In the year 1901, Porth Tŷ Mawr’s name was unofficially changed to Porth Wisgi (yes, Whiskey). The story of the Stuart, or the ‘whiskey ship’’s shipwreck is legendary here in Llŷn.
On Good Friday 1901 (April 5) the ship left the docks in Liverpool. The ship was captained by Robert Logan Mitchinson, a 29 year old man from Hull, accompanied by a crew of 19. The Stuart’s intended destination was Wellington, New Zealand, with the purpose of transporting over a thousand tonnes of ‘general cargo’.
The Stuart did not reach New Zealand, but rather, the rocks of Porth Tŷ Mawr. The wind became stronger in the following days and that put an end to the crew’s efforts to salvage the cargo. The cargo was sprawled across the beach – most of it consisted of alcoholic beverages. The official records do not do justice to what happened at the beach, and the local inhabitants certainly made the most of the whiskey bottles.
The celebrations lasted throughout the summer for the local residents, but six months after the shipwreck an investigation was held, and the Captain lost his licence for six months, and the Mate for three. What caused the shipwreck on a quiet night in April?
Some believe that the metal in the yellow rocks of Maen Mellt had affected the ship’s compass – as was the case for the Sorrento. But most local residents believed that the cargo had been too much of a temptation for the young sailors!