Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn (658m)
B29 Crash Site

Saturday 26th October 2019

Distance: 10kms - Duration: 5hrs 45mins - Group Size: 11

Walk Leader - Mike

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The fact that this was our final walk before the clocks changed shortening our daylight walking hours should have been enough to remind us that winter was on its way. However, as an added jolt, the weather was keen to play its part, with a true mixture of conditions, ranging from bright sunshine, to rain showers, which, as we gained height turned to sleet, hailstones, and even a flurry of snow. The wind too was very wintery, with below freezing temperatures on the summit. Also, it should be noted, that if taking this route, one is strongly advised to enjoy the few hundred metres of solid forest track leading uphill from Corrow to the firebreak in the forest, I say this, because once the track is left behind, the ground underfoot is rough going for the remainder of the day. Nevertheless, none of these factors can detract from the fact that this was a brilliant walk on a hill that packed a punch well above it's height.

On the open hillside above the firebreak, our route took us generally northwest, over the 475m top via a series of minor crags, humps and bumps to the base of a prominent gully at the head of Coirein Rathaid. With a small stream tumbling down it; this gully offered the most direct route up the largest section of crags we would meet today. A relatively easy, if somewhat wet, climb up the edge of the stream soon had us on the broad open area above the gully, and our first view of our main objective of the day, the summit of Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn; which, from our angle of approach, was uncannily like a miniature Cobbler, complete with twin tops, including a hooked point.

The summit boasts a fine Trig Point in surprising good condition, and some fantastic views, which we were able to enjoy between squalls of hail and a light flurry of snow; it was also bitterly cold with quite a wind blowing as we settled down just below the cairn for some lunch.

Our next objective was to visit the site where a B29 Superfortress aircraft crashed in 1949. Although the site lies almost directly west of the summit, some seriously craggy areas just below the summit required us to detour slightly north west for a short distance before making a fairly gentle descent down a very broad grassy ridge towards the treeline, beyond which lies the crash site. In contrast to the rough grass and crags of the upper ridge, the approach to the forest is through a large area of reeds, which is extremely wet underfoot, or to be more accurate, above foot, as for most of this section we were plodging through a bed of water.

Our rugged hillsides are beautiful, but, unfortunately they are also the custodians for some tragic events, such as aircraft crashes. In the case of the site we visited today, this B29 aircraft was returning to the United States, with a total of 20 crew and passengers, who had previously been carrying out missions associated with the Berlin Airlift when it crashed on the hillside above Lochgoilhead with the loss of all on board. A cairn and plaque, together with an large amount of aircraft wreckage marks the crash site. a poignant reminder of young lives lost in the pursuit of peace and freedom.

Leaving the crash site, we headed directly east on a steady ascent into and across Coirein Rathaid to a point just before the gully we had previously climbed on our way to the summit of Stob an Boine Druim-fhinn, before contouring the hillside below the 475m top and returning to the upper levels of the firebreak, which we descended to regain the forest track and make our return to Corrow.

This was a brilliant day on the hills. Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn is a hill of great character, it's humps and bumps and crags making this a challenging and very fine walk.

Thanks everyone for your company, and thanks Mike for a great walk.

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