The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme


The Star of Dundee wreck site, Stromness

On 5 March 1934 the schooner Star of Dundee broke up near the cliffs at the Black Craig. Although the local people threw ropes to try to save the crew, there appeared to be no survivors. 

A few days later a man appeared at the top of the cliff, waving his hands. He told a remarkable tale of how he had been washed into a cave with two pillows, some herring, a tin can and a few biscuits, all of which had come from the ship. A piece of the wrecked ship had partially blocked off the entrance to the cave, thus preventing the sea from washing him away. He survived by eating the biscuits and herring. The tin can was used to collect fresh water dripping down the sides of the cave. One pillow he rested on, the other he pulled apart and used the feathers to line his boots for warmth.
When the wind subsided he managed to swim out of the cave and make his way up the cliff. The cave is known locally as Willie’s Hole or Johnstone’s Cave.
Copyright 2011 Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme