This iron hulled steamship was launched as the Deak on 28 April 1883 from the yard of Burrell & Son, Dumbarton (Yard No.21). The Deak measured 240.0′ x 34.1′ x 22.6’ tonnage was 1236 gross, 793 net. The Deak was powered by a 2 cylinder compound steam engine of 110 nhp manufactured by Matthew Paul & Company of Dumbarton. The ship had been built for George & William Burrell as a general cargo vessel for their burgeoning fleet, the vessel was re-named in 1890 to Strathspey as part of a company wide strategy. The ship’s official number was 87664.
The Strathspey left Ghent for Glasgow on 28th November, 1894 in ballast. She was commanded by Captain Daniel Dunn and had a crew of twenty one aboard. By the evening of 2nd December she had steamed northwards, through the Irish Sea, and was approaching the Galloway coast.
As darkness fell, the visibility was seriously reduced as the Strathspey was enveloped in a dense fog, making navigation extremely difficult. Captain Dunn, an experienced skipper, was not alarmed by their situation but, nonetheless, ordered a depth sounding to be made. The nervous crew were relieved to learn that the depth was seventy eight fathoms.
They continued north at normal steaming speed and, although the captain posted a lookout at the bow, the crew returned to their normal duties. An hour later another sounding was taken showing that the depth had decreased to twenty five fathoms but the captain maintained his speed, anxious to make good time for his voyage.
At around 7:30pm the Portpatrick Light was sighted on their starboard beam. Inexplicably, the captain took no further soundings and continued his course northwards. He made two small adjustments to this course before running aground on the offshore rocks at Cranberry Point, just south of Salt Pans Bay, shortly after 8pm. Despite efforts to pull themselves off by reversing the engine, the Strathspey was stuck fast and soon the water rushing in through a hole in her hull, extinguished the boiler fires.
The crew fired distress rockets but these were not spotted due to the density of the fog and help did not arrive until next morning. However, the crew were in no danger as the weather was very calm and the Portpatrick lifeboat took them off safely the next day. At first it was hoped that the Strathspey could be refloated, but she was eventually sold at public auction on 13 December to a Mr Garscadden of Glasgow for £93.11s.
There is an interesting postscript to the story of the Strathspey when, on 22nd December, the SS Seamew arrived at Portpatrick to begin the salvage work. The Seamew was wrecked in Portpatrick harbour in the hurricane which swept the Scottish coast that night. The Strathspey was smashed to pieces in the same violent storm. It is thought that wreckage on the beach to south of Cranberry Point is all that remains of the Strathspey.