Remembering the Sydney

I came back to find a new headstone up on the headland opposite the cottage. It commemorates the sinking of the merchant ship Sydney ,carrying timber on her way back from Canada to Greenock in the 1870.

The ship struck the vicious rocks off the Sturrel and only 2 of the 21 crew made it ashore.

As a kid I was shown the moss-covered rocks where they buried 4 of the sailors .

The headstone comes as a surprise – why now in 2009? was it put up by relatives? – , but when I ask our nearest neighbour (3 miles up the valley) about it, he simply says that the old people who had first/second hand knowledge of the shipwreck are all dying out now , and so it seemed time for the story to pass into stone .

It’s a simple memorial but moving, with a crude etched 3 masted barque on one side and the names of the crew on the other – true hybrid 19Th C sailor names like Hernandez McDougall , Greenock. No rank, just the towns they came from.

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