Alternative Name(s): Portencross Galleon
Travel directions: Head west on the M8 turn off onto the A737 turning right onto the A760 to Largs. Turn left onto the A78 south towards West Kilbride for 8 miles and turn right onto the B7048 to Portencross, the carpark is clearly on the left as you enter Portencross
Parking directions: Enter the carpark under the goalpost in the middle of the picture below and park on the far left facing the sea or along the road to dive the pier.
Distance from Glasgow: 33.5 Miles
Lat & Long: N55.41.931 W4. 54. 236 Postcode KA23 9QA
Tides: Tide Tables
Site entry/exit: From the left of the car park as you face the sea go through the gate and walk 15 meters and enter the water at the clearing. See the pictures below…. or enter the water at the point marked exit on the picture below to dive the pier.
Underwater directions: Head out till you reach 8m (about a 100m) and turn right and head north for 200m and exit beside the castle or return to the entry point. To the south of the Castle, the seabed is rocky, in Summer there is lots of kelp. North of the castle mid-way between the castle and the pier, the seabed is sand. An east wind will hold the sea flat, a west wind turns the site into a dangerous washing machine with an excessive surge in the shallow water and waves breaking onto the rocky shore. The pier is popular with some Scotsac branches for the sport diver "jump entry" skill assessment, it's quite high. A shallow dive around the pier north of the castle can be good for creatures and critters. (see picture below)
Site Hazards: A west wind turns the site into a dangerous washing machine with an excessive surge in the shallow water and waves breaking onto the rocky shore.
Suggested experience: All grades of diver
Nearest Public phone: To Follow
Mobile Network service: Orange
Other comments: This is where the famous Portencross galleon sank in 1740 a few hundred yards off Farland head, possibly one of the Spanish Armada. One of the cannons used to lie beside the castle till a few years ago. There is another report that says the wreck is straight out from the castle in 60ft of water. The diver reported, that from the size of her guns, she appeared to have been a capital ship; and a very large chest was perceived fixed upon deck. The operation succeeded so far, that some fine brass guns were brought up, and a smaller iron one, which still lies upon the beach.
Air & Nitrox: C+C
Pub: Largs marina
Created by: John Nicolson
Thanks To: Budgy
Dive Report: Budgy 28/7/08 West Kilbride's Portencross is a popular weather dependant dive site with trainee's. Plenty of Parking, there are picnic tables but no shop or toilet facilities. Crosscurrents can be strong, the water is shallow, 6-8m max, you have to go out a long way, to get depth. To the south of the Castle the seabed is rocky, in Summer there is lots of kelp. North of the castle mid-way between the castle and the pier, the seabed is sand. An east wind will hold the sea flat, a west wind turns the site into a dangerous washing machine with excessive surge in the shallow water and waves breaking onto the rocky shore
Dive Report: Hickdive 27/2/10 Had a lovely wee dive here this morning, the forecast was easterlies so no problem getting in and out (except squeezing through the gate with a twinset on ). A wee bit chilly after an hour and a quarter but the dive was like a walk in the park (and longer than the actual walk some folk were doing onshore ). Dozens of tiny yellow and white nudibranchs on the kelp fronds. No deeper than 7m, very relaxing with beautiful views over to the snow-capped mountains of Arran and down to Ailsa Craig. Thanks for the dive guide, would never have considered this site for a pleasant change from the usual suspects in the Lochs.
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