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Gem: Eilean An Roin Mor, North Minch

Schooner (19th Century)

Site Name Gem: Eilean An Roin Mor, North Minch

Classification Schooner (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Eilean An Roin Beag; 'off The Island Of Rona'; 'on The North Side Of Island Roan, About Eight Miles Sw Of Cape Wrath'; Atlantic; Gem

Canmore ID 265200

Site Number NC15NE 8003

NGR NC 17 58

NGR Description NC c. 17 58

Datum Datum not recorded


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Maritime - Highland
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Maritime
  • Former County Not Applicable

Archaeology Notes

NC15NE 8003 c. 17 58

N58 28 W5 8

NLO: Eilean an Roin Beag [name: NC 173 584]

Eilean an Roin Mor [name: NC 180 587]

Cape Wrath [name: NC 256 750].

Wick, 14th Aug., on the evening of the 7th Aug., a wreck was observed on the North side of Island Roan, about eight miles SW of Cape Wrath, and appeared, from the spars and fragments of rigging which were picked up, to have been a small schooner. Several planks and oars were marked "GEM", but the port of registry has not been ascertained, and nothing has been heard of the crew.

Source: Shipping Intelligence, LL, No. 18,821, London, Tuesday August 18 1874.

Wick, 23rd Aug., a piece of wood has been washed ashore from the derelict vessel reported to have been seen at Cape Wrath, marked "Off.No., 19,202, 60 tons". [The above number and tonnage correspond with those of the GEM (schr.), of Padstow.

Source: Shipping Intelligence, LL, No. 18,829, London, Thursday August 27 1874.

Wick, 24th Aug., amongst the wreckage picked up off the island of Rona, is a beam marked with the Official number 19,202, and the vessel is supposed to [Report received incomplete].

NMRS, MS/829/70 (no. 4137).

(Classified as wooden schooner, with cargo of salt: date of loss cited as 7 August 1874). Gem: this vessel was wrecked on the North side of Isalnd [Island] Roan, eight miles SW of Cape Wrath.

Registration: Padstow. Built 1852. 60nrt.

(Location of loss cited as N58 28.75 W5 8.0).

I G Whittaker 1998.

The location and map sheet assigned to this record are essentially arbitrary, being derived from the reported location of discovery of wreckage. It remains unclear whether the vessel stranded on Eilean an Roin Beag or Eilean an Roin Mor; the latter is significantly larger, and is preferred accordingly.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 15 September 2004.


Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 13428

Name : GEM

Latitude : 582845

Longitude : 50800

Date Built : 1852

Registration : PADSTOW


Tonnage : 60

Tonnage Code : N

Loss Day : 7

Loss Month : 8

Loss Year : 1874

Comment : Wrecked on the north side of Isalnd Roan, 8 miles SW of Cape Wrath.

Cargo : SALT

Diver Inspection (13 August 2013)

A possible wreck site at Eilean an Ròin was reported to the SAMPHIRE project by recreational divers Derek and Kay Dillon. They described the discovery of copper bolts on the seabed.

The coordinates provided were estimated to be accurate to within 5 metres and place the findspot within the southern part of the gully between Eilean an Ròin Mor and Eilean an Ròin Beag. A number of copper pins/nails of various were recovered during the dive. The largest object is 750mm long by 23mm diameter. A total of three were collected, a further two or three were left in situ.

The dimensions of the pins were:

1) 260mm long X 26mm diameter.

2) 470mm X 20 – 23mm.

3) 760mm X 22 – 24mm.

No deliberate markings were visible on any of the objects. They were recovered from a depth of 3 to 5 metres. The site was noted as having no current, and the seabed was described as being made up of boulders and thick kelp.

The presence of copper pins suggests that there is likely to be a wreck of a wooden vessel somewhere in this vicinity. There are two unlocated recorded losses in the RCAHMS database in this area, the Mersy, a wooden schooner of 188 tons built in 1839 and lost in 1878 and the Gem, also a wooden schooner, of 60 tons built in 1852 and lost in 1874. Copper bolt were used below the water line in 19th century wooden hulled ships but the diameter of the bolts suggests they may be from a larger vessel than either of these.

Coordinates: 217674, 958242

Accuracy: 5m


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