The Triple Buttress
© P.D.G. Meredith (Canon EOS1000F)

The Triple Buttress

On the night of the 13th March 1951, a Lancaster bomber from Kinloss was flying towards Rockall and the Faroes on a navigation exercise. At 2 am, when returning to Kinloss and flying solely on instruments, it struck the top of the Triple Buttress at a height of 2850 ft. The plane was reported missing, but it could not be found until a local 10 year old child reported having seen flares in the night sky over Beinn Eighe. There was heavy snow in the area and repeated attempts to reach the spot failed, until eventually two Royal Marine commandos reached the wreckage on the top. The whole crew of 8 perished in the disaster but by the end of March only four bodies had been found. It wasn't until the end of August that all the bodies were discovered. The remains of the aircraft were lodged on a cliff, but were later dynamited to remove any potential hazard. The debris can still be seen on the slopes of the Buttress, including a propeller and undercarriage. The gully that can be seen at the right hand end of the Triple Buttress is known locally as 'fuselage gully'.

Most visitors are unaware of these events, and the most regularly walked route comes down from the ridge at a point just out of view on the left hand side of this photograph. From this spot it is a long, rugged walk back to the road in Glen Torridon.

The Triple Buttresses form the southern face of a corrie known as Coire Mhic Fhearchair. This is a deep dark corrie where the sun rarely reaches. The view from below the buttress looking north shows this more clearly.

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