The steel steam trawler Loch-Na-Gar was launched from the yard of Alexander Hall and Co Ltd., Aberdeen (Yard No 382) on 9th August 1900. She measured 105.5′ x 21.1′ x 11.0′ and her tonnage was 165 gross tons, 54 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by A Hall delivering 54 registered horse power. She was ordered by the Loch Line Steam Trawling and Fishing Co Ltd and commenced fishing operations for this company from their base in Aberdeen as soon as she was handed over.
On 5th January 1909 she was outward bound to the fishing grounds under the command of skipper Fred Powdrall who had a crew of eight men aboard. She had departed with the tide at 3am and set a course north on to take her east of Buchan Ness. Meanwhile the Wick steamship Margaret was southbound from Thurso heading for Montrose. Aboard Loch-Na-Gar the mate, Archie Goole and the deckhand Owen Kinsela were on watch. The night was calm and clear and when the trawler was abreast of Buchan Ness around 4:30am, some five miles off shore, the lights of a steamer appeared ahead of them and the Loch-Na-Gar‘s course was altered slightly to pass the oncoming steamer. However, the steamer continued on her course and a few minutes later, after a single blast on her steam whistle, slammed into the Loch-Na-Gar knocking the two men to the deck in the wheelhouse. The crew of the Loch-Na-Gar were roused from their berths and rushed on deck to find the bow of the Margaret embedded in the trawler’s side almost cutting the vessel in two. Five crewmen scrambled aboard the Margaret safely before the Margaret backed away leaving the Loch-Na-Gar fatally damaged. The remaining crewmen aboard Loch-Na-Gar, including Captain Powdrall examined the damage to the trawler finding water rushing in to all compartments with the vessels quickly sinking beneath their feet. The Margaret pulled alongside the Loch-Na-Gar and successfully picked up the remaining men hauling them over the Margaret’s bow with ropes. The Margaret was also badly damaged but was able to head for Aberdeen with the rescued crew leaving theLoch-Na-Gar behind to sink by the bow in the darkness.
The wreck believed to be the Loch-Na-Gar was provisionally identified by Buchan Divers and, although nothing has been recovered to confirm the wreck’s identity, the location, dimensions and configuration of the wreck make this almost certain. She lies in position 57° 27.629’N, 001° 39.189 W oriented 045/225 degrees in 63 metres. The wreckage sits mostly upright but is substantially buried in the sandy seabed rising only two or three metres above the sand.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Buchan Divers – www.buchandivers.com in the preparation of this article.