Alternative Names: Loch Aline wall, Loch Aline west pier.
Type of Dive: Lochaline pier is an excellent wall dive from the surface to 90m covered in sea life. This wall dive is probably the best shore wall dive in the UK. Having all the facilities you need for a diving weekend in one place is rare and so makes for a very good dive trip.
Suggested Experience: Experienced sports diver with good buoyancy control.
Travel directions: Lochaline follow the A82 Glasgow to Fort William road as far as the turnoff marked Corran Ferry, 8 miles south-west of Fort William. As you leave the ferry, turn left onto the A861 following the signs for Strontian. Turn left off the A861 just before Strontian for the A884, signposted to Lochaline
Parking directions: Lochaline old pier has room for 10-15 cars and is perfect for kitting up and walking into the water.
Lat & Long: 56.31.56N -5.47.03W Postcode PA80 5XT Google
Tides: Tide tables This is a slack water only dive.
Site entry/exit: At the wall to the left of the entrance to the pier walk down the stones and along the concrete path and enter the water as shown in the pictures below. If the tide is in you can do a jump entry at the corner of the pier. For an easy exit fin towards the other pier and exit at the sandy beach. If you are a rufty tufty diver you can climb the ladder on the pier. Utube
Underwater directions: Fin to the right (facing the water) the wall is under the pier so pick your depth and explore and come back up the wall to the entry point to slowly decompress.
Depth: Vertical to 90m and a boulder slope onwards
Air & Nitrox: Loch Aline dive centre
Site Hazards: Ships, Dangerous down currents and watch out for the fishing line here.
Nearest Public phone: The east pier.
Mobile Network service: Orange in places
Pub: Lochaline social club at the east pier
Cafe: On the east pier (see picture below) This is great for snacks and coffee 10/10
More Info: Only dive at slack water and best on a high tide. The wall is covered in sponges and there is plenty of fish life. The Logan, a West Highland puffer carrying 105 tons of coal from Troon to Skye sank when she sprung a leak off the pier but is in deep water. ( N56 31.863 W5 47.243 ) also the Johanna a motor fishing vessel foundered about 200 yds SSE of Lochaline pier. (N56 32.6 W5 45.9) also is in deep water.
Created by: John Nicolson
Surface Photos: John Nicolson
Divesite map: Not required
Dive Report: Shiny 12/06/09 The end of the pier was in use by loggers loading a barge at the time, but they soon cleared off to the pub, it being a Friday night. There's a couple of different entry/exit points to dive the wall - the sandy beach a hundred yards up the road towards the ferry slip, the rocks just outside the old post office where we were staying, and straight off the pier - needless to say, which one I chose !! (see attached video) Some other divers went out from the beach, but you have to swim out over some kelp and a boulder slope before getting onto the wall itself, whereas going off the pier it goes straight from +5m to -90m. (Good idea to make sure your direct feeds as connected before taking the plunge) Diving from the West Pier is really only recommended at slack water unless you fancy visiting Tobermory or Oban (depending on how Poseidon's feeling) We got kitted up and in for quarter past seven, a couple of hours before high tide. There was a small current running north-west along the wall, but nothing to worry about. We jumped in and headed along with the wall to our left (heading into Loch Aline) at just over 30m. At this point, it's just a shear wall with plenty of cracks in it. Marine life included anemones, some soft coral and sponges, and the usual crabs, blennies, and goldsinny. There was a dogfish towards the start of the dive, but he didn't seem to be as tame as his brothers down in Loch Fyne or Loch Leven (could be he just had a bad day). Also a couple of bright male cuckoo wrasse (and females) along the wall as well as some bigger (possibly Pollock) kicking about. Turned around and came back at around 15m (around the area in front of the old post office) where the top of the wall starts go from vertical to sloping up gently towards the rocky shore. This area is more kelpy and full of the little things that live in amongst it. We went along with the current and surfaced after a good hours dive just below the pier. The pier has a set of ladders at both ends or alternatively, you could exit at the rocks just to the north of the pier (an easier exit, but you still need to get yourself and your kit up the rocks back to the road). If you’re half fit, the ladders are easy enough (and that’s me with a twinset on).
All in all, a great dive. As long as you’re good with your buoyancy, its good for most divers as you can pick any depth from 10m - 90m, and there’s plenty see at all levels. 19:14 / max 33.5m / avg 16.7m / vis ~ 10m / water 10°C / twin10's on 21%
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