Highlands & Islands

Sculpture to recall Western Isles' Iolaire disaster

Illustration of a coiled heaving line Image copyright Arthur Watson
Image caption An illustration of a heaving line, a rope used in the rescue of survivors, is to be a feature of the new sculpture

A new sculpture is to be made to remember those caught up in a maritime disaster in the Western Isles.

The naval yacht Iolaire was carrying home hundreds of sailors after the end of World War One.

More than 200 men died when the vessel was wrecked on a reef called the Beasts of Holm near Stornoway, on Lewis, in the early hours of 1 January 1919.

The sculpture will feature a bronze depiction of a coiled heaving line.

This references the heroism of John Finlay Macleod who swam ashore with a rope to rescue 40 of the 79 men who were saved.

Another element of the sculpture to be made in bronze will be a wreath composed of maritime insignia.

To be installed at Holm at the approach to Stornoway Harbour, the sculpture will also bear the names of those lost and the communities they came from.

Artists Will Maclean, Marian Leven and Arthur Watson have been commissioned to create the installation.

Stornoway arts hub, An Lanntair, is involved in the project which has received funding from a number of donors including Gael Force Group, Stornoway Port Authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and various community groups and trusts.

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