Great Wrecks of

the Clyde

The cold dark waters of the Firth of Clyde are a graveyard of shipwrecks.

 

The following Information has been obtained from 'Clyde Shipwrecks' by Peter Moir and Ian Crawford. Where appropriate, I have added personal observations with reference to either the site or services available locally. Clyde Shipwrecks is now completely sold out, the good news is that a new edition is now available, ISBN 0 9513366 2.2 Second Edition.

'AHDEEK' 998nt Iron Steamship. Launched 1881 Sank: December 1898 Lies approx. 1.25mls West of Troon in position 55 32 37.4N / 04 43 09.8W Depth of wreck 22metres Transits (available on request) Orientation: Approx. 110/290 Bow in W dir. Comments: Suitable for Novice, Boat dive, Hull falling into seabed, boilers most prominent. Launch from Troon Marina 8 fee. Hazards: This wreck has like most, many rusting sharp edges, in poor viz take care. This wreck is also popular with Fishing parties.

'AKKA' 5409gt Steel M/Vessel. Launched Sep.1942 Sank: Apr. 1956 Lies approx. 55 56 42N / 04 54 21W Lying upright on the North Side of Dunoon Bank.

Depth: Seabed 30metres at Bow and the Stern at 40metres. Deck slops from 16 - 24metres. Transits (available on request) Comments: Suited to all levels of experience. Largest diveable wreck in the Clyde and one of the most intact. A must for the visiting Diver. Launch at Inverclyde Marina (Dive shop on site / Air / Refreshments etc.) or at Gourock Slip. Hazards: Darkness, possible current and fishing line. If you intend to enter the Vessel, use a line and beware of loose and insecure metalwork. Do not even think of entering if you do not have the relevant experience. Click here for Akka layout plan.

'BEAGLE' 454gt Iron Steamship. Launched 1864 Sank: Nov. 1865 Lies approx. 55 47 18N / 04 56 34W Depth: 30 - 38metres, shallowest: 31m. Transits (available on request) Orientation: Approx. 170/350

Comments: NOT for the recently qualified diver. This wreck is always dark. My log shows 11 dives, only 3 in reasonable Viz. Hazards: Beware of surface currents. Aim to dive 1 hour after slack. Good boat cover essential.

CATALINA: (flying boat) This is the wreck most trainees dive for the first time during their 10 - 20m training for the 3rd class award. It is both safe and enjoyable even for the experienced diver. Fish life can be excellent. Come of the Largs to Cumbrae ferry, turn left about 80yds to the small shingle beach. Enter from North end and swim straight out to sea to a depth of 20m, turn right 90/ and keep this depth, you will be there in a few minutes. A great second dive, though now in poor condition in comparison to my first visit.

'EUROPA' 424nt. Launched: March 1862 Sank: Oct. 1884. Lies approx. 55 57 06N / 04 52 03W three quarters a mile northeast of Cloch Point. Orientation: 005 / 185. Depth: 34 - 40m av. 32m. All that is left is a bare hull. Hazards: always dark, near main shipping and ferry lanes.

'GLENSHEIL' 195gt. Launched 1959 Sank: June 1973. Lies approx. 55 29 09.7N / 04 43 04.7W at 2.75 miles N.N.W. of Ayr Harbour. Lies on her port side, oriented 000/180, bow pointing South. Average depth 25m, least depth 18m. Mast and propeller removed in 1977 quite intact. This wreck is not visited very often, my memories of only 2 dives to date were that the vessel was rather small. No other wrecks lie close to this vessel and this area can be subject to frequent swell.

'IONA' 124nt Launched 1855 Sank Oct. 1862. Lies approx. 55 58 05N / 04 47 06W. 100m S.E. of Whiteforeland buoy. She lies upright in 28m, bow pointing in general direction of Helensburgh.

Visible features are, mid section with paddles still visible as is engines, boiler and large brass counterweights. Large mounds of coal lie at both ends of the wreck. The vessel lies in the shipping channel therefore good boat cover and a sharp lookout is essential. Hazards: Wreck entangled in fishing line which can be a hazard in the darkness, viz. in general 2-3m, current can be a problem at certain states of the tide.

'KINTYRE' 94nt Iron Steamship. Launched 1868. Sank: Sep. 1907. Lies approx. 400 metres S.S.W. of Wemyss Point and some 200 metres offshore at 55 53 12N / 04 53 58W on a even keel on a steeply sloping seabed. Oriented 90 / 270 with bow pointing towards shore.

Depths range from 38 - 49metres bow to stern. Rising 3 metres from the seabed she is substantially intact. Her clipper bow some 4 metres from seabed and is the most dramatic part of the wreck with plates fallen away to expose the cage like ribs of her hull which is covered in orange and white plumose anemonae. It is possible to dive the wreck from the shore, follow the sewer outfall pipe from the concrete structure inshore of the wreck. On reaching 42metres turn North along the slope, the wreck lies some 10 - 15m North of the pipe. Because of the depth and the fair swim down the pipe this is a recommended boat dive. If you do decide to dive from the shore, I have found that by going to the end of the pipe swim of to your right at 45 and lookout for the wreck. This method is only advisable in good viz. I did on one occasion swim into the open bow! Take care and watch your air supply.

'MAJORIE SEED' 1162nt. Steel Steamship. Launched 1907 Sunk: 1924. Lies in approx. position 55 32 09N / 04 43 27W in a general depth of 10 metres. The wreck rises only a metre from the seabed which is rock and shingle with wreckage spread over a wide area. Not a spectacular dive by any means though ideal for trainees. A popular day for local clubs is to dive the AHDEEK first then choose between a scenic dive around Lady Isle (choose the south-east corner land-ward side of the Island) or dive the MAJORIE SEED as a second wreck dive.

'OVINGTON' 444nt. Iron Steamship. Launched 1873 Sank: Dec. 1889. Lies in position 55 51 14N / 04 58 10W. One mile south of Toward Lighthouse. Lies in general depth of 35m with deck level at around 32m.

The hull is still substantially intact although the port side due to collision damage is falling onto the seabed. Since it's discovery in March 1984 all her deck beams in the stern section have collapsed, consider this when descending below deck level. Most interesting part is the mid-ships, with bridge area, engine room, galley and stores. Hazards are: Darkness, depth, and general poor structural condition. Site is also subject to currents and quite exposed to swell. Also lies close to the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay ferry route, good boat cover is essential.

'WALLACHIA' 1077nt. Iron Steamship Launched March 1883. Sank: Sep.1895 Lies at position 55 51 41N / 04 57 07W in general depths of 34m. Bow points North, average depth over the deck is 30m.

Wreck sits upright on a muddy seabed. Cargo included {Whisky, gin, beer, acids, glassware and earthenware plus building materials and footwear. The raised fo'c'sle has a large winch on top and can be safely entered and exited by the two rear bulkhead doors. As with any penetration of these wrecks, care should be taken as the visibility will quickly deteriorate to nil, as finning disturbs the silt. The gash of the collision in the starboard bow is clearly visible. There are also fishing nets entangled on this part of the wreck, therefore care is essential. The foredeck has 3 holds, each deep with silt, although some interesting items of cargo have been recovered from these holds. The rear deck has 3 more holds and just aft the engine room lie the remains of the deck cargo of stannous chloride in earthenware jars. Hazards include unpredictable current depth and probable darkness. The wreck also lies close to the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay ferry route and the shipping channel to the west. Good boat cover with lookout is essential.

'CUIRASSIER' 54nt Steel Steamship. Launched 1860. Sank: July 1894. Lies in position 55 43 33N / 04 57 48W lying on a steep slope 250 metres north of the Little Cumbrae Lighthouse. Depths range from 30 to 36m bow to stern. The wreck is well broken up with the only recognisable part being the aft section from boiler room to stern.

'LADY ISABELLA' 1396nt. Iron barque. Launched August 1882 Sank: Dec. 1902. Lies in position 55 4242N / 04 57 24W. Two hundred metres North West of Gull Point, Little Cumbrae and approximately fifty metres from the shore on a sloping sand and rock seabed. Depths range from 5 to 15m.

The wreck lies approx. at right angles to the shore with only a few hull plates and part of the keel remaining. The highest part of the wreck stands 2m from the seabed. Some machinery, wood and ropes are also visible. Some interesting small artefacts and pieces of non-ferrous metal have been found. No problems in diving the wreck once located, although the site is exposed to the prevailing southwest wind and as such is often subject to substantial swell.