An Australian couple were holidaying in Scotland recently when they discovered a curious time capsule: A message in a bottle dated January 15, 1971. Amazingly, they were able to track down the teenager (now in his 50s) who first chucked it into the North Sea.
The message was scrawled on a piece of paper inside the green glass bottle: 'This bottle was thrown in the sea at Cove Aberdeen on 15/1/71 by Raymond Davidson, 62 Ullswater Road, Carlisle."
The couple who found the message, Shaun and Shelley Thomas of Brisbane, had been rummaging through discarded bottles on the beach (as one apparently does on holiday in Scotland?) and found the 1970s time capsule.
"We went for a walk along the sand dunes. It was just at the bottom of one of the sand dunes hidden under a couple of other bottles," Shelley Thomas told the BBC.
"My husband was having a bit of a poke around as he actually collects bottles and stuff at home, and we noticed that one of them had something inside it. We cracked it open and, there you go."
There you go, indeed. The Shelleys decided that they'd try to find this Raymond Davidson. So they did what anyone does these days, they asked the internet.
The couple posted a photo of the bottle, along with a message on Facebook reading:
OK everyone, we need your help to find the owner of this letter!!
This is for REAL!! This morning we found a message in a bottle, washed up at Rattray Head in North East Scotland!! The message was from Raymond Davidson from Carlisle in the north of England. He threw it in at aged 14, 44 years ago!!!!!! We are going to visit the address when we head back South but we would love to try and track him down in case he no longer lives at the same address.
Can u please share this so that we can try and find Raymond?? Thanks all!!! Fingers Crossed!!! Shelley
And while the Facebook message was shared over 50,000 times, it seems old-fashioned radio is actually how Raymond Davidson's daughter heard about it.
"It was absolutely wonderful to meet Raymond and his wife and we hope to keep in touch into the future," Shelley Thomas wrote on Facebook. "A special thanks to BBC Radio Cumbria for sharing our story, Raymond's daughter for getting in contact with us and to Fraser Kinnie for putting us in touch, we are most grateful!!"
Davidson was just 14 years old at the time, so he actually didn't remember chucking the bottle into the sea.
"To be honest, I don't really remember why I decided to put a message in a bottle, but it's great that someone has found it. I had forgotten all about it," Davidson told The Scotsman newspaper. "It hasn't really got far has it - the couple should have taken it back to Australia and pretended they found it on a beach over there."
The Thomas couple handed over the bottle to Davidson, but he was more than happy to let them take it home as a souvenir from their holiday. Which just goes to show that you never know what you'll find if you go rummaging through garbage on the beach.
Keep yer eyes peeled and your tetanus shots up to date, time capsule hunters.
Photos via Facebook