The steel steam trawler Calabria was launched from the Selby yard of Cochrane and Sons Ltd (Yard No 335) on 24th January 1905. She measured 121.9′ x 21.6′ x 11.2′ and her tonnage was 220 gross tons, 92 net tons. She was powered by a 3 cylinder triple expansion steam engine by Charles D. Holmes and Co Ltd, Hull delivering 60 registered horse power. Ordered by the Grimsby Alliance Steam Fishing Company she was registered in that port GY50 on 28th February 1905.
In August 1908 she was sold to Akties Fiskeriselkab Norden of Fredrickstad, Norway who reamed her Gudrun but she returned to Grimsby Allaince ownership only two years later who changed her name yet again to Cerealia. During World War One she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and served throughout the war as Auxiliary Patrol Vessel 674 before being purchased by the Savoy Fishing Co Ltd of Grimsby in March 1918. Her final owners, Ashworth, Morris and Taylor of Fleetwood bought her in May 1919 and registered her in that port FD165.
The Sound of Islay with its strong tides and unpredictable eddies has brought many vessels to grief over the centuries. Trawlers seem to be particularly susceptible to mishap in this stretch of water with at least twelve serious casualties and many more minor strandings which have not resulted in the total loss of the vessel. Four steam trawler wrecks are still apparent to this day. The most northerly of this quartet is the Cerealia which was lost on the 25th November, 1920 en route to her home port with a full hold of fish. She was lost when she ran aground on Sgeir Traigh at the north entrance to the Sound of Islay in poor weather conditions and reduced visibility.
The wreck of the Cerealia lies on the Jura side of the north entrance to the Sound of Islay in position 55° 55.058’N, 006° 04.697’W (GPS), on the NW side of the reef. The remains of the trawler, which can only be described as wreckage, lie on the north side of the reef of Sgeir Traigh in depths ranging from 5 – 10 metres. There are a few items which are still recognisable including her huge boiler, engine and main winches but much of the hull is flattened, no doubt due to the pounding of the swell on this exposed rock. There are little to no tidal streams around the site but the exposed nature of the location leaves a diver potentially exposed to significant swells in rough weather.
The images below are frame grabs from a short video shot in 1998. Poor quality, but they do give a feel for the site and unless you are passing, its a long way for a serious kelp dive!