The cargo passenger steamship Doris was built by Wood, Skinner & Co. Ltd., in Newcastle (Yard No.89) and launched on 31 March 1900. Her dimensions were 255.0′ x 36.0′ x 15.7′ and 965nt. At the time of her loss she was owned by Mowinckel Rederi A/S, Bergen, Norway.
The Doris was steaming from Liverpool to Stettin under the command of Captain Arentz with a general cargo in July 1909. By the 12th of the month she was steaming north through the Minch when she encountered dense fog. The Minch is well known for its strong tidal flows and it appears that the captain failed to allow for his ship‘s drift eastwards in the thick fog. This combination of strong currents and poor visibility was to prove fatal to the Doris which ran hard aground at full speed on Neist Point, Skye south of the lighthouse. The sea was oily smooth in the still air but the swell was working the ship which was ashore at the bow with the stern hanging precariously over deep water. The captain had no option and immediately ordered his thirteen passengers and crew to abandon ship. Thankfully everyone safely disembarked into the ship’s boats and reached shore. The ship was firmly stuck on the rocks but within two weeks and before any salvage could be attempted she slipped back into deep water and was lost.
The Wreck Today
The wreckage of the Doris lies in a deep gully on the south side of Neist Point in position 57°24.148’N, 006°47.126’W, lying on a steep rocky seabed with the bow close to the shore in 6 metres and the stern, with propeller intact and visible in 26 metres. The wreck is well broken but engine parts and boiler are also still in place among the broken steel ribs and hull plates.
The site is swept by strong tides arcing around Neist Point, as it juts out into the bottom end of the Little Minch, this is a slack water dive. However, the strong tidal conditions mean that the site is populated with abundant and colourful encrusting sealife and shoals of fish.