Stormy weather blows up strange cargo on the beach at St Cyrus

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LARD from a World War Two shipwreck has been washed ashore on a Mearns beach.

Four large, barrel-shaped pieces of the lard have appeared at the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) nature reserve at St Cyrus, following the storms which battered the area in December.

The storms caused some unusual items to appear on beaches in the area and the lard was stored in wooden barrels, now long since rotted away, on a ship that was bombed and sunk during the war.

Bombing of merchant and other ships was common on the east coast of Scotland during the conflict, however the lard is still a brilliant white where animals have exposed it, under a thick crust of barnacles.

Lard has appeared before at St Cyrus, but not for many decades.

Angus McHardy, a local resident and retired fisherman, can remember the lard appearing on the beach back in early 1940s.

He added: “I’d never seen anything like it. There was quite a lot washed up at St Cyrus and beyond – not quite to Montrose - and some barrels were complete and others were just lumps.

‘‘People collected it. My grandma boiled it up to get the sand out and it was great because we couldn’t get fat during the war.

“I used to see the convoys for the merchant ships on my way home from school.

‘‘ The Germans attacked the conveys at the same time every night.


“After a storm in the late 60s or early 70s, the lard came up on shore again. The seagulls thought it was a bonanza!”

Therese Alampo, St Cyrus reserve manager, explained: “The depth of the swell during the storms we had over the holidays must have broke apart the shipwreck some more and caused the lard to escape.

‘‘It’s given us some interesting sights recently on the reserve: I’m sure there have been people wondering what on earth has washed up on the beach.

‘‘The lard was covered in the largest barnacles I’ve ever seen. Animals, including my dog, have certainly enjoyed it, and it still looks and smells good enough to have a fry up with!”

SNH staff remember lard coming ashore in the early 1980s as well.

At that time, there was a pair of barn owls nesting on a rocky ledge near the reserve office.

A dead barn owl was later found on the beach plastered with lard.