The Varyag - an iconic Russian warship, sank off the coast of Lendalfoot, Ayrshire, more than eighty years ago.
On February 9, 1904, after fighting a Japanese heavy cruiser, five light cruisers and eight destroyers, the cruiser was badly damaged, losing 122 sailors and along with the 'Koreyets' gunboat were scuttled rather than surrender. The Russian sailors who survived the battle returned to Russia through neutral ports. The ship was eventually salvaged by the Japanese, later sold back to Russia and taken to Britain for overhaul. After the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, she was resold to Germany as scrap in 1920, but the ship never reached its destination. She was caught in a storm while being tugged across the Irish Sea and went down in the Firth of Clyde. The new owner determined to salvage the wrecked cruiser, but one attempt after another was thwarted by stormy seas, and the venture was finally given up in 1925. The cruiser sank once and for all just 500 yards off the coast of Lendalfoot.
It is a beautiful monument, in a beautiful setting.