Alternative Names: Creagan narrows.
Type of Dive: Shallow dive which can be done either as a drift or a normal dive (recommended) if you time the tides correctly. The high energy nature of the site means there are a few distinct seabed types, all full of life, over a very small area with a lot of fish around. It makes a nice contrast with the Queenie reef site, and the visibility can be a lot better here too.
Suggested experience: Experienced trainee and above
Travel directions: From Connel head to Fort William, when you come to the roundabout at the bridge follow the sign for local traffic which takes you around and under the bridge. Just past the bridge, you will see the lay-by.
Parking directions: There are two lay-bys just before the bridge. There is space for a few cars with careful parking but this area can be occupied by camper vans at times. If you can get into the lay-by at the loch side of the road (the first one you come to) you will be closer to the access point.
Distance from Oban: 15 Miles 25 Mins Google map
Lat & Long: N56.546934,W-5.28864 Postcode PA35 1JT Google
Tides: Tide tables There are two options, to treat the site as a drift dive or to time your dive for slack water and treat it as a normal dive. Both require a good understanding of the tidal conditions - make sure you understand what the percentage springs (aka tidal coefficient) will be when you plan to dive here. This site doesn’t have the dangers of the Falls of Lora since it’s shallow and fairly flat, without the crazy up and down currents but if you want to have a good dive, the principles of planning around the tides are similar.
Depth: Usually no more than 10m - depths are marginally deeper than charted for some of the narrows area but regardless you would have to go quite far to get past 10m.
Site entry/exit: Access is from the lay-by in the picture below down to the shingle beach, this is not easy with a large step down; entry into the water from the beach is straightforward.
Without boat cover, this should only be attempted on the flood (rising) tide. This means that if you misjudge your dive, you will only at worst have to swim to the side of Upper Loch Creran. If you were to dive on the ebb tide, there is a risk you end up way out somewhere in the Lower Basin and face a much longer swim and trek back to your car. It is not recommended to drift dive this site at full race at springs as the current does run at 6 knots plus - you will struggle to see anything as you fly by and buddy separation is likely. A good route for a drift dive is to try to find the centre support pillars for the bridge and duck out in there for a while to see what goes by. The easiest way to do this is swim out the far (north) side of the narrows before you get to the bridge then follow the slightly deeper channel with dead men's fingers when it appears - the bridge supports will go by just on your right, surrounded by a lot of large square blocks.
The length of time you get at slack water again depends on the percentage springs. At 0% there is well over an hour of still or very slow water and at 100% you have literally only a couple of minutes before the current starts to pick up the other way. Don’t start the dive AT high water / low water - if you do you have wasted half your useable time! A good route is to just explore the area but slowly work your way towards the bridge. If you swim NW from the entry point at first for a good few minutes you will pass over distinct areas of dense kelp, vast numbers of brittle stars, dead men's fingers and even flame shell beds (protected). If you then head east with enough time left you will come to the bridge (keep checking for the shadow overhead and you can also hear the traffic - strangely, cars crossing the bridge sound like a boat engine when you are near the supports) - it’s interesting to poke around in the bridge supports and there are often several large pollack in this area.
Air & Nitrox: Puffin
Site Hazards: The current can and will run at 6 knots if you are here at full race and high percentage springs. Make sure you understand the tidal conditions. There is occasional boat traffic.
Nearest Public phone: Creagan Inn
Mobile Network service: Vodaphone T-mobile and Orange works
Other comments: The first thing to remember about this site is that the current can get very strong. I have often heard the site described as being a “mini falls of lora”. If you dive it during slack water or neap tides the current is quite manageable and it’s easy to swim against but be prepared and make sure you dive it on a rising tide so if you get into trouble you are taken inland rather than being dragged out into the Atlantic!
if you take a HHiB up here you can Launch at Creran Marine or Tralee bay care is needed when going under the bridge as there are hidden rocks in the gap to the north.
Pub: Creagan Inn is very close and has food. If staying in Oban there are plenty of options.
Cafe: Food at Creagan Inn.
Thanks To: Darren Martin and Mark Berrie
Date:15th February 2011
Created by: Jake and Robbie Neilson
Surface Photos: Contact me
Underwater Photos: By Darren Martin Andy Nash and Mark Berrie. Utube
Dive Map: Not required here.
Dive report: Comment in the box below.