Remembering the past
As we approach the Christmas and New Year period we often move into reflective mode about the past, remembering departed friends as we mark the passing of another year.
On the subject of remembering the past, while I have often bemoaned the lack of recognition given to Britain’s maritime sector, my recent trip to Orkney – as captured in ‘From The Lookout‘ in our November issue – gave me great confidence that there are still significant efforts being made to commemorate the great achievements and tragedies of the past for current and future generations to take note.
While my visit to Brechin and the memorial to Sir Robert Alexander - Watt (pioneer of radar) took place on my journey back through the mainland of Scotland, in Orkney itself I ventured over to West Mainland to take some photographs of the Kitchener memorial perched high on the Marwick cliffs. Work is being undertaken to restore this imposing monument, raised by the people of Orkney in 1926 to commemorate the tragedy of June 1916, when HMS Hampshire was sunk on its way from Scapa Flow, supposedly bound for Russia. Almost all onboard were lost, including Field Marshall Earl Kitchener of Khartoum. Kitchener, then Britain’s Minister of War (and the famous face on the “Your country needs you“ recruiting posters of World War One) was reputedly on his way to secret talks with the Tzar’s government to discuss Russia’s continued involvement in the war. The memorial in his name is yet another reminder of Orkney’s rich – and often tragic – naval history.
Having flown back from Orkney to Aberdeen Airport, I then “went off the beaten track” from the main motorway south to explore the coastal road – primarily to visit Dunnottar Castle, one of Scotland’s most spectacular and historic castles (perched dramatically on the cliffs just to the south of the town of Stonehaven). However, a new and fascinating fact (at least for me) came to light when I drove into the coastal town of Inverbervie, to be welcomed by road signs proclaiming it was the birthplace of Hercules Linton – the designer of the famous Cutty Sark.
Built at Dumbarton on the Clyde in 1869 the Cutty Sark became known as one of the fastest ‘tea clippers’. Now preserved as a wonderful visitor attraction at Greenwich in London it has achieved world fame. Only days after I passed through Inverbervie I read in one of the Scottish newspapers that moves are afoot for a memorial to Hercules Linton (who died in 1900) to be erected in the town, where he also served as a member of the Town Council.
How fascinating, and reassuring, to note on a relatively short trip to Scotland such attempts – both past and present – to commemorate famous deeds and events of the past.
The Sea Breezes team sends its festive wishes to all readers and to your family and friends and looks forward to your continued support in 2016.
HAMISH ROSS, EDITOR