Hill walk routes to climb in SW Scotland - also coastal paths and National Scenic Areas with maps, pictures and other useful information based on extensive local knowledge
Aircraft crash site on the west side of Criffel
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Engine from an Anson Mk1 which crashed on Criffel 04-11-1944 Engine from an Anson Mk1 which crashed on Criffel 04-11-1944 Engine from an Anson Mk1 which crashed on Criffel 04-11-1944

04 An Anson Mk1 crashed in low cloud and a 75 miles per hour gale on 4th November 1944 onto the west side of Criffel. The five men aboard, though injured, survived the crash and the plane was not so badly damaged that they could not shelter in it till they were rescued. The grid reference for this crash site is NX953622. The pictures shown on this page were taken on 19th September 2012.

The picture above shows the engine and the second picture shows the engine and a tyreless wheel. The third picture is taken looking north towards Dumfries and in the fourth we are looking south along what appears to be the line of the crash - as though the plane came in from the south.

The crash site is hard to find because it lies in a hollow scar in the hillside which was probably caused by the crash itself - as you can see in the fourth picture. The terrain it is in is very difficult trackless heather where you never know at each step you take whether you are putting your foot into a hole or onto the top of instable vegetation - not for the faint hearted.

The following paragraph was put on this web page immediately after finding this wreck in September 2012. In October 2012 I discovered that the five people aboard the plane had survived. My first instinct was of course to remove the paragraph for historical continuity sake and yet what I was describing is what anyone who did not know the full story might feel in such a place.

The fifth picture shows one of the several parts of the fuselage which are to be found here. Crash sites always make you stop and think about the precariousness of life, but the grass growing through the metal here has its own particular poignancy. For 68 years, as I write this, this wreck has been lying here in silent unblinking testimony. Very few people from nearby Dumfries will ever have been here and most will not even know of its existence and yet it goes on being here through all weathers and all times of day making its own assertion. So this is a secret hidden place of perpetual unsung monumentality that commands reverence and empathy for these hill-men-by- accident who never walked back out from the hill. There is an international community of such men scattered through these SW of Scotland hills, mainly dating from the war years. Crash sites put this extra human focus on the particularity of place that the lover of the outdoors instinctively seeks anyway wherever he/she goes in wild places - it's like you feel the welcoming presence of the community who forever dwell here in these places.

All these "poetic" feelings my imagination inspired me to describe in September are not invalidated by this new bit of knowledge that the men survived. It is perhaps even more interesting for a fellow human being that these hill-men-by-accident actually did walk out from the hill and that this is a good news story for a change; perhaps even making it unique in this area for that reason. The place still has the imprint of human drama attached and the fact that the wreckage has been left to commemorate the incident recognises this.

Engine and wheel from the crashed anson
Looking north towards Dumfries through the debris at the crash site
Looking south through the debris at the crash site
Part of the fuselage with grass growing through it
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Site Homepage - Galloway Home - Large Map of Galloway - List of Galloway Pages
List of crash sites in Galloway hills
Story of the Spitfire called Blue Peter which crashed near Cairnsmore of Carsphairn
Crash site on Criffel
Crash site on north gairy of Corserine