Wartime lard which escaped from a ship that was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe has re-appeared on the Mearns coastline.
The recent storms which battered the UK have dislodged the unusual mementos from the final resting place of the second world war wreck of the MS Taurus.
A number of white blocks of animal fat – still with their barrel shape but the wood long gone – appeared on the beach at Gourdon from the sunken wreck of the Norwegian merchant ship which was attacked in 1941.
The wreck of the Taurus ship, known locally as the Rosebury, is thought to lie further up the coast near Johnshaven, with bad weather setting free its contents over the years.
It comes as a local vet warned dog walkers to be wary of a “rancid” substance, believed to be palm oil, which has washed up along the Angus and Mearns coast.
The appearance of the lard, originally destined to be used in lipsticks and soap, has triggered memories of earlier deposits of the fat at the beach.
Joann Beattie from Johnshaven said: “My mum told me about the barrels washing in in 1941 and of the villagers going down the beach and helping themselves.
“There used to be lots of things washed up between here and Gourdon. I have a brass incense burner that washed ashore from the Balmoral.”
Mearns councillor George Carr said: “It’s amazing to think how much history lies under the water, a short distance away.
“People who find these blocks on our beaches are often puzzled why lard is still washing up after 70 years.
“But it was a major ingredient in soap making, and every merchant convoy would have had tonnes of it on board. Rich pickings for the Luftwaffe, unfortunately.
“From whales and dolphins to castles and shipwrecks, no two trips to the Aberdeenshire coast are the same.”
The lard first came ashore on the Mearns coastline in the 1940s and canny locals would scrape it off and fry up with it.
After a storm in the late 1960s or early 1970s the lard came up onshore again.
Fishermen in the area were also said to have searched waters close to the wreck for their catch because fish that had fed off the fat had grown well beyond normal size.
Scottish National Heritage staff from St Cyrus remembered lard coming ashore in the early 1980s as well.
Some rock hard lumps of lard washed also ashore at the north end of St Cyrus beach in 2013 when a storm further broke apart the shipwreck.
Taurus was attacked by German aircraft off Montrose on June 6 1941 when on a voyage to Hull with a cargo of about 7,000 tonnes of groundnuts, palm kernels and cocoa.
The ship opened fire at the aircraft but three bombs detonated in the sea close to her stern causing a leak.
Water gushed into the engine room and she started to sink. The crew were able to send a message to one of the other ships in the convoy requesting tug assistance.
Taurus was taken in tow towards the sandy beach north of Montrose Bay by a trawler but the towing was interrupted when another aircraft dropped three bombs which exploded close to her port bow.
Towing was resumed and the course was set for Johnshaven before the crew who were not needed to continue with the towing were ordered into lifeboats.
The towing operation was eventually and the remaining men also abandoned ship. Taurus sank at 6.22am.