Monday, 30 June 2014

Shelf-ish, and Overexposed.

OK, back to the Derbyshire hills! It's been a while since my last walking post (mainly because I've been concentrating on these pictures HERE

In 2011 (I was AMAZED that three years had elapsed since), Sue & I went on Bleaklow looking for the wreckage of a crashed American Superfortress aircraft called ‘overexposed’. The day was very cold, and light was at a premium. We failed that day (you can see the pictures HERE so today, with fair weather and lots of time, we decided to take another shot at it!
On the drive there, we stopped, and looking out across the moors, we spied Carl Wark and Higger tor, two other favourite places for this sort of clear day.

 Also, just before ‘Surprise view’ above Hathersage, the  unmistakable ‘Mother cap’ stone.

 The edges, big sighs from us – we actually LIVE here, and it’s wonderful to have all this on your doorstep.

 Well, who could ask for better, for a walk of ANY sort. We parked the car on the Snake pass where the Pennine way crosses, and looked over the beautiful (in this light) Shelf moor. These moors can be very bleak, cold and inhospitable (yes, even dangerous) in winter, but in Summer, they come alive!
With Curlew, skylark, Grouse etc calling as we walked, today was just perfect.

 The Pennine Way fingerpost points out across Shelf moor.

Early frogspawn dotted the acidic, brackish pools of water on the moors.

The ‘laid’ Pennine Way path. So many feet have caused erosion, so this sort of repair work is, like it or not, necessary.

We were on a mission!
Sue ticks off the miles as we began our search for the ill-fated aircraft, which came down in 1948.
You can read up far more extensively on it HERE 

Last time we came, we had a job to see much at all, but today was clear and bright. We realised that a glint we could see was the sunlight actually reflecting off parts of the wreckage!! This made our job FAR easier, and we headed off the path towards the light.
(Notice the little ‘Christmas tree’ – trees on the moor??? UNHEARD of!)

Not much life up here, apart from birds and frogspawn, BUT we were really lucky to catch sight of this lizard, camouflaged as he was.

The ubiquitous grouse, always calling us to; ‘GO BACK, GO BACK, GO BACK!’

 I tried to record the call HERE

This is why it’s often hard to navigate these moors (and easy to get lost).
The peat rises up and blocks any view or reference point.

All at once we saw it – lots of aircraft parts strewn over the landscape.

It was a sombre moment – to think that 13 young lives were lost on that bleak day.
If they had flown only a FEW FEET higher, they would have missed the crest of the moor.
Thirteen really WAS unlucky for them!

All around, people have fashioned stone crosses in memorial to the dead.

There’s a video of the site on YouTube HERE

You can see a couple of the crosses on the sides of the peat.

And this plaque tells the story.

Looking towards the trig’ point on Shelf moor.

The extensive wreckage covers a large area.

A section of the wing.

 A wheel.

The engines.

We left the wreck site and walked up to the trig’ point on Shelf moor.

That’s where we wanted to go next, higher shelf stones..

In the past, vandals (as that’s what they are) have carved names into the rocks of Shelf stones.

It was a gorgeous day, and we were lapping it up.
We sat on higher shelf stones for lunch, admiring the huge panorama, crystal clear today in these conditions.

Looking over to the Wain stones.

Looking back to the trig’ point (or ‘ordnance column’, as Wainwright always called them).

Sue posing on the sticky-out bits!

Lower shelf stones and the ‘doctors gate’ path in the valley below.

We could see Laddow rocks & Black Hill, looking north across the valley too.

Me, atop higher shelf stones.

We caught sight of a mountain hare, bereft of his winter coat now.
They turn pure white up here in winter for camouflage purposes. 

These rocks reminded me of the Moai statues of Easter island.
Not as many, but still impressive, and all done by mother nature.

The famous ‘kissing stones’ or Wain stones, to give them their proper name.
Panorama from shelf stones CLICK HERE 

Sue has a kiss.

Some people think that the Pennine way is all waymarked.
Well, it is in places, BUT – can YOU see the stone???
(I’ve placed an arrow to help you).

And so, we came to the end of the walk.
‘Mission accomplished’ – we’d found the wreck of ‘overexposed’, and felt vindicated from our previous unsuccessful foray.
Every cloud has a silver lining, eh?

Below is the harrowing story of the recovery operation.
BE WARNED - it is not for the fasint-hearted, BUT it does portray the extreme difficulty of such an operation at that time, and with antiquated equipment;
Click on each page to enlarge for reading.


  1. What a great walk, and super weather for it! I've never visited the crash site but it's one I've wanted to do for while!

    1. Easy to find, will point you in right direction when you come in August x