The steel steamship Prestonian was launched on 29th August 1901 for Mr H Tryer and Co Ltd of Liverpool from the Troon yard of Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd. She measured 223.7′ x 58.2′ x 14.4′ and weighed 1152 gross tons, 588 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by Muir & Houston, Glasgow. delivering 126 net horse power. She was was purchased by the Preston Steam Navigation Company, London in 1908. Her main trade route took her across the North sea regularly bringing cargoes of wood pulp from Scandinavia to Britain.
In the early months of World War One she left Archangel with a cargo of flax, hemp and timber bound for Dundee under the command of Captain W Kerr with a crew of fifteen. On 25th May, 1915 she veered off course and eventually went aground two miles west of Rosehearty. Why she was so far off course is not recorded but the ship was to become a total wreck.
The wreckage is spread over a wide area on the west side of Quarry Head close under the cliffs in approximate position 57° 40.864’N, 02° 09.896’W. Despite the exposed nature of the site there are still substantial pieces of wreckage with boilers, engine and prop shaft in place and propeller still visible. The bow lies closest to the cliffs with the wreckage strewn on the rocky slope between 10 and 18 metres.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Buchan Divers – www.buchandivers.com in the preparation of this article.