Over the last eighteen months members have had a few trips to Loch Long and Loch Fyne diving from several well-known sites from the shore and from ribs.
After some research, last month we decided to go slightly further afield and explore some Loch Leven. With a view to having a club diving weekend up there in future.
We were very fortunate with the weather having blue skies and sunshine all weekend despite rain in Cumbria. There are several campsites near by one at Caolasnacon right on the loch side and next to one of the best wall dives in the area (£21 / night).Bunkhouse accommodation was also available at Loch Leven where there were plenty of pubs and shops available (£16/night).
We drove up Friday arriving late afternoon and scouted around the sites we had chosen for the weekend. All looked good with easy access and only one with any time / tide restrictions.
The first dive was from the shores of the campsite at Caolasnacon. We dived out into the bay to about 15m and then made a right turn to the major walls.
The sea bed was sand and gravel with scattered small boulders. Plenty of multicoloured brittle stars and various star fish plus crabs and squat lobsters made for an interesting and picturesque start to the dive. When we found the vertical wall with various cervices it was covered in white Sea Loch Anemones and the odd Sea Squirt.
After visiting the café in Ballahulish we headed out to Loch Linnhe a few miles away and to the Holytree hotel (looked very nice but expensive) . Here there is an old pier and jetty which gives easy access to the water and a set of ridges and walls off shore. Lots of life again crabs, squat lobsters, dog fish plus peacock worms, various sea squirts, feather stars and sea urchins. Careful navigation got us back to our starting point forty minutes later.
Sunday dawned bright again and we headed for Manse Point for a dive at high tide to avoid any issues with currents. Once again good parking and easy access to the shore we swam out on the surface to the point and dived down exploring the walls beyond. Every surface was covered with a multitude of multi-coloured brittle stars with the odd sun star, common star fish and sea loch anemones.
We returned to Ballahulish for a sea food lunch and headed around to the Old Cemetery on the north side of the Loch. Good parking and easy access led to a shallower but no less spectacular dive. Beyond the initial gravel slope and human wreckage the sea bed was littered with huge long sea pens and magnificent phosphorescent sea pens. There plenty of other sites to try out but the ones we tried are definitely worth revisiting someday.
We have permission to dive the Slates a classic dive as long as we give advance notice.
Look forward to diving Loch Level again in the near future