Kentallan and The Slates, Saturday 19th November 2011

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Thought we would try something different this weekend from an organisational point of view after a few comments about the inclusion of the occasional Saturday in the calender.

So 07:30 on Saturday morning at the club hut saw Steve and I loading bottles for the familiar drive across to Crianlarich where plans were finalised and we turned right to Tyndrum and on to Glen Coe. Autumnal hues of pastel brown greeted us as we climbed into the hills but the rain stayed off and by the time we arrived at Kentallan a few small patches of blue interrupted the monotony of grey clouds.

Kentallan really is a good shore dive, both the dive and the amenities are brilliant. So after a quick walk of the site and having poked our noses into the hotel we kitted up, walked down to the rocks to the south of the pier and completed our pre-dive buddy checks before the long swim out to the wall. A high incoming tide tried to push us up the loch and continuous use of the compass was required as we got turned in the gentle eddies a couple of times. Still we found the boulders that mark the top of the wall and with an additional buddy check and OK pushed off into the dark abyss below…

The wall was dark today and a good torch was a blessing as we slowly swam northwards along the wall. Peacock worms and squiggy things were found on every inch but a fine sediment seemed to cover anything that stuck out or stood still as a respectably large crab had found out. Twenty minutes on the wall was enough to see a small decompression penalty accumulate but more importantly and for the enjoyment of this dive, the minimum required air for the return swim had been reached! So to avoid a lengthy surface swim we slowly ascended the wall and finned on a bearing back to Kentallan pier. I’d like to report that we were navigationally spot on, but I can’t, we missed it, coming up amongst the mooring buoys to clamber out over the breakwater below the car park.

And that was it, an excellent dive.

Lunchtime, soup of the day with a roll in the Holly Tree Inn enjoyed with a superb view over Loch Linnhe, watching the tide change.

I’d promised Steve two dives at least today, so lunch over we drove back to Ballachulish to “The Slates” where we met and chatted to a couple of groups from Dundee and Cupar. A few of these guys I’d dived with before at the Loch Fyne Tea rooms on Regional training days so today the site had a reunion feel about it.

Kitting up and marching out to the point of the larger pier saw Steve and I drop into 2-3m of fresh water before descending into better visibility. Unfortunately the surface layer effectively blocked the light and once again we had a very dark, if some what ‘illuminated’ dive. The life was again good with more fish life this time, spotted wrasse, leopard guppies, poor cod and a few small saithe patrolling the reef which was itself covered in sea squirts, saddle oysters and sea loch anenomies. Exhausting our bottom time we ascended to finish the tanks in the shallows as we traversed back to the cars along the inner arm of the pier. Another good dive.

Next stop was a visit to Klondyke Darryl who was having a successful day out gold panning in the hills above Tyndrum, then onto the Crianlarich hotel for refreshments, a quick chat and final wrap up before the journey home. All in all another grand day out with two new sites and a new ale for Steve.