Photographer recalls the day 60 years ago that cargo ship ran aground off the Northumberland coast

Sixty years ago today, a cargo ship was left high and dry after running aground on rocks off the Northumberland coast.

Saturday, 29th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 12:54 pm
A tug boat tries to pull the cargo ship, Yewglen, from rocks at Beadnell Point on February 29, 1960. Picture: Brian Wood
A tug boat tries to pull the cargo ship, Yewglen, from rocks at Beadnell Point on February 29, 1960. Picture: Brian Wood

The MV Yewglen ran aground at Beadnell Point at 5am on February 29, 1960 with a cargo of 1,000 tonnes of lime and cement.

Two days earlier she had set off from London bound for Leith, Edinburgh, but never made it.

It was trainee photographer Brian Wood’s first assignment with the Berwick Advertiser and he still remembers it clearly.

The Yewglen left high and dry at Beadnell Point. Picture: Brian Wood

“I was 15 and had just left school to start at the Advertiser,” he recalled. “I got into the office and heard there was something going on down the coast so went along with the chief reporter, Douglas Moscrop, to see what was happening.

“It was only when we got there and we saw it on the rocks following a high spring tide that we realised how significant it was and that there were some good pictures to be had.

“We were told the rocks had ripped through the ship’s hold and there was nothing they could do to refloat her.

“No-one was hurt and all the crew were able to climb off using a rope ladder.”

Brian captured the scene armed with a VN glass plate camera and 12 plates.

“I’d only had some rudimentary instructions on what to do but it set me off on my 60 year career as a press photographer,” said Brian.

Now 75, he still works as a freelance photographer after many years working for newspapers in the Midlands.