Alternative Names: None.
Type of Dive: Easy shore dive
Suggested experience: Trainee and upwards. Easy access, close to the town, and lots of ambient light reflected from the sandy seabed. Cafes, pubs, shops and public toilets ten minutes walk or two minutes drive from the site.
Distance from Glasgow: 96 miles, 2 hours depending on traffic. Take the A82 up Loch Lomondside. At Tarbet take the LH fork onto the A83. Continue through Arrochar, up the Rest and be Thankful and through Inveraray. Continue on A83 from Inveraray towards Lochgilphead. From Lochgilphead, head south towards East Loch Tarbert on the A83 until you reach Tarbert. In Tarbert, take left on the A8015 to the very end of the road. Drive along the harbour front, passing the pier and slip for the small Cowal ferry, and around a bay that has about 8 houses looking out towards Portnavadie. Google
Parking directions: Park at end of the road. There is space for 4 or 5 cars by a bench, bin and metal pole.
Lat & Long: N55.863899, W-5.390645 OS Map 62; 87840; 69072
Tides: Tide tables
Site entry/exit: Enter the shore via an obvious gap in the short seawall wall in front of the last house. There is a naturally stepped rock slab that takes you to the water's edge. Access is quite easy. It is best to exit where you came in, as exiting further round the point means a scramble over the rocks to get back to the carpark.
Underwater directions: First look over the small hill behind the parked cars and you will see Shell Beach. It is a small beach about 70 to 100m around from the point. You could try and walk around, but the rocks between parking and Shell Beach are slippery and uneven. Better to fin round than to try and take gear overland.Fin round the point so that you are heading towards the small beach 100m south of the point. Once at the beach, take a break. Enter directly from the beach and swim out. This is primarily a scallop dive to about 20m. General UW topography is a flat sand/shingle/small rocks seabed. There is the usual small sea life. There may be a reef at 30m (according to Lawson Wood in ‘Dive West Scotland’) but this would require finning a long way out. Claire and Andy, who have dived this site several times, have never got deeper than 22m
Site Hazards: There can be a swell as it is open to the west, but usually OK. The harbour is regularly used by big powerboats that can produce a wash. This could be dangerous if you were just exiting onto the rock slab.
Nearest Public phone: Two phoneboxes, one on the main town seafront and the other tucked in by the harbour offices
Mobile Network service: All major networks available
Other comments: Shell Beach is obviously the same site as what is called ‘Eilean a Chomraig’ in Lawson Wood’s ‘Dive West Scotland’. There is a place called Eilean a Chomraig on the map/chart, but there is no road access to Eilean a Chomraig and it is about ½ mile further south of Shell Beach.
Created By: Alex Maclenan
Air & Nitrox:
Thanks To: Claire for dive site info.
Underwater Photos: Contact me
Dive Report: Comment in the box below.