By Gabbi Armstrong
Communications Project Manager for the North Coast 500
Published: 3rd May 2018

WWII American Bomber Wreckage

The 26,000 acre estate of Shieldaig, outside Gairloch offers a variety of walks and hikes, ranging in distance and terrain. There are a number of beaches, lochs and munros to explore, but one of Sheildaig’s hiking highlights is the route behind Shieldaig Lodge to the charmingly named Fairy Lochs and to the crash site of a World War II B-24 Liberator. Quiet and still, the location also offers one of the most open views of the area.

The path is well marked, and it is about a 45 minute gentle climb upwards from the hotel. The walk starts by turning left out of the Lodge entrance and immediately right after the field, past an old steading and cattle handling area, and across a small bridge. This is the start of the stalkers track, and around 500m onwards you will see the sign directing walkers to the crashed bomber site. The path winds its way up with the Fairy Lochs on the left.

The site, which holds remains of the American bomber, from a forlorn engine in the loch to a memorial made from a propeller and a wheel, is truly solemn and thought-provoking, and classed as a war grave.

At the time of the accident in June 1945, the plane was returning to the United States via Keflavik in Iceland, when it ran afoul of the summit of Slioch. In its bid to reach open water to crash land, it pitched into the rocks and crashed into the Fairy Lochs scattering wreckage over a wide area. Sadly, all 15 crew and passengers on board died in the accident. Visitors to the area will see a memorial plaque which was organised by the loved ones of those killed.

With uneven terrain, that is muddy in parts, suitable footwear and clothing is recommended.

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Photos: Graeme Milne

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