Type: Steel twin-screwed 1207 ton schooner she was built as the steam yacht sapphire her dimensions were 285.0' x 35.2' x 14.0’.
Wreck Information: Built by John Brown Clydebank & launched as the Sapphire in 1912. Owned as a private yacht & hired by the Royal Navy during both World Wars Collided with a submarine on 18 Feb 1944 & was beached near current position. Was refloated in an attempt to bring her to harbour but this failed and further navy salvage operations were abandoned. She now lies with her bow pointing to shore. The forward section is severely damaged but the hull is intact from amidships aft. The stern is worthy of investigation and is the best part to dive. The hull is full of silt making wreck penetration unadvisable unless you are trained for wreck penetration and suitably equipped.
Travel directions: A83 Ardrishaig to Tarbert Loch Fyne, towards Campbeltown. Upon reaching T-junction in the town centre, turn left and then right at the roundabout. Continue along a dual carriageway, passing both the old quay and the new quay (ex-ferry terminal). Turn right and immediately left, following the south shore of Campbeltown Loch. Pass the cemetery (on the right) and drive past a row of houses on the right until reaching the widening in the road which allows parking & access to the shore. See the photos below. Google
Site Hazards: Silt on seabed & within wreck can reduce visibility to zero. Boats are moored nearby
Parking directions: Park at the left edge of the road
Lat / Long: 55°24.966'N, 005°34.993'W (GPS), about 400 metres from the south shore of Campbeltown Loch. Postcode PA28
Site entry/exit: Go through the gap in the sea wall and enter the water from the shore. The wreck is about 250m offshore and is usually marked by a small dark buoy maintained by Campbeltown SAC (currently the buoy is half-sunk).
Transits (Buchanan & Fairgray, 1995): Porch of Barbreck Cottage should be directly behind the gap in the sea wall Look left and align the telegraph pole on the hillside with the middle one on the road before the white house. By swimming in an east-west direction the wreck should be found.
Tides: Tide tables
Dive shop: None near.
Accommodation: Contact me
Suggested experience: Sport diver with good buoyancy control to avoid stirring up the silt
Mobile Network service: Orange
Other comments: If diving in the area, it would be advisable to contact Campbeltown SAC who are very accommodating.
Created by: Charles McGurk
Air & Nitrox: Pennyseorach Farm
Date: 23 May 2007
Thanks To: Livingstone Russell, Campbeltown SAC
Surface photos: By Jorawley
Underwater photos: By Jorawley
Wreck diagram: Contact me
Dive Report: Jorawley 22/2/10 It cannot be stressed just how silty this site is, Started at the bow which is completely destroyed beyond most recognition and barely rises 1m from the silt, loads of shrimps hiding underneath the various twisted plates and headed down the starboard side. A large number of crails have been snagged here over the years and many are covered with anemones and crabs living on top of them rather than inside them. The stern intact sits a couple of metres off the seabed and with good light made an enjoyable few minutes of picture taking. The viz was easily 8-10m that day - the best viz from all 3 dives on her. By the time 50mins approaches I'm feeling rather chilled so take a zig-zag bimble back to the entry point passing more prawns, small scallops, starfish of all shapes and sizes and out just before the hour ticks by. At only 1207 tonnes she's not the largest wreck and many may laugh at the fact I've done 3 dives on her with the deepest being 14metres, but given what an exposed area the mull of Kintyre is and that the dive club only knows of 2 shore sites in the area it was far better than nothing. If I found myself down that way again I'd happily do a 4th dive on the HMS Breda.
Dive report: Comment in the box below.