- On 24/04/2011
- In Parks & Protected Sites
By Eryl Crump - Daily Post
Whisky bottles are still being found where they were buried after a shipwreck 110 years ago, off the Llyn peninsula.
Sailing ship Stuart set sail from Liverpool on Good Friday 1901, bound for New Zealand carrying cargo that included pianos, cotton bales, porcelain and thousands of bottles of whisky.
The vessel came to grief near Porth Colmon on the north coast near Tudweiliog on a foggy and drizzly Easter Sunday morning. But Capt Robert Hichinson and his crew of 18 got ashore without injury or loss of life.
Locals made the most of the wreck taking away everything of value – especially the whisky – before Customs and Excise men arrived from Caernarfon. And by all accounts there was a huge party.
Historian Tony Jones, who has researched the shipwreck, said: “The incident mirrors the wreck of the SS Politician off Eriksay in the Hebrides. This was later made into the comedy film Whisky Galore. But this happened some 40 years beforehand. S4C should turn this story into a film.”
Mr Jones said the crew managed to re-board their ship only to discover it was hopelessly lodged. He added that, over the years, fact and fiction have become mixed up.
“The two became increasingly difficult to disentangle, but one thing is certain, when word got around about the wreck and especially her cargo it changed this part of Lln for a long time.
“To wake up and find an Aladdin’s cave full of goodies on your doorstep, especially with the poverty people endured back then, it would have taken a lot of willpower and faith to stay on the right side of the law.
“So hordes of people descended on the Stuart like a swarm of locusts, and within no time they were helping themselves to her cargo.
“This was before the 1904 Religious Revival that swept through Wales and alcohol was frowned upon for many years after that. The Customs & Excise arrived en masse from Caernarfon with Mason Cumberland in charge.