Divers go in search of wrecks

The divers on the expedition
The divers on the expedition

Scuba divers from Lancaster have taken part in an expedition to survey and uncover shipwrecks off the Scottish coast.

Simon Exley, who learned to dive in Lancaster, and Jonathan Harvey, a Post Grad student at Lancaster University, joined seven other divers in an organised expedition to Campbeltown, in Argyle and Bute, where they spent five days diving off a 10m inflatable dive boat searching for a number of wrecks.

Simon said: “This expedition brought together members of several different dive clubs from as far afield as Aberdeen, Glasgow, Lancaster, Manchester and Yorkshire.

“Most of the wrecks we were surveying sank many years ago and little was known about their current condition and how much they had deteriorated over the years.

“The aim of this ambitious expedition was to locate, survey and record these wrecks, producing photo mosaics and dive site guides for future use by nautical archaeologists and scuba divers. In addition, comprehensive lists of marine life on each site are to be produced to go into the National Biodiversity Network Database.

“The two key wrecks which the team conducted full surveys on were HMS Breda and the Glenhead. We also had a look at the Paterson’s Rock wrecks (Norse, Davaar and Adept) and are producing a sketch map of this site.

“We searched for the wreck of a paddle steamer, the Lapwing, but were unsuccessful in finding it over the course of two dives.

“A local diver told us he had had three metres of sand build up on his beach in the last year, so we assess that the Lapwing, which we knew was subject to shifting sands, has been completely covered over.

“It will be interesting to dive this site again in the future to see if she is once again uncovered.”

The expedition team, all members of the British Sub-Aqua Club, are now in the process of analysing the data.

Simon added: “We hope will the information we find will be useful to nautical archaeologists, marine biologists, divers and teachers.

“The photomosaic of the Glenhead is already being used in Glasgow schools. The sealife species list is in progress, identifying what was seen using. Sketch maps, site guides and photomosaics are being consolidated into a PDF document which will be available at www.fynepioneer.co.uk and through BSAC.”