The Clyde

The Clyde is famous for numerous good wreck sites although there are also good scenic sites here too. The Clyde caters to a range of abilities and preferences, from new trainees to tri-mix divers looking for deep dark wrecks. Diving here tends to be darker than some other areas of south west Scotland.

 

Skipper

John Teevan, skipper of Flying Eagle, records the visibility and dive conditions. Flying Eagle is usually chartered as the whole boat for diving. See further details on his website or click here for availability.
Contact details:
Skipper: John Teevan
Boat Name: Flying Eagle
Address: 14 Dykesmains Road, Saltcoats, Ayrshire, KA21 6DH
Telephone: 01294 469294
E-mail: FlyingEagle@jteevan.freeserve.co.uk

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Boat dive sites

Wrecks

Many wrecks litter the Clyde, from ancient wooden ships of which little remains, to more intact "ship-shape" metal wrecks, at depths ranging from 5m to over 50m. A few favourite sites are highlighted below. Information from "Clyde Shipwrecks" by Peter Moir and Ian Crawford, which also gives GPS positions and transits. Many of the wrecks are excellent dives though diving in the Clyde can be dark even when visibility is good.

The Akka (18-40m) was a 5409gt steel motor vessel that was launched in 1942 and ran aground on the Grantock rocks in 1856. She is the largest submerged diveable wreck in the Clyde, lying upright on the north side of the Dunoon Bank. The wreck is covered in marine life and particularly noticeable Plumose anemones and Dead Men's Fingers, many other anemones species, sea squirts and fish. The wreck is mainly intact and with access to some areas inside, though visibility rapidly decreases when fins stir up the ubiquitous silt covering all surfaces. Hazards include darkness, potential current and fishing lines. Visibility is often best on the flood tide to HW slack water. More info on Shipwrecks of Scotland website.

The Greenock (about 20-30m) was a 461nt iron twin screw steam hopper dredger. She was launched in 1976 and collided with another steamer, the Ape, southwest of the Cloch lighthouse in 1902. She now lies not far south west of the Akka and is still substantially intact, lying upright on on a flat sand/mud seabed. She lies oriented approximately 140/320 degrees with the stern towards Dunoon.

The Ovington ( about 32-35m) was a 444nt iron steamship, launched in 1873, that collided with a 1500ton steamer, SS Queen Victoria, in 1889. She now lies upright south west of Toward point and has a largely intact hull although the port side is breaking up.

The Wallachia (about 30-50m) was a 1077nt iron single screw steamship launched in 1883. She collided with a Norwegian steamer, Flos, in 1895. She now lies upright on a muddy seabed with much of the hull remaining intact. Entry is possible to deeply silted holds and the raised bridge deck. More info on Shipwrecks of Scotland website.

The Kintyre (about 38-49m) was a graceful 94nt iron cargo passenger steamship with raked lines and a clipper bow. She was launched in 1868 and collided with the 3500gt steamer Maori southwest of Wemyss Point in 1907. She now rises on average about 3m off the seabed with much of her hull largely intact except on the starboard side aft of the engine room. Deep silt covers the decks, with remains of beams and winches protruding, and holds and accommodation areas are easily accessible. The plating has fallen away from the dramatic clipper bow section where the ribs are covered with Plumose anemones.

The Beagle (about 34-38m) was a 454gt iron steamship, launched in 1864, and worked as a small cargo passenger steamer mainly between Belfast and Glasgow until she collided with the steamer Napoli. The Beagle now lies west of the north end of Great Cumbrae island, on an even keel, oriented about 170/350 degrees with the stern pointing north west. The superstructure has largely collapsed, but the wreck retains a ship-shape feel to it as the hull remains fairly intact, although there is a section broken just before the bows. A considerable amount of marine life grows on the wreck, adding to the dive interest.

The Cuirassier (about 30-36m) was a small 54nt steel rear engined coastal steamship, launched in 1860, that ran ashore north of the lighthouse on Little Cumbrae west coast. She now lies vertically along a steep rock/gravel/mud slope and is well broken up. The boilers are clearly identifiable and a number of plates and other wreckage lie about the seabed. Interesting marine life inhabits both the wreckage and the range of shore habitats, making an unusually interesting ascent and decompression stage of the dive.

The Lady Isabella (about 5-15m) was a 1396nt iron barque, launched in 1882, that was driven ashore during a violent squall in 1902. She now lies close to shore about 200m west of Gull Point at the south end of Little Cumbrae Island. The wreck is very broken up with only a few hull plates and part of the keel remaining. She stands about 2m off a rocky seabed and is covered with a wide range of marine life, making for an interesting dive. The site is exposed to swell.

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Scenic

A number of interesting scenic dives with diverse marine life can be found around Great and Little Cumbrae:

Farland Point, a west facing rocky reef down to about 10-15m near the marine station on the headland marking the west boundary of Millport Bay.

Sheenawally point, a NW facing rocky cliff between about 15-10m on an otherwise muddy shingle slope, on the north west tip of Little Cumbrae. The site has a wide range of marine life, making an interesting dive, and occasionally there can be some current here.

Trail Island, an east facing stepped cliff from sea level down to about 30m or so, with sections of silted boulder slope and vertical rock wall. Similar stepped walls can be found south of Trail Island on the east coast of Little Cumbrae. There can occasionally be some current on the site.

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Shore dive sites

There are numerous shore dives in the Clyde. Here are a few from Cumbrae Island.

There is little left now of the Catalina sea plane, but it still makes a worthwhile little dive at about 20-25m. It can be dived by boat or from the shore of Great Cumbrae, just south of the ferry terminal, more or less below the Cable signpost. There is often a white buoy on it. The wings stand proud of the seabed as a narrow rectangular box, with plates and other debris all that remains of the fuselage lying on the silty seabed below. The wreckage harbours an interesting array of marine life.

Clashfarland Point has a small sheltered bay where divers can easily access the water. Turning right from here is a steep boulder and bedrock slope, with a diverse range of marine life and a huge admiralty anchor at about 13m. Below the rock, the seabed is gently shelving gravelly sand. There is occasionally some current on this site, but usually not too strong.

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Visibility and dive conditions