The iron steamship Glenisla was launched from the Dundee yard of W B Thompson Ltd (Yard No 22) on 3rd January 1878. She measured 250.1′ x 32.7′ x 20.3′ and her tonnage was 1266 gross tons, 796 net tons. She was powered by a compound steam engine by W B Thompson delivering 150 net horse power. Built for J Mitchell and Sons Ltd of Dundee she operated successfully for this company for nearly forty years.
On 24th November 1917 the Glenisla was en route from the Newcastle to Slemmested in Norway with a full cargo of coal skippered by Captain Joseph Mitchell who had a crew of twenty three men under his command. Details of the accident that ensued are scarce due to wartime reporting restrictions but she was involved in a serious collision with the British steamship Glenelg owned by Furness,Withy and Co Ltd. The Glenisla had interrupted her voyage to Norway and was anchored near Kirkabister Light. On 12th September the Glenelg, which was operating as Royal Navy collier 879 had been damaged by a mine laid by UC-40 commanded by Oberleutnant Hermann Menzel. It appears that Glenelg had been patched up in Lerwick and was under tow, presumably heading for repairs, when she collided with the Glenisla. The Glenisla was fatally damaged in the collision and sank soon after. Thankfully the crew were able to escape safely in thie ship’s boats before she went down.
The wreck of the Glenisla lies in position 60° 07. 899’N, 001° 08.036’W. She lies in 46 metres oriented 000/180 degrees with a least depth clearance of 31 metres and bow facing north. Divers reported the vessel generally in tact upright sitting on a sandy seabed. The engine and boilers are clearly visible and a large spare propeller is also apparent. The steel mast and a deck gun lie on the seabed on the port side of the wreck.