BBC News

Shetland beach cleaner picks up Atlantic message in a bottle prize

By Daniel Bennett
BBC Scotland

image copyrightHenry Anderton
image captionBeach cleaner Henry Anderton found the message in a bottle

A message in a bottle which was dropped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean has been found by a beach cleaner in Shetland.

Henry Anderton's discovery has earned him a prize of $1,000 (£770) and a matching donation towards his chosen environmental charity.

The prize had been promised by a New York-based magazine publisher.

Its team dropped the bottle from the Queen Mary II in December 2018 while sailing from New York to Southampton.

The glass bottle contained a letter from a technology security magazine called 2600, and said its staff would be "astounded" if anyone found it in their lifetime.

image copyrightHenry Anderton
image captionThe bottle was found just over a year after being dropped into the ocean

It is thought the bottle must have travelled at least 1,500 miles (2,400km) before it was found at Littlelure, Shetland.

Mr Anderton, the beach cleaning advocate who made the discovery, said: "It must have come up the Gulf Stream and taken a right-hand turn.

"They were amazed when I emailed them to say I had found it."

He has previously discovered other messages in bottles and replied to the senders - but said it was mainly rubbish that he found on the beach.


Mr Anderton said he was giving the charity donation to The Ocean Cleanup, and planned to spend his own share on restoring a red telephone box.

He has bought the phonebox, near Walls, for £1 and been supplied with the regulation red paint from BT.

He said: "We've now launched a crowd funding operation to help out the renovations - we've got to find a door first."

Mr Anderton said he had big plans for the box once it has been made wind and water-tight, fixed up and been painted.

image copyrightDaniel Bennett
image captionThe money will be used to restore an old phonebox near Walls

He said: "We'd like people who have memories of the phonebox to write their stories - we'll have a book in there with them, maybe local tourist information.

"It'll be a place where people can sit, knit, look at the wildlife.

"My daughter accused me of being a man in need of a project - well, here's one we're getting involved with this year."

Emmanuel Goldstein, who threw the bottle into the ocean, said it had mainly been done out of curiosity to see if anyone would ever find it - but admitted there was also an element of guilt attached.

image copyright2600
image captionThe bottle is now back in America with Emmanuel Goldstein

"I'm very happy someone cleaned the bottle up. I don't intend to throw anything in again," he said.

Mr Goldstein added: "It was fascinating to hear from him (Mr Anderton) about where he lives and what he's interested in.

"The most interesting thing is the reward money is going towards a phonebox - our magazine prints photos of telephone booths on its back cover.

"There's nobody more deserving for the award we offered. It was the most perfect meeting of bottle and person that could possibly have happened."

Related Topics

  • Walls
  • Shetland
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Southampton
  • New York City
  • Travel