I had the opportunity to steal either a short hillwalk or a quick dip on the West coast today as a result of visiting offices in Glasgow. So with the kit in the boot off I went, picked up a piece of equipment and then sat waiting in the designated car park for my buddy who duly arrived from Kilmarnock, wound down his window and shook his head somewhat dejectedly. 20 – 25 mile an hour winds and good sized waves were crashing into an exposed shore, the SS Kintyre was definitely sunk ! Plan B, Loch Long. You can always get into Loch Long and so we agreed to drive up and have lunch in the Arrochar Pit Stop and then try our luck at Conger Alley.
Wet was something of an understatement as rivers pouring down the Lomandside hills flooding across the roads, but we arrived safely, enjoyed a bacon sandwich and then changed into drysuits at the rain soaked car lay-by as lorries and speeding cars sprayed us in passing. The original plan, exploring a deep wreck, surprisingly lends itself to a different kit configuration than that required for loch shore diving and carrying a twin set along the 300 yards of pavement to get access to the water took a little resolve but we made it and were quickly in the water.
Down, along, down a bit further, out across the mud and then slowly up the reef was the plan. It turned out to be a good dive too. Poor surface vis led to 5m+ lower down and apart from rather colorful sea squirts, and sealoch anemones, starfish, urchins, crabs and blennies, we saw a shoal of coppery codling, several small dragonettes, numerous corkwing wrasse, an enormous ballan wrasse and of course we can’t forget the rather impressive conger that came partly out of it’s lair to inspect the bright shiny thing that was being waved about in front of him.
A layer of fresh water, fed by streams peculating into the loch from the gravel gave some rather chilly conditions as we reached the shallows and did a short stop, while just before surfacing, a rain shower came in which was audible, quite amazing. That was it, apart from the oh so long, 300 yards back to the cars where once again we changed in the rain before decamping to the pub for a beer and chat and finally making our separate ways home after a surprisingly good dive.
No photo’s today. I didn’t take my camera as is not rated for what we had initially planned to do. (– excuses – Ed!)