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John Cobb Memorial

The cairn is maintained by the Glenurquhart Rural Community Association (GURCA) which was pivotal in its development. It commemorates John Rhodes Cobb and his attempts to break the Water Speed Record in his Jet Powered Boat, Crusader in 1952. Cobb, who was holder of the land speed record set a speed in his first run which was measured at around 206mph (well above the record at that time).

Before Cobb could complete the second timed run (needed to verify the record) tragedy struck. The Crusader hit a the wake from a support Boat, its nose dived into the water and the boat disintegrated. Cobb’s body was quickly recovered floating on the surface thrown over 50 yards from the accident site. Cobb was later buried at Christ Church near his place of birth in Esher, Surrey. What remained of the Crusader quickly sank to the bottom of the Loch. It was discovered again in 2019, 17 years after some initial pieces of Aluminium were found in 2002.

To mark the 70th anniversary of Cobb’s death, a low-key ceremony was held at the monument when wreaths were laid by GURCA representatives, local boat operator Gordon Menzies, who knew Cobb, and former land speed record holder Richard Noble.

Talking to those that knew him he was a quiet, kind and unassuming man. We are fortunate to have many here who remember his brief time in the glen and that fateful day. The challenge of commissioning the cairn at a time of rationing and hardship is testament to this community and the people of Glen Urquhart. Its upkeep has always been a responsibility of GURCA, and we feel it’s important that people remember Cobb for his bravery, and ingenuity.


He was, and still is, held in very high esteem here. The Glenurquhart Heritage Group worked with Local Boat operator Gordon Menzies to put on an exhibition at Blairbeg Hall (30th September and 1st October), Drumnadrochit to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of that fateful day, 29th September 1952.

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