Gaelic Rose – Muck and Walls

We set off from Manchester and after a long journey we arrived at Lochaline by 1900. Kit unloaded we got ready for the evening meal on board the Gaelic Rose. The Gaelic Rose is an old wooden fishing boat that has been converted into a liveaboard and it will be our home for the next few days diving trip.

It normally takes twelve divers but this time there was only six of us due to Covid restrictions. This was quite refreshing as it made for plenty of space below decks and plenty of room to move on the kitting up deck area.

The weather was on our side and the light winds and good conditions on Friday meant that we were able to plan a trip out to the Isle of Muck for our first day’s diving.

We arrived in the late morning and prepared for our first dive at ‘Auliston Point’. This is a scenic wall, just short of Ardnamurchan Point. Following that and a fine lunch we sailed to ‘The Windmills’, another stunning wall just south of Muck. This proved to be an excellent midafternoon dive featuring masses of jewel anemones, sea cucumbers and lobsters.

With the weather set to hold we decided to tie up on the pier at the Isle of Muck ready for our evening meal. Not wanting to waste the good weather we took the opportunity to experience the area and to make the most of the day so after the meal we had a brief walk and some exploration of Muck. The scenery was superb and gave us a great finish to a day that had given us two good dives.

Gaelic Rose moored at Muck

The plan was to dive ‘Elisabeth Rock’ on Saturday but as happens with British diving, the winds strengthened and changed direction to northerly’s, which meant we had to motor into the lee of Ardnamurchan Point in order to dive ‘Sligneach Mor’ instead. We decided to do a scallop dive and, whilst this was unsuccessful, we saw several dogfish and the dive proved to be an interesting and enjoyable one because of the variety of sea life we encountered.

We then sailed further up Loch Sunart to ‘Risca Narrows’ for a shallow drift dive along the wall and the seabed where we, once again, saw dogfish (young and old) crabs and squat lobsters while once again searching in vain for scallops.

Risca Narrows

While we tidied the dive kit the boat headed for the Isle of Mull and moored at our usual stop, Tobermory, for the evening. This allowed us time for a walk to the shops and to visit the Mishnish and the rebuilt Macgeochan’s hostelry. Afterwards we had another excellent meal on board the Gaelic Rose and settled down to an evening of socialising before resting up ready for the next days diving.

Fortunately, the winds eased off on Sunday morning and allowed us to dive the ‘Hispania’ on our way back to Lochaline. The Hispania has to be dived at slack as it sits in the middle of the channel and the tidal flow is extremely strong. Even though we followed the tide tables, before we could dive, we needed to wait over a half hour for slack to hit properly. The wreck, as ever, was superb we were rewarded with profuse life on the deck and in the holds. After half an hour we begun to ascend, and we ended up holding on to the shot and ‘flagpole’ on our safety stop.

That was the final dive, so we packed our bags while we sailed back to Lochaline and had lunch before departing for home after a really enjoyable trip.

Many thanks to the trip organisers and the group Rick & Jen Brad, Phil B and Lady Kathryn for making the trip, as well as excellent boat handling from Bob and delicious food from Lee.

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Paul Tweedale

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