All Known Shipwrecks in Scotland Are on This Map

The Scottish coastline is treacherous, as this interactive map of shipwrecks shows

Abandoned Scottish Boats
Abandoned Scottish Boats Roy Saplin

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) has put together an interactive map of all known shipwrecks that have occurred off the treacherous Scottish coastline. The map also includes a huge collection of photographs and documents donated by Paula and Colin Martin, underwater archaeologists who worked in the area. 

The map includes the wrecks of doomed Spanish Armada shipsGerman battleships from World War I,and Dutch East India Company vessels, among many, many others. Some of the entries are fascinating, like the story of the Danish Wrangels Palais, which sank in 1687 after crashing into some rocks in a thick fog. It was hunting Turkish pirates in the North Sea at the time.

A density map shows where most of the wrecks occurred:

The ‘density’ of ship and aircraft losses in Scottish waters [gives] a clear sense of the historical importance of particular ports and harbours (such as Aberdeen, Stornoway and Scapa Flow); of shipping routes (such as the Sound of Mull and the Firth of Clyde); and of navigational hazards (such as Fife Ness or the Mull of Kintyre). The map also gives a broad sense of the potential for discoveries in different parts of Scotland’s waters – although survival of sites will be conditioned by many other complex factors.

For more on Scottish shipwrecks, check out the BBC’s excellent audio slideshow with Colin Martin.

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