawr, which is to be used as the upper lake in the Dinorwic scheme.

4 July 1975 – Dinorwic starting “tunnel miner training scheme” starting August ’75. It is estimated that tunnelling will be done 24 hour day with three shifts on 10 separate faces. Dinorwic has been contracted to take almost 70% local labour for the construction of the Power Station, they are only starting to gear up for digging now, I can’t see why the lake would be low in ’74 when they are not ready to tunnel for more than a year later.

19 Sept 1975 – “Two lakes change hands” Ffynnon Llugwy to Welsh National water, in return for Machlyn Mawr to Central Electricity Generating Board … the latter will now be enlarged. More against 1974 time line.

3 Oct 1975 – It is rumoured that the contract for construction of the 2000ft dam at Machlyn Mawr has been awarded to Gleeson Company.

28 Nov 1975 – 6 works workers injured in ventilation shaft on Elidir Fawr. Shaft incomplete but first indication of actual tunnelling.

2 April 1976 – “There’s Wrecks in them their Hills” Full page article from Arthur Evans talking about aviation archaeology and the group they have going at the time. I’m getting a copy of this article to double check there is no mention of the aircraft, but this could cause a problem. The only date I’ve found for Machlyn Mawr being drained is March 1976, and then just days/weeks later this article appears, so surely if there was an aircraft in there it would have been mentioned. I only spotted this date tonight, so next time I go back I’ll double check around early ’76 just to make sure.

I’m prepared to go back (probably be next week though) and have another look at maybe a few more years (and I said to double check early ’76). There is the small possibility that I might have missed the story, the early issues of the paper didn’t have a traditional front page, and the stories were buried inside. Although for this to have happened, the story would only have had to have been mentioned in a footnote, as I’m sure I would spot it if it was a main story. Going by the other stories published, I’m sure a German bomber turning up would have caused a stir. There is the possibility that the C&D Herald isn’t the paper that had the report, (I don’t know how to check that) but even if it wasn’t I can’t believe there still wouldn’t mention of the event.

The other thing that bothers me about this is the total lack of any other evidence. Surely on a construction project that size, and with active aviation archaeology group in the area, I just can’t see how something can be in that lake and been lost from memory, someone would have written about it at some point. Surely word would have gone round and hundreds of people would go for a look. The other thing that slightly bothers me, is that the date is relatively close to the date that tail section of the Dak was lifted from Llyn Dulyn (1973 going by the date of “After the battle”), maybe there is a possibility of a mix up or misunderstanding happening?"

Friday, 20 February 2009

Lightning, Hurricanes, Lancaster: Tintwistle Knarr

Originally uploaded by seansonofbig

A bit of a navex for me and Mick yesterday on Tintwhistle Knarr, near Glossop. The aim was to find all three of the sites by map and compass alone, which was achieved quite easily, though extensive changes to fences and widespread reseeding with grass and chopped heather has made the landscape quite different from its appearance on previous visits.

The Lightning and Hurricane sites have acquired standing stakes since my last visit, which will make finding them a little easier in future.

Other than that, the remains at all three sites looked just as they did on previous visits. Our publishing of the site coordinates has not caused them to be looted as many told us they would be.

More info: Hurricanes and Lanc

More info: Lightning

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

DeHavilland Hornet F. Mk.1 PX244

DeHavilland Hornet F.1 PX244
DeHavilland Hornet F.1 PX244
Originally uploaded by seansonofbig

On the B-team outing today with Welsh Barry we found this little bit of aluminium skinning at the site, despite Alan Clark having apparently taken anything sizeable for his private collection (see the two pics right at the bottom of the page here).

If you are reading, Alan, did you make those wonky little felt-tip scale bars? ROFL! That's the best thing we've seen since your mate's home made "Air Crash Investigator" jumpsuit!

Location: SK 27282 36384

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Howden Moor Incident

Howden Moor V1 crater: tiny tree in the snow
Tiny Tree, Howden Moor
Originally uploaded by seansonofbig

Following this comment, (and a nasty weather forecast)we decided to scratch yesterday's planned visit to Wales, and to investigate the claim that we (along with more or less everyone else) are wrong about the location of the V1 crash on Howden Moor. It was also an opportunity to practice my map and compass navigation, ready for a Mountain Leader training course I'm doing later in the year.

Howden Moor is the focus of all sorts of strange stories, of covert military operations, UFOs, Meteor impacts, Ghost Planes, Drug Smuggling, and IRA weapons caches. That someone might suggest that a crater was caused by a parachute mine rather than a V1 seems quite prosaic compared with the other wild tales.

The problem was, we'd never seen any sign of the tree "Tomsk" refers to anywhere near the V1 crater, and we never would have seen this tiny tree if there hadn't been a complete whiteout on the day.

Location: SK 18494 96603

This is the only tree anywhere near the V1 site (albeit much further than 40 metres away), but there was no sign of a second crater in its vicinity. Can't see anything in Google Earth either on Howden Moor or Macclesfield Forest locations, despite Tomsk's claim.

We had no difficulty finding the previously located crater using map and compass only, despite the weather. Hmm.

And how about the other stories? The Howden Moor incident is a favorite of UFOlogists, who allege that a UFO crashed and exploded on the moor in 1997, and there has been a subsequent coverup.

We would suggest that of all possible explanations, this is the least likely. An optical illusion is surely the most likely explanation. Sorry, spacecadets.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Rivals

The Rivals
Originally uploaded by seansonofbig

A day out on Monday accompanying Matt ZX up The Rivals (Yr Eifl) to see the scar left by the Meteor crash, and to look into the scrap merchants' claimed Firefly crash on the way up. We didn't fancy the summit to investigate the Halifax crash on the day, we'll save it for another day with a lot less snow and wind. Bounced the Landy off a few walls on the way back down as it was.

It's an old granite kerbstone quarry, so there's a pretty good road all the way up, though there are some dizzying drops (or great views as Mick would call them). The abandoned quarry buildings are pretty interesting, too.

A nice little walk for a day when the radio advised us not to venture out to the shops, let alone onto a Welsh mountain.

This photo is taken from Yr Eifl, and shows Moel Pen Llechog, Gyrn Ddu and Gyrn Goch, I think. Happy to be corrected if wrong.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Gloster Meteor F.8 WA794

Gloster Meteor F.8  WA794
Originally uploaded by seansonofbig

The circular scar where this Meteor from RAF 5 CAACU met a wall of granite on Yr Eifl in poor visibility on 11th October 1957, unsurprisingly killing the pilot.

The pile of boulders below the scar allegedly covers the small wreckage not looted by the usual suspects, but we found not a scrap of metal at the site.

Location: SH 36068 45892

More info

Fairey Firefly?

Fairey Firefly Wreckage?
Originally uploaded by seansonofbig

A bit of fairly convincing-looking aluminium skinning from the area where the Snowdonia list says a Fairey Firefly crashed. We can find no further details on this crash.

Three complicating factors:

1. This is directly below the well-documented Meteor crash site.

2. The area has become a scrap repository. What would be very convincing on open moorland is less so here.

3. The Snowdonia list's greatest weakness is in accurate 'plane identification.

Helpful comments are invited.

Location: SH 36265 46077