The steel steamship Cathcartpark was launched from the Greenock yard of Carmichael, MacLean and Company (Yard No. 5) on 21 July 1897. She measured 208.2′ x 29.7′ x 13.6′ and her tonnage was 840 gross, 453 net. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by Hutson & Son of Glasgow delivering 99 registered horse power.
She was built for the Cathcart Steamship Company based in Greenock and managed by J & J Denholm. In 1910 her ownership changed when she was sold to the Denholm Line, steamship owners and operators also based in Greenock. She remained in their ownership until her loss two years later.
The Cathcartpark was en route from Runcorn to Wick with a cargo of salt, valued at £2000, when she ran aground on Sheep Island, one of the Torran Rocks, near Iona on the 15th April 1912. Despite the vessel lying with a forty five degree list to port and down by the bow, the crew of 10, under the command of Captain Thomas Blair, managed to lower two of the ship’s boats and rowed safely ashore, one landing at Iona and the other on the mainland of Mull. Over the next week the ship was gradually broken apart by the incessant hammering of the waves. By the 18th salvage experts reported the keel up and her hull plates parting. By the 22nd the deck was awash even at low tide and the bridge and deckhouse had been washed away and Lloyd’s agent on Mull recommended immediate sale of the wreck. There were no further entries in Lloyd’s List and the Cathcartpark was probably abandoned, we have been unable to trace any reference to the sale of the wreck, nor any immediate salvage activity, the vessel at loss was valued at £10,000.
The remaining wreckage of the Cathcartpark lies on the east side of a group of treacherous reefs collectively called the Torran Rocks. This extensive reef system which covers around 25 square kilometres to the south west of the Ross of Mull, is made up of a number of small islets and reefs and is a shipwreck graveyard. In 1865 no fewer than 22 vessels were reported lost on ‘the Torrans’ in a single storm, prompting the construction of a new lighthouse on Dubh Artach, completed in 1872 .
Zooming in closer to the wreck site we need to find an islet named Torr an T-Saothaid (aka Sheep Island). The wreckage lies on the east side of this small island on a submerged reef (with no name) that just shows at LW on spring tides. If there is any swell, the reef shows with breaking water and fronds of kelp on the surface. The wreckage lies between this reef and the island on the north and west slopes of the reef in approximate position 56° 14.386’N, 06° 23.502’W. The wreckage lies on a rock seabed between 7 and 23 metres. The rock and wreckage is covered with thick kelp during much of the year and while most of the wreck is flattened and scattered due to the exposed nature of the site, items such as propellor, quadrant, engine, winch and boiler are still visible.