The iron steam trawler Faraday was launched from the yard of Cook, Welton and Gemmell (Yard No 190) on 19th June 1897. She measured 108.2′ x 21.0′ x 11.3′ and her tonnage was 167.7 gross tons., 60 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by C D Holmes and Co Ltd delivering 50 net horse power. She was ordered by F and D Ross Ltd., Hull and, on delivery, was registered in that port H366.
The flashing lights of the many lighthouses off the west coast of Scotland provide a coded message to boats plying their trade among the islands that keeps them safe from rocks hidden in the night or by fog. Knowledge, or at least careful observation, of these coded flashing signals is essential to keep a ship from running ashore in the area. Lack of this knowledge or care in observing the signals turned out to be disastrous for the Hull trawler Faraday and her crew.
The Faraday left her home port on 4th October, 1907 bound for the fishing grounds on the Scottish west coast with a crew of eleven. Her skipper, Albert Rogers, had never been to the area and so took on William James Berry as a pilot to assist. However, although Berry was somewhat familiar with some parts of the Scottish coastline, he had never visited the area between Barra and Tiree which was where they were bound. They steamed north, then through the Pentland Firth, round Cape Wrath and south through the Minch before reaching their objective safely on the 6th October. It was here that an extraordinary series of blunders began as they incorrectly identified the light they saw that night as Barra Head Light. This, and an ongoing catalogue of carelessness, ultimately resulted in the loss of their vessel.
They proceeded south and started fishing. The fishing was good and from the 7th to the 13th they swept back and forth catching over 20 tons of fish in the rich waters in the area. Each night they could see the light flashing and, although they took a few lead soundings to supposedly verify their position, in their minds they had no doubt where they were. At one point they spotted land to the south which they identified as Tory Island but this too was almost certainly wrong as, in all likliehood, it was Malin Head. The light they had initially identified as Barra Head Light was in fact Skerryvore which lies many miles south of Tiree. The coded flashes of the two lighthouses are completely different but through all this time neither skipper nor pilot checked it.
In the early hours of the morning of the 14th the skipper decided it was time to head for home. Still believing the light to be Barra Head they set a course for the Minch. The errors continued. At 3am they spotted another light to the south – this they identified as Skerryvore despite the fact that it would have been impossible to see Skerryvore from their identified position. It was in fact Dubh Artach. Later, yet another light was spotted at 3:45am – this time they identified it as Liath Light, Castlebay. It was in fact Scarnish on Tiree. Their fate was inevitable. At around 5:45 they crashed ashore, at full speed, on Tumbla Island, Coll. The skipper reversed engines to try to pull her off but to no avail. The crew escaped safely but the vessel, lying awash in shallow water in an exposed position with a heavy list to starboard, was to become a total wreck.