St Abbs Harbour
may seem like a natural place for a lifeboat to be stationed - a busy fishing
port with treacherous rocks offshore, and with neighbouring Eyemouth having suffered
a massive loss due to storms offshore, yet it was to take until a tragic event
in 1907 to bring what many would see as an essential to the village.
There was a storm raging the night of October 17th 1907, and most of
those in St Abbs had battened down the hatches of their homes. However, out at
sea a drama was about to unfold involving 16 unfortunate seaman who were not so
lucky as to be able to avoid the ravages of the weather.
The Danish cargo vessel,
Alfred Erlandsen had set sail a few days previously from Libau, headed for Grangemouth
with a cargo of pit props, most likely for the Stirlingshire coalfields. However,
while only a short distance from the shore she ran into difficulties in what was
a grim night, running onto the Ebbs Carr rocks.
|St Abbs harbour|
stricken vessel sounded her horn, the villagers left their homes and rushed to
the harbour to hear the cries from the sailors through the dense fog. Lifeboats
set sail from Eyemouth and distant Dunbar, and rocket-firing equipment was brought
by horse from Eyemouth, but, despite the best efforts of the rescuers the situation
was hopeless and the lifeboats returned dodging the pitprops which threatened
to sink them in the rough seas.
St Abbs mourned the unknown sailors who
had lost their lives on the rocks, but on the following day, one survivor from
the Alfred Erlandsen was found - a great dane was found wandering the cliffs shivering
and starving. He dog, named Corra after the rocks on which its ship had met its
doom, became a local celebrity, and, during the First World War, was paraded throughout
the area with the tale of its survival told in a bid to raise money for the war
Directions: The coastal path ends at some houses, follow the road
here and head downhill to the harbour.