Scots Roots

USAAF Liberator Crash Memorial, Gairloch
November 12, 2015, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: , ,

Liberator Bomber 1The Fairy Lochs are a group of small lochs in the hills to the south of Badachro near Gairloch in Wester Ross. Although they make for a fine walk, they are also known for the war memorial to a crashed USAAF Liberator bomber which came down here in 1945 killing all 15 of the men on board.

Liberator Bomber 2It’s a tragic story, not least because the war in Europe had ended and these young men were on their way home to the United States.

Just weeks before, all of them had been assigned to slow surface transport back to the USA, but orders were changed when this B-24 that had just been repaired became available for a faster trip home.

Liberator Bomber 3On 13th June 1945, they left Prestwick Airfield in Scotland heading first for Keflavik in Iceland, a route that should have taken them across Stornoway in the Western Isles. It’s not clear how they ended up inland over Gairloch but something went wrong, perhaps bad weather, perhaps mechanical failure.

The pilot attempted a crash landing but the area is too rocky and the plane crashed into the Fairy Lochs scattering wreckage over a wide area.

Liberator Bomber 4All fifteen of the men perished – nine crewmen and six passengers from Air Transport Command.

The bodies were all recovered for burial so this is not a war grave as such but most of the wreckage still litters the hillside over a large area and some can be seen in the lochs. A memorial plaque has been placed on a cliff-face beside some of the wreckage.

Liberator Bomber 5

Those who perished were:

 Flight Crew

1st/Lt Jack B Ketchum (22), Pilot.

1st/Lt J H Spencer (22), Co-Pilot.

2nd/Lt R J Robak (20), Navigator.

Technical Sgt H L Cheek (21), Flight Engineer.

Technical Sgt J C Stammer (23), Wireless Op.

Staff Sgt E J Gilles (24), Air Gunner.

Staff Sgt A L Natkin (20), Air Gunner.

Staff Sgt R E Davis (26), Air Gunner.

Staff Sgt H Riefen (25), Air Gunner.

Air Transport Command

Staff Sgt J B Ellis Jr. (24), 314th T.C.G.

Staff Sgt J D Harvey (30), 314th T.C.G.

Staff Sgt A W Hastings (23), 314th T.C.G.

Staff Sgt E Einarsen (48), 314th T.C.G

Staff Sgt J H Hallissey (27), 93rd B.G. (H

Staff Sgt R J Francis (20), 323rd B.G. (H).

Liberator Bomber 6

Ruthven Barracks
October 28, 2015, 9:43 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

Ruthven 1Following the failed Jacobite rising in 1715, the British Government embarked on building four infantry barracks across the highlands to house troops outposted from the main forts at Fort George and Fort William.

Ruthven 2Ruthven Barracks was completed in 1721 on a prominent mound near Kingussie at a point where the military roads from Inverness, Perth and Fort Augustus came together. It housed 120 men and in 1734 a stable block was built behind it to accommodate 28 horses.

On the day following their defeat at Culloden in 1746, 3,000 Jacobites retreated to Ruthven where they received a message from Prince Charles Edward Stuart to disperse as their situation was hopeless. The departing Jacobites set fire to the barracks on 17 April 1746. Most of the interior was destroyed but the outer walls still stand today.

Ruthven 3

The Great Tapestry of Scotland
September 29, 2015, 9:48 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags:

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 1The Great Tapestry of Scotland 2The Great Tapestry of Scotland, depicting 12,000 years of Scottish history, is currently the longest embroidered tapestry in the world at 143 metres long.

It was the brainchild of the writer Alexander McCall Smith who, together with historian Alistair Moffat and artistic designer Andrew Crummy, formed a team to produce the tapestry with the aid of more than 1,000 stitchers, all volunteers, from all over Scotland.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 3It took 65,000 hours of stitching and used over 300 miles of wool.

The 160 panels detail Scotland’s history from the Ice Age to the forming of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Taking over two years to complete, the tapestry is currently touring Scotland and will eventually be displayed in a purpose built gallery in the Scottish Borders.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 4

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 5

Neil Gunn Memorial
September 14, 2015, 11:23 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

Neil Gunn 1Neil Gunn 2High above the valley of the River Peffery, on the Heights of Brae, stands a monument to the famous Highland writer Neil Gunn.

The site for the memorial was chosen because Neil spent many of his most prolific years living at Brae Farm House which is situated just down the slope from the monument. He tended to write mainly in the mornings and spent his afternoons walking – a favourite walk being up through the fields behind the house and on to the moors and hills beyond the Heights road.

Neil Gunn 3Neil and his wife Daisy spent 12 years at Brae Farm House – from 1938 to 1950 – and in that period he wrote 11 of his 20 novels including The Silver Darlings and The Green Isle of the Great Deep.

The monument was unveiled on 31 October 1987 by Sorley Maclean, the poet, and Jessie Kesson, the writer. The views from the Heights of Brae are fantastic – with Dingwall and the Cromarty Firth to the east, Knockfarrel and the Grampians to the south, the mountains of Kintail to the west and Ben Wyvis to the north.

Neil Gunn 4

Brae Farm

Neil Gunn 5

Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2015
September 1, 2015, 11:44 am
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: , ,

Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival

Strathpeffer Spa
August 17, 2015, 10:21 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags:
Strathpeffer Square

           Strathpeffer Square

Strathpeffer Pavilion

Strathpeffer Pavilion

In the 1700s, sulphurous springs were discovered in the small village of Strathpeffer in Ross and Cromarty, which were widely acclaimed for their healing properties.

People came from all over the UK and Europe to sample the waters.

In 1818 a permanent Spa Pavilion was built to house the spring.

The popularity of the village increased as the railways started to reach the north of Scotland, a branch line to Strathpeffer being opened in 1885.

Strathpeffer Pump Room

Strathpeffer Pump Room

This led to the building of grand hotels and large villas to accommodate the growing stream of visitors coming to take the waters.

The village’s popularity as a spa waned following the second world war but Strathpeffer remains a tourist attraction with several of the old pump buildings having been restored and the Victorian station’s conversion into a museum and café.

Strathpeffer Station

                 Strathpeffer Station                 

Fairy Pools
August 1, 2015, 9:39 am
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: ,

Fairy Pools 3A fine walk across moorland and through heather, the Fairy Pools can be found at the foot of the Black Cuillin near the road to Glenbrittle on the Isle of Skye. The walk itself is fairly short, only about 2 km, but very rewarding with fantastic views of the mountains.

Fairy Pools 2

Fairy Pools 1

The pools are formed on the River Brittle as it heads down the Coire na Creiche over numerous waterfalls. Hardy souls have been known to take a dip in the pools but the water isn’t warm.

Fairy Pools 5

Fairy Pools 4

Fairy Pools 6


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers

%d bloggers like this: