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Unknown: Widewall Bay, South Ronaldsay, Scapa Flow, Orkney

Fishing Vessel (Possible), Minesweeper (First World War), Motor Fishing Vessel (Possible)

Site Name Unknown: Widewall Bay, South Ronaldsay, Scapa Flow, Orkney

Classification Fishing Vessel (Possible), Minesweeper (First World War), Motor Fishing Vessel (Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Herston; Unknown

Canmore ID 101994

Site Number ND49SW 8002

NGR ND 42323 91571

Datum WGS84 - Lat/Long


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish South Ronaldsay
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

ND49SW 8002 4224 9169

N58 48.5567 W2 59.9917

NLO: Herston [name: ND 420 916]

Widewall Bay [name centred ND 424 924]

South Ronaldsay [name centred ND 44 87]

Scapa Flow [name centred HY 36 00].

(Charted location cited as N58 48.55 W2 58.98: ND 422 916]. A drying wreck is situated near ruined piers and slips [ND49SW 57-8]. It is about 35m long and possibly an MFV.

G Ridley 1992.

Quality of fix = PHOT

Horizontal Datum = OGB

Orientation of keel/wreck = 125/305

Surveying Details


9 March 1976. A hulk, approximately 35 metres long, is lying on the highwater mark at 58 48 33.4N, 002 59 59.5W. The keel is orientated 125.5/305.5 degrees with the bows to the SE. It could possibly a fishing vessel.

Source: Ordnance Survey aerial photography dated 16 May 1973.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

M[otor] F[ishing] V[essel] (possibly).

(Location of loss cited as N58 48.55 W2 59.98).

I G Whittaker 1998.


Field Visit (August 1997)

Located in intertidal zone

The hulk of a propeller-driven wooden vessel lies partly submerged in gravel at the HWM. The base and some of the side ribs survive, in a very decayed state; the upper part of the structure has gone. The remains of internal metal fittings, together with iron nails and rivets in the vessel's timbers survive but are very corroded. The vessel is 20m long and c.9m wide.

Coastal Zone Assessment Survey, 1997

Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 2513


Latitude : 584833

Longitude : 25959


Length : 35

Position : Exact Position

Reference (19 April 2012)

UKHO Identifier : 001237

Feature Class : Wreck

Wreck Category : Wreck showing any portion of hull or superstructure

State : LIVE

Classification : Unclassified

Position (Lat/long) : 58.80928,-2.99986


WGS84 Position (Lat/long) : 58.80886,-3.00146

WGS84 Origin : 3-D Cartesian Shift (BW)

Position Method : Air photography

Position Quality : Precisely known

Depth Quality : Depth unknown

Water Depth : -1

Vertical Datum : Lowest Astronomical Tide



Length : 35.0

Orientation : 125.0

Contact Description : Entire wreck

Original Sensor : Video Sensor

Original Detection Year : 1976

Original Source : Other

Surveying Details : **H1270/76 9.3.76 POSN 584833.4N, 025959.5W. HULK, APPROX 35MTRS LONG, LYING ON HW LINE. ORIENTATED 125.5/305.5DEG, BOWS SE. POSSIBLY A FV. (ORDNANCE SURVEY AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY 73/137 DTD 16.5.73). INS AS ST. BR STD.

Chart Symbol : ST

Charting Comments : HULK

Date Last Amended : 18/11/2003

Reference (March 2012)

Sitename : Monarch

Note : The Monarch was not used in the herring industry though it is the same type of vessel. It is made of Oregon pine and built on Lake Superior in 1915. Therefore, it would have reached the ocean through the Great Lakes Waterway, a system of canals and locks. It was built in a hurry in anticipation of a short life as a mine sweeper. However, it was used instead to service the fleet in Scapa Flow during both world wars. Two of these ships would move around the fleet, one going clockwise and the other anti-clockwise around Scapa Flow, supplying the fleet with food. It is not known where or what the ship was doing between 1919 and 1939.

It last moved on its own in 1945/6. She lay at Duncans for a time where they took some bits off her, a gale did further damage to her keel (Herbert Mackenzie, 11/02/2009). It was then bought for fencing posts and towed by the Hoy Head to Herston costing £2 and left on the beach. In 1948 it was scrapped. John Laird towed her round to Herston with the Hoy Head. The tow cost £2. John Wylie got the chains from the boat.

The wooden wine-glass wench and chain nearby was used to beach the vessel, and carry here up the beach a little every high tide. The wench was previously used for raising the masts at each end of the Churchill barriers. From these masts steel wire was hung to carry the blocks to build up the causeway. The keel sat lies slightly seaward of the wreck on the foreshore. The curved iron attached to the keel sat is where the boiler sat.

Timbers from this vessel are scattered along the beach from Herston to the Ayre of Banks.

The wreck features in the music video for the Eurythmics' track, 'Here comes the rain again', released in 1983. At this time the hull and deck appear to have been in a poor state of repair but were apparently intact enough to walk on.

The Monarch and the surrounding area have been recorded using a Leica C10 High Definition Laser Scanner in combination with a Leica Viva Smartnet RTK Global Navigation Satellite System accurate to plus or minus a couple of centimetres as part of a training sessions for Orkney College's Department of Archaeology.

The site is centred at NGR 342323E 991671N.

Sources :

Cyril Annal (personnal communication),January 2012

Edward Pollard (personal communication),2011

H, MacKenzie,Orkney Image Library,,8/2/2012

Approaches to the Orkney Islands in WGS1984 at 15 m resolution Bathymetry Id 20097029,,2009


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