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Wrecks OF The Pentland Firth
Part One  1830 - 1890
W. Bremner and D.G. Sinclair

 Historical Articles    Wrecks Part Two 1918 - 1933   Wrecks Part Three 1934 - 1981

1830 - 1846  1847 - 1865  1884 - 1890
1866 - 1883

10.1866 During dense fog the schooner "GAZELLE" of Bangor, bound thence to Aberdeen with a cargo of staves, ran aground on the shoal between the Pentland Skerries Lighthouse and the Little Skerries. She drifted off next morning and sank in deep water. The crew and the greater part of the cargo were taken off by Mr. William Smith, pilot, and others and landed at Wick.

11.1866 The steamer "BATTALION" Danzig to Dublin with a cargo of wheat, went ashore at the Ness of Huna. After jettisoning part of her cargo she was light enough to float off and proceeded on her voyage apparently undamaged.

11.1866 The brig "ADMIRAL" of Aberdeen entered Wick Bay, finding out too late that she could not get into the harbour, dropped both anchors off the pier. There was a heavy surge. A boat went out from the harbour and took off the crew. The ship rode out the night but next day she dragged both anchors and was smashed to pieces. She was carrying a cargo of timber from the Baltic to Wick.

11.1866 The schooner "ADELAIDE" of Thurso (Master, Capt. Swanson) was wrecked at Freswick during a gale while on her way from Sunderland with a cargo of coal. All the crew were saved.

11.1866 The Kirkwall fore-and-aft schooner "JUBILEE" was wrecked as she attempted to make Wick harbour during a severe gale. The anchor failed to hold and she drifted towards the old breakwater. The skipper and the two man crew were rescued by local fishermen.

11.1866 The Wick smack "TOWN" (Capt. Morrison, master) was driven ashore at Loch Eriboll on passage to Thurso. The crew were saved.

12.1866 The Liverpool brigantine "GULNORE" for Aberdeen with a cargo of salt, went aground at Scarfskerry. Local fishermen rescued the master and four of the crew by wading into the water and throwing a rope aboard. The mate was washed away and lost. His body was recovered a few days later and he was buried in Dunnet Churchyard.

8.11.1866 Five lives saved by Thurso Lifeboat "POLLY" from the schooner "ANACONDA" of Lerwick during very heavy seas in Thurso Bay.

1.1867 The sloop "SEA BIRD", laden with goods for various stations on the West Coast, went ashore near Loch Eriboll. No lives were lost. Some of the cargo was saved but the vessel became a total loss.

2.1867 The sloop "INDUSTRY", belonging to Wm. Gow, merchant, Wick was wrecked in Wick Bay after returning from Tongue. She missed stays near the new harbour and was driven ashore on the north side of the bay where heavy surf was breaking. Fortunately the pilots were out at another vessel and seeing the Industry's lights disappear, they made for her but could not approach from the sea. They landed at one of the harbours on the north side of the bay and proceeded on foot along the cliffs with ropes. They rescued the crew.

1867 "WILLTAM AND HARRY" ran ashore and sank in deep water after slipping off and wrecked at Treageo. Crew landed by Stroma men. This vessel carried a gun aft.

3. 2.1869 During fierce WNW gale, the schooner "WILLIAM THOMSON" of Dumfries dragged her anchors in heavy seas in Scrabster Roads. Her crew of 4 abandoned ship in the small ship's boat and succeeded in reaching the schooner "BLOSSOM" of Thurso which had a crew of 3. The "BLOSSOM"'s anchors also started to drag, a distress signal was hoisted, and all 7 men on board the "BLOSSOM" were rescued by Thurso Lifeboat the "POLLY".

26. 2.1869 The schooner "ELIZABETH MILLER" of Thurso with 4 on board and the schooner "MATIIDA CALDER" of Findhorn in distress in rough seas in Thurso Bay. Thurso Lifeboat "POLLY" rescued both crews.

26.10.1869 Stornoway brig "SUPPLY" exhibited distress signal in Thurso Bay during northerly gale. Crew of 7 rescued by Thurso Lifeboat "POLLY".

1871 "WILLIAM MITCHELL" with cargo of wood from America, stranded at John o' Groats in calm weather. Cargo all landed and reshipped and vessel sold and broken up. Salvage employed large number of local people and proved remunerative.

4.10.1872 Brigantine "MARY HOLLAND" of Liverpool in distress. Crew of 7 rescued by Thurso Lifeboat "CHARLEY LLOYD".

4.10.1872 Brig "ELIZA" of Belfast in distress. Crew of 5 plus a woman and child rescued by Thurso Lifeboat "CHARLEY LLOYD".

9. 3.1876 Barque "WALKER HALL" of Sunderland dragged anchor in Scrabster Roads and eventually became a total wreck. The crew of 11 were rescued by the Thurso Lifeboat "CHARLEY LLOYD"

1876 "RESCUE", with cargo of wood from Quebec, went ashore at John o' Groats, in calm weather. She was kept on the rocks under full sail in case she slipped off and capsized. Cargo saved by local men and later reshipped. Insurance Company presented the wreck to those who had saved the cargo and this was a boon to the locals as every bolt and the sheath of the Hull was of copper, a dear commodity.

1877 "EOS", a Norwegian brig, in ballast, was totally wrecked in the Bay of Sannick, in a fierce gale. All the crew were saved by lowering themselves from the bowsprit where they were caught by local men and dragged to safety.

? "HENRY", a brig with a cargo of wood, ran aground in Sannick Bay. Refloated and towed to Orkney for repairs.

? "_____", Welsh schooner, name unknown, with cargo of Welsh 81ates became a total wreck in Sannick Bay.

11.11.1877 Thurso Bay rescues by Thurso Lifeboat "CHARLEY LLOYD" in severe south-easterly gale: "VINE" - crew of 2 rescued; "BARROGILL CASTLE" of Wick - crew of 5 rescued; "GUIDING STAR" of Wick - crew of 4 rescued; "KATE" of Ramsey - crew of 4 rescued; "ALFRED AND EMMA" of Barrow - crew of 4 rescued.

1878 The "THETIS", laden with flax, went ashore on Stroma, at Langaton Point, The flax was salvaged.

16. 9.1878 During a very severe westerly gale, 19 sailing vessels and two steamers were anchored in Scrabster Roads. Many started to drag their anchors and Thurso lifeboat "CHARLEY LLOYD" launched several times with the following results: Rescued crew of 5 from brigantine "ST.HELEN" of Caernarvon; Rescued crew of 3 from the smack "MAGGIE" of Sunderland; Rescued crew of 2 from the smack "ANN" of Berwick. On another 4 trips the same day the lifeboat saved another 31 lives from the following vessels: "EVA" of Runcorn; "UNIONIST" of Berwick; "CAROLINE MARTON" of Dumfries; "JANE SHEARER" of Thurso; "ANN" of Runcorn; "PHOENICIAN" of Douglas; and "LARK" of Aberdeen.

5. 3.1883 The schooner "HEPHSIBAH" of Caernarvon with a crew of 5 and the smack "ANNIE" of Port Dinorwick with a crew of 3 at anchor OFF Thurso in a severe northerly gale showed distress signals, Thurso lifeboat "CHARLEY LLOYD" rescued all 8 men.

6. 3.1883 Distress signals sighted in Thurso Bay from three vessels in danger of being driven on to rocks. They were the schooners "BELLA" and "WILLIAM AND MARTHA", both of Wick and the "GOVERNOR LOCH" of Inverness. A total of 13 men were rescued from these vessels by the Thurso Lifeboat "CHARLEY LLOYD". Later that same day the lifeboat rescued the crew of 5 from the schooner "ENIGMA' of Port St. Mary, which was also in danger of being driven ashore.

1883 "CONCORD", a Norwegian schooner, foundered south of Duncansby Head with the loss of all hands. She was seen next day drifting, bottom up, westward through the Pentland Firth.

1884 - 1890