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Pooch picks up message in a bottle by six-year-old Canadian that travelled more than 2,000 miles to Barra beach

Kaya and her uncle with the bottled message found on Barra.
Kaya and her uncle with the bottled message found on Barra.

An island couple have described their amazement after their dog retrieved a washed up message in a bottle all the way from Canada.

Sharon and Michael Cox were walking along Traigh Eais beach on Barra, on Saturday when their springer spaniel cross bearded collie collected the bottle from the waves.

The couple joked it could have been swept in from a distant land, never imagining that it had actually travelled 2,006 miles.

Once removed from its plastic bottle, that was tightened with rope, the letter read: “Hi, my name is Kaya and my uncle Curt is writing this letter hoping that someone will pick it up and see how far it will travel.

“This is the latitude and longitude where he will drop this bottle from a fishing boat.

“I live in a small community named Reefs Harbour on the norther peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada.”

Detailed on the paper are the coordinates of where the bottle was cast into the sea and a hand drawn diagram of Newfoundland.

Mrs Cox, who works at Ardmhor Coffee at Barra’s CalMac Ferry terminal, said: “Our dog Louie found the bottle in the waves and brought it to us whilst we observed a dead beached sperm whale.

“I joked saying it would be exciting if it was from Canada and we were delighted to find the note detailing its journey.”

In an attempt to contact Kaya and her family, the pair posted their discovery on social media and included a picture of Mr Cox and the dog on the beach.

The post has been shared more than 1,300 times already, reaching the the great white north and Kaya’s grandmother, Belinda Applin.

Mrs Cox continued: “The young lady’s grandma, who is a community nurse in the area of Reefs Harbour contacted me.

“She thanked me for sharing the post and told me how Kaya is very excited to know I found the letter.

“We shall be writing to the address given on the back of the letter and putting together a wee gift box from Barra, enclosing some notes from Barra schoolchildren to send to Kaya.”

The Press and Journal tracked down Kaya’s mother, Callie Applin, who said the letter was thrown into the water in the summer.

Six-year-old Kaya Applin with her uncle Curt Chambers.

Mrs Applin said: “Kaya’s uncle from Brig Bay dropped the letter off over the side of his Turbot fishing boat in later August this year, off the coast of Cartwright in Labrador.

“Her uncle was amazed that it was picked up and it being found by a dog makes it that much more amazing.

“The reaction has been unbelievable, the powers of social media are truly amazing.

“There are so many people in our community that are extremely excited about the whole experience. Kaya’s friends think it is so cool that the letter made it all the way around the world to Scotland, not realising how close Scotland is to Newfoundland.”

It is not the first time a message in a bottle has washed up along the shores of the north of Scotland.

In February, beach cleaner Henry Anderton discovered a letter from a New York-based magazine publisher on Shetland. The bottle had been dropped from the Queen Mary II in December 2018 while sailing to Southampton.

And in 2016, Moray teenager Emily Plant was reunited with her own message 15 years after she cast it into the sea. The Buckie High School pupil shared her story with international dignitaries after being invited to tell her tale at the Arctic Circle Assembly Iceland.

The note, which had travelled more than 2,000 miles to the Russian coast, was sent as part of the Findochty’s gala celebrations in 2001 when Ms Plant was two.

In October of the same year, 10-year-old Eva Sweenie placed a handwritten note inside a glass container when holidaying in Cullen with her family.

Her bottle travelled more than 300 miles across the North Sea to reach the port of Askvoll on the west coast of Norway.

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