Nik’s story …

The young man had memories like mine and more.  Staying out too long for one last cast across inhospitable waters, he never made landfall again.

This assumption from the previous post was based on vague memory and the fly rod sculpted into the headstone.

I am always astonished by the kindness of strangers – in this instance, Mary from Scullomie Pages and Iain from the Melness Social History site who, giving their time, uncovered the sad truth behind the headstone at Melness cemetery.

The body of a youth drowned while creel-fishing from a north Sutherland clifftop on Thursday, was recovered yesterday. Nicholas Wyper, 18, was washed into the sea while hauling in lobster pots from Port Vasgo, near Talmine.
Taken from the Sunday Herald at the time.

This from Iain:

Nicholas lived with family in Melness and there is still family there. I have attached a few photos for you as there is another memorial at the spot where it happened. Sadly the stone and the cairn is broken, like the hearts of his family. By all accounts he was a fine young lad who loved Melness, its beauty and freedom. The site looks benign in the September sunshine, but there are dangerous undercurrents and deep water round the inlet and Stac Dhu, so a good place for lobsters, but very hard work to pull up pots on uneven ground.


The images are reproduced with the kind permission of Iain C Morrison

The words on the cairn memorial read as follows:

29TH JUNE 1989





  1. easyweimaraner · January 16, 2017

    I’m so sorry for Nik…. it’s so sad that a day who promised good things and fun ended so badly :o(

  2. Sue · January 16, 2017

    Desperately sad – I can’t ‘like’ this post, but that said, very poignant, Robin

    • northumbrianlight · January 16, 2017

      I agree – there needs to be something other than ‘like’, it is not always the appropriate response (not inferring any criticism of those that do – it is a limitation of the system).

  3. Tish Farrell · January 16, 2017

    Sad indeed.

    • northumbrianlight · January 16, 2017

      The headstone at Melness cemetery always stuck in my memory – it could only have been commissioned by loving parents for a young person.

  4. J.D. Riso · January 16, 2017

    A sad mystery solved. Poor Nik, to have perished so young.

    • northumbrianlight · January 16, 2017

      I hesitated to put this up, it almost seems an intrusion but then I figured that memorial stones and headstones are intended to preserve memory and this post (and the book) is just an extension of that process. I hope his parents would agree.

      • J.D. Riso · January 18, 2017

        One would think they’d be touched that you made the effort, but you never know. Grief affects people in different ways.

  5. Su Leslie · January 16, 2017

    Lovely post. I wonder sometimes whether I should write about others’ tragedy (I am a compulsive headstone “detective”), but I think that if the writing is sensitive and respectful — as your post is — it’s ok.

  6. socialbridge · January 17, 2017

    Robin, this is very touching. I’m sure his parents would agree as love lives on forever does it not?

  7. sustainabilitea · January 17, 2017

    I like that you did the post and remembered Nik, not that he died.


  8. restlessjo · January 19, 2017

    Well, I’ve clicked the like button but sometimes think it’s a reflex, Robin. I can think of no greater tragedy.

    • northumbrianlight · January 19, 2017

      Indeed Jo, like I said to Sue, there needs to be a range of responses beyond ‘like’.

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