IT was thrown into the sea in the hope of making a connection with someone living far away on a distant shore.

But the Scottish author of a message in a bottle which has been found in Germany could surely never have imagined he would have to wait so long to get a reply.

A seaborne missive written by an Edinburgh man has been picked up on a German beach more than four decades after he 'posted' it into the ocean.

Penned by "Donkeyman" James Robertson, of either 42 or 72 Sleigh Drive, the message was launched into the waves on 19 September 1970, and has only now been discovered.

It was picked by pensioner Bernd Igwerks on the island of Norderney, one of the Frisian islands, which belong to German, on the fringes of the North Sea.

Now a sleuth whose passion is to return messages in a bottle to their authors is appealing for help tracking down the "Donkeyman", or someone who may have known him.

HeraldScotland: Bernd Ingwerks found the bottleBernd Ingwerks found the bottle

The story, which appeared briefly in the German newspaper Norderneyer Morgen, was picked up by US blogger Clint Buffington, who collects tales about messages in bottles and publishes them on his website

The beachcomber has managed to solve a number of maritime message mysteries, but says this one has him stumped as there's no-one of that name living at the address on the note.

Mr Buffington, 32, of Salt Lake City, said: "A small German newspaper on a small German island ran a one-paragraph story, which seemed ambivalent about the message, even though it was to my mind an incredible discovery and I could not stand idly by.

"I feared that the story would die in obscurity even though it had the potential to be truly amazing. 47-year-old messages in bottles do not surface every day.

"And if I'm not wrong, there's an interesting story to be heard from James Robertson, if he can be found."

HeraldScotland: Bottle hunter Clint Buffington Bottle hunter Clint Buffington

A few things are known about the bottle and its author, aside from his name and address. At first it was thought that "Donkeyman" was a nickname, but it's since been revealed to be a title given to the person who maintained a ships' engines.

This indicates that it was likely the bottle was thrown by someone working on a vessel in the North Sea, rather than deposited from the coast.

The bottle is marked 'JAS Dunbar', which means it contained a soft drink make by the company James Dunbar LTD.

The firm once occupied a factory in Albion Road, Edinburgh, and made a number of products before being bought over sometime in the 1970s.

It's discovery caused quite a stir on the island of Norderney, with journalist Dirk Kähler of the Norderneyer Morgen saying that the story had becoming a talking point among both tourists and locals.

Mr Buffington, a writer and musician in his day job, is now anxious that the message's author gets a reply, even after all these years.

He said: "One of my friends calls me "Hermes of the Sea" because I have taken it upon myself to deliver messages in bottles.

"Ultimately, I guess you could say friendship is what motivates me, and the belief that most people are kind and good and worth getting to know. We do not have to be strangers.

"In this case, I am simply trying to help connect the finder and sender of this remarkable message in a bottle before it's too late. I really hope James Robertson is around, of course, or that we can at least find his surviving family."

*If you can help solve this mystery, contact

HeraldScotland: Norderney Island Pic/ShuttlestockNorderney Island Pic/Shuttlestock