Random Jottings

Do I change my business card?

I was reading quite an interesting book over the last few days called 'The Wreckers' by the author Bella Bathurst and a few bits made me smile.....

The first was on the amount of wrecks per mile of coastline, you know what my native North East came top with 43.8 known or reported losses per mile of coastline....which she compared with the 20 losses per mile associated with the treacherous coastline of Cornwall. Now I wasn't shocked to find that we had that many wrecks, if you look at the Farne Islands and losses assciated with the Knifestone which has a 'coastline' of maybe three hundred meters at low tide then you can see that the 43.8 figure is probably about right! The other reason is that for two world wars the North East ports were the ports of despatch for all colliers heading south, not very glamourous wrecks but at the time the lifeblood of British resistance.

Another area where I have always had my doubts is over the involvement of light-house keepers in wrecking, after all there is one hell of a conflict of interest with 'perks' of the job being fishing, hunting seals and most importantly salvage.......Grace Darlings father kept an accurate diary of all salvage that he kept and lets be honest the broken hulls were worthless, the money was made in masts, spars and rigging with an additional bonus should the cargo be of value. Based on his perks and wages from Trinity House the Darlings bought a very nice property in Bamburgh and of course the job was kept within the family for as long as possible. There is only one known (proven) case of a light-house keeperallowing the light to go out for commercial gain and that was in Cornwall at St Agnes, the general response was to ban locals from holding the post of light-house keeper, I guess to break the perceived link with 'community', looking at the list of keepers at Longstone this appears to have kicked in after 1861.

Finally my business card, a quite reasonable point was raised that wreckers have no shifted from the shore-line to underwater, for sure there is occasional flotsam and jetsam washed up on the beach but mostly divers are responsible for recovering items from wrecks, lagan or derelicts, in each case the salvage law is clear and guys you need wither owner approval or to report any recoveries to the Receiver of Wrecks, unless of course the site is considered derelict in which case things may be a bit more knotty.

So that's settled, as well as engineer I can now join that esteemed body of men called wreckers! Oh and I must remember to chase up the Ancient Diver to get a copy of his copy of the Darlings diary, it will make interesting reading I'm sure.

Dive safe



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