On the 2nd of January 1945, just before I was born, a Consolidated B-24 Liberator, an American heavy bomber crashed on Burn Fell. The aircraft was being ferried from Seething in Norfolk to Warton near Preston, most of the passengers were a second aircrew who were going to fly another aircraft back to Seething. The crew had become disorientated in low cloud and snow showers, they obtained a radio fix on Warton and the pilot turned onto the appropriate heading to get to Warton and while flying at just 1500ft the aircraft flew into the top of Burn Fell, slewed round demolishing a stone wall and bursting into flames. Most of the aircraft was reduced to ashes, fortunately of the 19 aircrew onboard 15 of them survived the crash and subsequent fire. People from farms below the crash site came to rescue the survivors from the snowy hillside with makeshift stretchers and human strength.
I passed the site of this disaster on today’s walk in Bowland.
A bright sunny morning, and I was parked up in Dunsop Bridge before most people had stirred. The walk up into the Dunsop Valley is familiar and the water board road gives access to both the Brennand and Whitendale valleys, with the hill of Middle Knoll [not to be confused with nearby Mellor Knoll] between them. Where the roads split there is a small footbridge across the river which takes you onto a track up into Whitendale above the water.
At Costy Clough the track gives way to a narrow path, This is delightful walking with the hills beckoning ahead whilst the water tumbles below. The farm at Whitendale comes into view, part of the royal Duchy Estate. By now I was in fairly remote hill country and using trods through the heather, A sign post erected by the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society showed my options just above Whitendale Farm. I’ve never quite known who they are. From this area I had a view to the southern face of Middle Knoll and was surprised to see how steep and rocky it looked. The lambs around here looked almost newborn, very unsteady on their legs. A zig zagging track started to climb out of the valley onto Dunsop Fell, mainly to visit some shooting butts, but it gave me an easy way up to the watershed especially as the peat was less squelchy than usual. Suddenly there were people ahead of me, I caught them up at the top as they took in the views. A family group from Wigan who seemed to know the area well. Oh, and here is another one of those signs. Where the three went down I contoured and found a path of sorts leading to the trig point on Burn Fell, 431 m. Over to the east were the Three Peaks, Yorkshire’s finest. Below was Stocks Reservoir, Waddington Fell with its mast and behind that the big end of Pendle. I followed the wall past the trig with Totridge Fell ahead and the Hodder Valley stretching out towards Longridge Fell, these Bowland Fells group themselves closely together, I could clearly see the line of my Longridge Skyline Walk coming off Totridge Fell, over Mellor Knoll down to the Hodder, over Birkett Fell to Waddington Fell before dropping to recross the Hodder and finish over Longridge Fell.
A few 100 m past the summit I came across the remains of the B-24, bits of molten metal and glass. A cross has been erected and there is a stone memorial to the four airmen who lost their lives.
A track of sorts through the boggy heather slowly brought me off the fell and down a grassy rake towards Beatrix Farm. It was here that I started to encounter boxes/tunnels designed to trap stoats etc. as I neared pheasant breading copses. Inside each box was a strong spring-loaded trap. I’m not sure of the legality of these traps as any prey would suffer a horrible death. The remains of a ?rabbit in one showed that they are not regularly checked. It was surprisingly how vicious they were when a stone was accidentally dropped onto a trap.
A lane down into Dunsop Bridge gave easy walking after the rough stuff on the fells. Bluebell woods welcomed me into the hamlet at the centre of the Isles. Cups of tea at the café beckoned before my drive home. Today I had seen or heard wagtails, skylarks, oyster catchers, cuckoos, curlews, buzzards and whilst getting into the car a dipper on the stream below.*****
Getting some rough walking in before heading to Scotland!
Hi, Have recently been doing a bit of exploring of Peak District and the Peak and Northern Footpath Soc do a great job on some of the remote paths and those liable to be neglected by landowners. Loads of signs around the Stockport and East Chesire area.
Yes it certainly looks like worth supporting them with a donation or membership.
Their signs are made to last!
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