NR4273 : Wreck of the Wyre Majestic, Rubh' a' Mhill, Islay

taken 14 years ago, near to Bunnahabhain, Argyll And Bute, Great Britain

Wreck of the Wyre Majestic, Rubh' a' Mhill, Islay
Wreck of the Wyre Majestic, Rubh' a' Mhill, Islay
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338t. Steel Motor Vessel
Built by Cochrane and Sons, Selby.
Launched July 1956.

The crews of the two Fleetwood trawlers Wyre Majestic and her sister ship Wyre Defence had planned to spend a last night in Oban before heading south for home. They landed their catch at Oban around lunchtime on the 18th October, 1974 but, as the harbour was particularly busy, they could not get a berth for the night. The two skippers agreed to continue their voyage home directly, planning to head down the Firth of Lorne, west of Scarba and Jura then through the Sound of Islay.

All went well until they reached the entrance to the Sound of Islay around 7pm that evening. By this time the sun had set and in the growing darkness the Wyre Defence was a couple of miles ahead of her sister ship. The narrow confines of the Sound of Islay, with fearsome currents which reach 5 knots at times, is not the best passage in the dark but, as high tide was around 8pm, the skippers were unconcerned. It is not clear exactly why the Wyre Majestic went aground but, shortly after entering the Sound and with the bosun at the helm, she ran full speed ahead onto the rocks at Rubha a Mhail.

Her distress call was picked up ashore and the Islay lifeboat was launched from Port Askaig and was quickly on the scene. The Wyre Defence turned back and was also standing by her sister ship. First the lifeboat then the Wyre Defence tried to pull her off but neither could manage it. The Wyre Majestic had a large gash in her and had quickly filled with water and settled heavily on the rocks. Five of her crew were taken off by the lifeboat but the skipper and two others stayed aboard hoping that the salvage tug that had been called out would be able to get her off. The tug arrived the next day but attempts to pull her off the rocks failed. She was abandoned and became a total wreck. The wreck was salvaged to some degree but still sits where she ran aground. It is possible to board her although her structural condition looks extremely unsafe. In recent years the Wyre Majestic has begun to break up, no doubt hastened by the strong tides which constantly race around her hull.
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NR4273, 51 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 2 September, 2007   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 18 May, 2011
Geographical Context
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NR 424 732 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:53.0030N 6:7.2428W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NR 424 732
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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