80 Years On…the Island

Thursday 9th November comments: The Isle of May NNR is well known for its spectacular wildlife; from its thousands of breeding seabirds to its important Grey Seal colonies and everything else in-between from cetaceans to migrant birds. However the human history of the island is as long as it is intriguing.

Evidence of medieval Isle of May is very evident whilst the lighthouses are monuments to a bygone era. As the seabirds have now long departed, it gives us the opportunity to explore areas of the island which we often can’t access.

The eastern shoreline is one of those areas and it’s interesting to see the broken, twisted rusting metal fragments that once belonged to a boat (ironically) called the Island. The Island was a Danish cargo ship (1,774 ton ship) which hit the Isle of May in dense fog on 13th April 1937 (80 years ago this year) as it was heading to nearby Leith. Thankfully all sixty-six people on board were rescued and interestingly it was the captains last ever voyage as he was due to retire after the journey having made 260 previous trips.

Once everyone was off, the ships contents were taken for salvage and the boat was left in situ for the North Sea to claim. 80 years on and what remains of her are still on the island and it’s a reminder of the perils to shipping.

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