B29 Overexposed

Never check the weather when visiting the peaks, pack for the worst, expect the best, we almost postponed but actually the weather was perfect walking weather.

We set off around 0700 hours Sunday with a few snacks, a couple of bottles of water and precautionary warmer clothes and waterproofs.

Parking is fairly limited so arriving at 8am on a Sunday was perfect, I wouldn't want to try my luck at midday on the weekend. It's really easy to find on Snake Pass at the summit before you drop down towards Glossop, a beautiful drive by Ladybower which was perfectly still set the tone for the scenery we were to expect.

The walk start point is straight forward and starts on a stoned path, we followed this keeping the higher shelf stones on our left and after 40 minutes of walking we decided to take a left over slightly more challenging ground but nothing difficult. You have to drop into some ravines and up the other side over softer ground which I imagine in wetter seasons or after a downpour could be a more messy affair. We weren't following a map just knew our bearings were ok and the grass is well trodden so makes the direction easy to follow.

As we headed up to higher ground we knew we were heading the right way as part of the wreckage sat alone sprouting out of the peaty earth like a new spring flower.

At this point the only road you can see is the A57 through the early morning haze, as the you top the crest and the land opens up the wreckage is in full sight spread across the landscape.

I was astounding at how intact the pieces were and how close together they were but I have read that some parts may have been moved to a more central location which makes sense for tourists.

The reason for the aircraft’s crash is a little mysterious due to the sudden and catastrophic nature of its impact with the moor. On 3 November 1948 it took off from RAF Scampton bound for RAF Burtonwood carrying wages and 2 passengers. During the flight, the aircraft’s vision was obscured by heavy cloud. Basing their location on flight time alone, the crew estimated they’d already flown past the hills and decided to descend. Hitting the ground at approximately 11am at several hundred MPH, the B-29 carrier burst into flames, tragically taking the lives of all 11 crew and 2 military passengers.

After spending time at the crash site we headed uphill to the shelf stones and took cover from the wind with a brew looking down over Glossop and what we could only presume was Manchester in the distance. The views were breath-taking, that 10 minute stop was so calm and refreshingly silent (maybe not so at peak times) this repaid the 0600 alarm.

We decided on a circular route which took us back toward the road via a couple of stream crossings and we followed the waters edge but as it dropped away we climbed to higher ground passing lambs with their mothers. Once again an easy enough walk, all would be possible with children. A highly recommended walk for the outdoorsy type.

 

THE AIRCRAFT

Over Exposed was a reconnaissance RB-29 version of the famous Boeing B29 Superfortress bomber. The aircraft was one of the largest to fly during WWII and saw service into the Korean war with the US and other airforces. The B-29 was rushed out at the end of the war to be used as part of the invasion of the Japanese mainland where intense bombing of Japanese cities became seen as the only way to prevent huge casualties amongst the planned invading forces.

The B-29 has the dubious distinction of being the only aircraft ever to have dropped nuclear weapons in combat (“Enola Gay” on Hiroshima and “Bockscar” on Nagasaki).

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