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Cannon Rock facts for kids

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Cannon Rock is a skerry in the North Channel off the coast of the Ards Peninsula near Cloughey, County Down, Northern Ireland. It is the easternmost point of Ireland. Cannon Rock is east of South Rock, on which there is a disused lighthouse.

Marine hazard

The rock is a hazard to shipping. Between 1861 and 1865, nine vessels ran aground on it.

On 14 August 1861, the Coriolanus from North Shields, en route from Liverpool to Quebec, lost her bearings in thick fog and grounded on the rock. The Lloyd’s agents in Belfast sent the tug Wonder to assist, but before the tug arrived the weather deteriorated. The crew decided to abandon ship and took to the boats. All 28 drowned. An empty boat was found by the Betsy from Maryport floating off Ballywalter.

On 5 January 1873 the Marseilles from London, en route from Moulmein to Glasgow, also stranded on the Cannon Rock. The crew of 24 abandoned ship and took to the boats. One boat with six men was blown across the North Channel and made safe landfall on the Mull of Galloway, but six of the remaining 18 were drowned.

On 29 December 1886, the Wembdon was sailing from Huelva to Troon, when she lost her way in a severe snowstorm and grounded on the Cannon Rock. The crew abandoned ship and rowed to safety at the lightship. The Wembdon broke up five minutes later.

On 6 February 1906, the Febo of Genoa was en route from Almeria to Glasgow when it ran onto the rock in hazy weather. The crew were saved but the cargo of iron ore sank with the ship.

On 26 December 1906, during a force-8 gale and thick snow, Captain R.C. Begg of the Hazeldene from Cardiff, en route from Horndillo to Glasgow, mistook the South Rock Lightship for the light on the Mull of Galloway and drove his ship on to Cannon Rock. He and his nineteen-man crew were saved but a further load of iron ore was lost.

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