Shipwrecks of Aberdeenshire

Let’s begin by walking barefoot along the sands between St Combs and Scotstown. There are many shipwrecks to be seen there. Aye, aye, me hearties! Prepare yersels for the photos.


shifting sands uncover a shipwreck

I don’t know the name or date of this first wreck. It’s wooden and relatively small and sometimes entirely covered by the shifting sands that it, no doubt, fell victim to. It’s well bedecked with seaweed.

part of a shipwreck - Ailish Sinclair, author

Close by is a large metallic boat. It’s usually more submerged than this. I *think* it’s the HMS Erne. She ran aground in 1915 and broke her back.

shipwrecks: another victim of the shifting sands

We get to go right up to it.


barnacles on a shipwreck - Ailish Sinclair, author

And touch the barnacles.

shipwrecks in aberdeenshire

And wonder if that’s a treasure chest…

The Excelsior of Laurwig

A bit further on, between Rattray Head and Scotstown, lies a much more well documented ship: the Excelsior of Laurwig, a Norwegian barque that was wrecked in 1881. It’s rather impressive.

Shipwrecks: The Excelsior of Laurwig, a Norwegian barque wrecked in 1881 - Ailish Sinclair, author
Shipwrecks: Excelsior of Laurwig, wrecked in 1881 - Ailish Sinclair, writer

Not a Shipwreck

There is another, somewhat different, wreck on this bit of coastline, sometimes to be seen wedged into the sand:

some wrecks that get stuck in the sand are not boats!

Cruden Bay

Now, let’s head to Cruden Bay and see if we can find any more shipwrecks.

bridge to shipwrecks?

Trip, trap, trip. trap, across the bridge. To find…


Is it a wreck? I’m not sure. It may be part of a defense from WW2. It’s not very boat-shaped…

But it’s a great beach on which to finish our walk.

An Autistic Dancer, a Byronic Hero and an Obsessive Scientist

Read my series A Dancer’s Journey. There’s ballet. There’s lots of naughtiness. And there’s peril!

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair

Enjoy a kiss on the London tube in the first book, TENDU. Romp up and down the castle stairs. Dance in a stone circle. Attend a Ceilidh in the great hall. Have your brain studied in the dungeon. All fun, I assure you. Well, not quite all…

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From emmalolly13 on TikTok: “This series has a special place in my heart… I feel so blessed to continue reading Amalphia’s story… Her journey with love has been rough… this is such a soul-touching series.

Diabolical reading

Chosen Sisters, Romans and Romance

Sisters at the Edge of the World cover

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance.

See the press release here

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“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

Review from Terry Tyler: “It’s a fabulous story, a real page-turner and so well written. It made me think about the passage and circle of time, of the constancy of the land on which we live and the transient nature of human life. Loved it.

Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.

Witchcraft and a Handsome Laird

The Mermaid and the Bear cover

Taking place mainly in a fictional castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.

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Review from Tonya Ulynn Brown: “Before I go any further, I just have to say, this is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read…

From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland 

Kidnapping, Slavery and Friendship

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair, out 2021

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!

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“Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society Editor’s Pick

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43 Replies to “Shipwrecks of Aberdeenshire”

  1. Sorry to be so late getting to this, but I do have a question, since you mention so many wrecks. Is there a history or tradition of “wreckers” on that part of the Scottish coast, people who would go out at night and use lights to trick ships into coming too close to shore so they would be wrecked, and the locals going aboard to loot the ships? There were such people in Cornwall and the barrier islands in North Carolina.

  2. I live quite a distance from the sea so I am very jealous you get to wander down to look at different ship wrecks. It must be fascinating!

  3. Excellent photography. Beautiful very old boat. It’s wooden boat. Beautiful all photos. Nice you share your walk on sea & Sand.

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