Loch Leven, Wreck and Slates, 13th February 2011

Sea Pen (Virgularia mirabilis)
A small group of winter divers equipped with the latest gadgets went in search of wrecks in Loch Leven this Sunday. Sidescan sonar perhaps, GPS, ROV, none of that, we’re talking heated waistcoats ! Toasty was the expression of the day. Being toasty however did not stop us getting soaked before we started the dive as we changed in heavy sleet.

So back to diving: The site , known as The Old Cemetery site, is easy enough to find and the wreck, or what is left of a small sailing skiff, lies on the bolder slope between 4 and 7m. Just enter a little left of the burn below the picnic benches, head straight out and when you get to 5m turn left and continue along that contour. You will find the wreck within 5 minutes.

We missed it first time finding a group of large worked stones further out at 12m but found it on the way back

Video of Hamish finding the wreck

The site is a very pleasant dive, a small boulder slope to 8m and then onto muddy bottom with Queen scallops galore, sea squirts and tube worms. Would be better in summer in high light but we had a very reasonable dive.

Queen scallop

When we surfaced it was still raining so we decided to go in search of a warm pub. Ballachulish was closed so a quick run round to the Holly Tree Inn at Kentallen resulted in a rather excellent bowl of soup, a great view across Loch Linnhe and the sight of divers exiting from their dive. Now it is important to get a good surface interval and I can’t think of a better place to do it !

Second dive saw us at ‘The Slates’ where we met Paul, Frank, Alistair and Dave, some of the people from Saturday’s Regional training session at the tea Rooms. Changing back into damp suits, always a pleasure, never a chore, we headed into the gloom in search of dogfish. Unfortunately a technical problem with a torch (did we carry a spare ?) kept us in the first 15m where we could use ambient light. Finding two enormous anchors and various chains we drifted East at 15m before ascending back into an eddy that brought us back over occasional boulders covered in encrusting tube worms, tunicates and a solitary King scallop.
The weather had cleared somewhat by the time we came out but everything was damp and another warm up session was required where amongst other thing we discussed the best place to keep Hamish’s hat

The badgers hat

A few more photos can be seen here These are Hamish’s first attempt at underwater photography and I am assured that they will improve. My attempts are demanding a better use of light source or I am told a diffuser whatever that may be.