Linnet 1843

Taken from newspaper reports of the time.

The Sunderland schooner the Linnet, John Happer, master, was driven ashore at high tide onto the rocks at Cinn a Bhairt below Cadboll House in a storm in September 1842, the crew of four survived and were given comfort and attention by Crawford Ross.

She lay there for some time before being bought for £27 by two fishermen from Balintore in partnership with a local farmer, with a view to repair and refit her and put her back to sea. They tried every means possible to get her off the rocks, they filled her with empty casks in the hope of refloating her, but this proved fruitless. They then tried to get the wreck inshore beyond the flood plain, but success one day was undone almost immediately by the surf the next. Their next plan was to give her a second deck, this was done and they managed to launch her onto the sea.

On Wednesday the 4th of January 1843, around 2 o’clock, with numerious friends and two boats helping,  the weather cold, the wind blowing hard from the north, off shore, accompanied by sheet showers and silent lightning,  they proceeded to start dragging the Linnet by ropes, west, towards Balintore Bay, they had managed to drag the hulk the length of the village of Hilton. Here, at 11 o’clock, in the dark and with the weather worsening, they dropped anchor. The men in the two small boats along side noticed the hulk was adrift and when they hauled in the anchor chain, they found no anchor attached to the end of the chain. Two men, alive to the hazardous position they were in took one of the boats ashore, four other men took the last boat ashore with a view to getting another anchor which was lying on the beach. Both boats had hardly reached the shore when a tremendous hurricane commenced and it was impossible for the boats to go back to the wreck, seven men were left on board, one owner and six helpers.

The Linnet disappeared into the darkness and next morning she was nowhere to be seen. Off the seven men who disappeared with the wreck, four were from Balintore, William, John and George Morrar or MacKenzie and Finla Skinner, three were from Hilton, their names were not known at the time the article was published.

A boat was sent to the Moray coast to search for the wreck and she was found on a surf beaten shore between Findhorn and Burghead, two handkerchiefs were tied to the mast and it was hoped this was a sign that the missing men were picked up by a passing vessel. Sadly this was not to be, later a body was picked up on the Moray coast, the body is thought to have come from the Linnet.

Balintore and Hilton have been left with five widows with young families greiving.