Neil and Mark go Clyde diving …. a visit to the Wallachia and Akka

The Clyde

The river Clyde flows through Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, and onward into some of the deepest coastal waters in Britain. The firth encompasses a number of large and small islands, and several Sea Lochs that creates a body of water stretching from Southern Scotland to the tip of Loch Fyne. The Clyde Sea Sill has been a designated Marine Protected Area due to its importance for local fish stocks and other higher marine predators. There are common sightings of seals and porpoises, with dolphins and some whale species spotted occasionally.

2 old boys with bad shoulders and stiff backs ….

I was staying home with Frank as I had been hard at it with work and just did not want to do anything on Saturday but stay in bed. But that devil on my shoulder Neil Farmer wasn’t going to let me do that !!  He rang and I heard .. Hello old boy, I have booked us on a Rhib (rigid hulled inflatable boat) out of Inverkip marina. Be at mines for 8.30am Saturday…

Neil and I heading into the Coe gorge to do battle many moons ago  ?

We have stories Neil and I , many of them , starting back when I was a super keen kayaker heading North to the highlands in search of flooded burns and waterfalls every weekend. He welcomed me into his kayak gang of Glasgow’s Elite, ” the dream team” ?, over 25 years ago now !!  We bonded big time and have followed each other all over the world since !  From expedition kayaking in the high Himalaya to diving in the cold deep North Sea we have kept each other going even when we have both felt like retiring from the game many a time !  That devil just wont go away ?? To be honest he deserves a full post to himself , now this would be a great read …  I love the big bastard ! #manlove❤️ ?…

Inverkip Marina

Saturday arrived and I dragged myself out of bed, drove the 2 hours to Glasgow, living in the Borders is great for Eyemouth where I regularly dive but the west coast is a mission ! anyways I arrived at Neil’s door 8.30 am,  sharp as usual ..  no sign of Neil … I rang him , just up he says, give me 5 mins while I have a shower … Nothing new here then , if hes ever ready on time I will know something is very wrong !   However we were off out of his in good time to make our Inverkip schedule.  Here we would meet Jason Coles from Wreckspeditions , a charter company which is presently  making a fine name for itself up there on the West. Oh and he makes tea … did I mention the oh soooo fine Tea mmmHmmmmmm 😀

collectors items !! <3

We arrived at the dock and Jason was there to meet us , he introduced us to Peter, a cracking fella/diver  and he even turned out to be the author of two favourites from my book collection. They are Clyde and Argyle Shipwrecks , two beautifully researched and illustrated book on wrecks and history , seriously very good books.

The Starfish Enterprise ..

Jason was a gent and helped us dockside with all our gear. He introduced us to the Starfish Enterprise… his fast Rhib , a vessel well equipped for diving. We loaded the Rhib , ran through the safety procedures and soon headed out the Marina to a beautiful calm sea …

A calm Firth of Clyde

We arrived at the Akka, the largest of the Clyde wrecks at over 5000 tonnes. We found her  in good conditions with little current , soon we were diving …. Neil and I dropped off the Rhib backwards and made our way to the shot, dropping quickly to get clear of the surface current . We bubble checked at 6m and disappeared down the line … soon we were on the Akka , an iron ore transporter ship from Stockholm sank after grounding herself on the Gantock rocks.

The Akka

It was sitting in a maximum of 40m of water , the deck approximately 20-23m. With our good viz of 6-7m it made for a great dive. We circumnavigated the wreck checking out the wreck itself and the teaming wild life living on it .. after a full tour we headed back up the shot which was marked by my new Trojan strobe !!  which by the way is fucking Awesome with the capital A !! its like Blackpool illuminations on the line  😀   Everyone commented later on its eye blinding brightness  ! 😀   I bought it here :  TROJAN    It arrived quickly 3 days later , and has marked my every shot since … perfect !

Neil Decompressing on the line ..

Soon enough  we were headed to the second wreck of the day the Wallachia, a 1077nt iron steamship sank in 1895 after a collision with a Norwegian steamer .. the Flos.  This wreck had very strong surface currents , making it difficult to hit the shot and indeed I was hanging on it like a flag in the wind while trying to descend and given this is very close to a CAlmac ferry route it was a nervous moment. I certainly didn’t want to be aimlessly floating around in the Clyde while a big ferry was going around.

illustration by Peter Moir who we were honoured to be diving with that day

Once at 5-6m the current was gone and at 30m although dark and very gloomy the viz was good at around 5-6m and we proceeded to execute our dive following the hand rail round the entire ship , exploring as we went ..

it was another good wreck , intact, full of life and historic …  Indeed Rod Macdonald had this to say … The Wallachia ranks alongside the mighty Akka as one of the most important of the innumerable shipwrecks in the Firth of Clyde.  At 259 feet in length she can be easily explored in one dive and her fine lines, so distinctive of 19th century steamships, appreciated.  She is a relic from a bygone age, a tantalising glimpse of the majestic days of steam.  

Neil holding on to a mussel sprat covered shot line in strong surface currents …

All too soon we were heading back up the shot and the decompression was done..  Jason was on hand to expertly extract us from the sea and fill us full of tea and jammy dodgers …  nom nom yassss !!

Jason shoots in to safely pick us out the current

Neil and I had a great day with Wreckspeditions, great diving , expert cover by Jason and of course his service was outstanding , I really cant wait to go back … cheers fella … oh did I mention the tea and jammy dodgers ???  maybe I did 😀

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3 Responses to Neil and Mark go Clyde diving …. a visit to the Wallachia and Akka

  1. Kenneth Short says:

    Another cracker mate! Fantastic pics too…. love the quote by Rod MacDonald!

  2. HMS Prince Philippe is a wreck I am trying to find either a photo of the wreck or a sonar scan. Classified as Landing Ship. Date of loss cited as 15 July 1941. This vessel was in collision with Empire Wave and sank 8 miles NW of Corsewall Point Location of loss cited as N55 4.37 W5 21.22 (55° 5′ N., 5° 24′ W. )

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