A round-about technique for discovering cargoes

If you perform a search from the Google search box (other search engines are available!) using the text…

site:canmore.rcahms.gov.uk record loss whisky

…you will be rewarded by a list of Scottish shipwrecks that include the word ‘Whisky’. You should see fairly high in the list the ‘Politician’, the vessel who’s loss inspired the book ‘Whisky Galore’ by Compton Mackenzie.

However, if you replace ‘whisky’ in the search box with ‘lime’, or ‘coal’, or ‘oats’, or ‘barley’ (or whatever cargo you wish to discover) then opening each record will provide you with a range of information that may include dates, locations, weather conditions, personnel and details of the vessel and its loss.

The diligent researcher could use this method to estimate the proportion of each type cargo that was carried (or, at least, lost!) in particular periods but, as the number of records including the word ‘loss’ are in the tens of thousands (although some will be duplicates), I do not recommend you trying this at home…

…but the seven records for ‘cured herring’, including this one , are more manageable!

Note: It probably goes without saying that similar substitutions can be made using placenames, types of vessel, or whatever takes your fancy. If you replace the word ‘loss’ with ‘wreck’, or ‘earthquake’, ‘storm’, ‘gale’, etc then many other aspects may be researched.

I should point out that, in some cases, these losses were not only material but also included fatalities…

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