Mysterious lumps of fat found on Scotland’s beaches

The WWII fat pictured on the shore just south of Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire. PIC: Contributed.
The WWII fat pictured on the shore just south of Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire. PIC: Contributed.
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Large blocks of fat have washed up on beaches on the east coast of Scotland.

They have been found on the shore at Inverbervie and Gourdon in Aberdeenshire after being churned up by recent storms.

The fat was part of the cargo of the MS Taurus, known locally as the Rosebury, that was attacked by enemy aircraft south of Stonehaven on June 6 1941.

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Although the barrels in which the fat was packed have long disappeared, the oily blocks have remained remarkably intact.

It is understood that the fat was due to be used in lipstick and soap but some locals have recalled how it was scooped up from the beach, melted, purified and then used for frying chips.

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Rod Macdonald, author of Shipwrecks of Scotland, earlier wrote that around 200 tonnes of the lard first came ashore in 1969 after the wreck collapsed.

He added: “Back in the day, canny locals would scrape the rancid fat off and fry up with it - but they said you had to be careful as there was sometimes German bullets from straffing in it.”

It is also said that fisherman worked the waters close to the wreck given the bigger fish found feeding off the fat.

The fat was part a consignment of food sailing from Freetown via Aberdeen to Hull when it was struck twice in one day.

The MS Taurus was one of 44 Norwegian vessels taken under the British Ministry of War following the German occupation in Norway on April 9, 1940.

After it was struck by a second time, it sank around two and a half miles off the coast near Johnshaven with the blocks of fat occasionally appearing on local beaches after a spell of bad weather.