"Thule Rock" and "Reaper"
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The steam drifter "Thule Rock" and the motorised "fifie" "Reaper" steam southwards with Sumburgh Head in the background.

The "Thule Rock" was built at Stromness, Orkney, in 1917, the only steam drifter ever to be built there.  She fished out of Shetland until the mid-1930s, when she was sold to Lowestoft owners and renamed "Lord Howard".  At the outbreak of the second World War, she was drafted into war service by the Admiralty, and her career ended abruptly when she sank following a collision near Dover in December 1940.

The "Reaper" has had a career spanning more than 100 years, and is still going strong, being recently featured in the BBC series "The Ships that Made Britain".  She was built at Sandhaven in 1901, and began her career as a sailing herring lugger for Fraserburgh owners.  In 1908, she was bought by a Shetland partnership, and she had a long career, which involved at least two substantial alterations, before being bought by the Shetland Islands Council in the 1950s for use as a cargo vessel.  Upon being bought by the Anstruther Fishing Museum around 1970, she was restored to her original state, and now sails as a training vessel.

The owner of the painting lives in Shetland.

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