I joined a week-long liveaboard trip organised by Hellfins club from London.
We were on the liveaboard Halton, skippered by Bob Anderson. The Halton is a fairly typical UK liveaboard, being a converted trawler, and was comfortable enough for a week though not exactly luxurious. Bob enjoys exploring and is very amenable to suggestions to explore new sites, and to go further afield than many other operators.
We set off from Ullapool, and so this gave us access to the Summer Isles as well as further North.
We dived a few small wrecks, that are typical of this coastline.
Fairweather V is a trawler, sitting upright and covered in life. Visibility was good.
Margo was another trawler, near Lochinver. This was siltier than the Fairweather V and so visibility was down to about 5 metres. The Boston Sterling was another trawler.
Innesjura was a Clyde puffer, and provided a glimpse of the trading history of this coastline. She sank near the entrance to Loch Broom over 100 years ago. She sits upright, and the dent in the bow gives a clear explanation of why she sank! This was a lovely little dive, and I could picture Para Handy as we swum around the wreck.
We also dived some beautiful walls and gulleys that were teeming with life, including walls of colourful jewel anemones, shoals of tiny fish (maybe cod), some of the group saw a couple of octopus though I missed out on that, pipefish, sea hares, colourful nudibranchs.
We planned to dive Cape Wrath, but sadly were defeated by the weather.
This was as far North as I’ve been on the West coast of Scotland, and we pulled in to various remote harbours in the evenings. The local pubs ranged from something out of Trainspotting to award-winning restaurants. Bikers might know this area as a key part of the North Coast 500.
Worth a return visit
This under-explored part of Scotland is well worth a return visit. Bob is already committed to taking the Halton to Norway for 3 months next year, and so won’t be offering this option. However, he did highly recommend the day boat run by North East Dive www.northeastdive.co.uk who operate out of Kinlochbervie (yes, I know this is the west coast, but they seem to move between the 2 coasts on a regular basis).
Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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