Scotland storm turns up lard 'barrels' from WWII shipwreck

A reserve volunteer, Lainey Rees, gets a closer look at the lard, while a dog in the background enjoys investigating another chunk of the washed-up fat.

From Huffington Post

After storms lashed Scotland over the holidays, some strange World War II-era relics turned up on the country's chilly coast, including decades-old lard from a shipwreck and bunker blocks buried on a beach, local officials said.

At St. Cyrus Natural Reserve, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Edinburgh, four large chunks of lard washed up after the storms.

Though their wooden containers disintegrated long ago, the lard chunks retained their barrel shape, and they were still bright white under a thick crust of barnacles, local officials said.

"The depth of the swell during the storms we had over the holidays must have broke apart the shipwreck some more and caused the lard to escape," Therese Alampo, manager at the reserve, said in a statement from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

"It's given us some interesting sights recently on the reserve: I'm sure there have been people wondering what on earth has washed up on the beach.

The lard was covered in the largest barnacles I've ever seen," Alampo added.

"Animals, including my dog, have certainly enjoyed the lard, and it still looks and smells good enough to have a fry-up with !" Vicki Mowat of SNH explained to LiveScience in an email that scientists haven't examined the lard yet, and the story of its origins comes from local history and knowledge.

"The lard was washed up for the first time after a merchant ship was bombed during World War II, and has continued to wash up every few decades after bad storms when we believe the wreck has been subject to deep swells," Mowat said. Local resident, Angus McHardy, told SNH that he first saw fat washing up on the beach in the early 1940s.

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Scotland World War II relics shipwreck St. Cyrus Natural Reserve Vicki Mowat