Alternative Names: None
Type of Dive: Shore dive in Loch Ailort
Suggested experience: Any
Distance from Fort William: 30 Miles 45 mins Take the A830 out towards Mallaig. Straight after passing through Loch Ailort turn left onto the A861. The site is just under 2 miles along this road. Depending on the tide you will see A fish farm is currently (2012) being constructed here. Google
Parking directions: As shown across the road in the picture below.
Lat & Long: N56.855654 W-5.705646 Google
Tides: Tide Tables
Site entry/exit: Enter the water in the middle of the bay its a very easy entry/exit.
Underwater directions: Swim roughly NW and down a very gentle slope and at around 2-3 metres it starts to get a little steeper and becomes rocky. You then come to a small low rocky reef with quite a lot of galathea squamifera in almost every crack and crevice. These are not as big as the long-clawed squat lobsters or as bright as the spiny ones so it’s easy to miss them. Your torch usually picks out their tiny bright little eyes. Sea stars and swimming crabs are everywhere and you will find the odd patch of yellow boring sponge and a few northern urchins. Having investigated this continue down over a rocky shingly slope and find decorator and edible crabs, scorpion fish, and butterfish. Eventually, the shingle and rocks disappear and it becomes sandy which is rather barren on the surface except for the usual hermit crabs scuttling around. As you make your way back come back at a very slight angle towards the head of the loch or SSE this will bring you up to a rocky area at around 3-4m with a lot of Serpula vermicularis or organ Pipe worm. Finally follow the line of the shore back to your entry point. There is no wow factor to this dive but it is pleasant with a reasonable amount of life.
Site Hazards: The odd boat and slight mid tide currents
Site Hazards: None
Nearest Public phone:
Accommodation: There are a few places around the loch where you can wild camp
Mobile Network service:
Other comments: There is going to be a big fish farm in the loch next year.
Pub: The Inn
Created By: Jane Wilkinson
Date: Nov 2011
Surface Photos: Contact me
Underwater Photos: By Jane Wilkinson
Links: Contact me
Dive report: Down under Dived here on the 1st Jan. Stunning site. Dived it slightly different to how Jane did in the dive guide as I was interested in the narrows. Enter the water to the left of the bay, next to the stream. Shallow to start with then slopes away to about 6m. Low rocky reef rises a metre or two in front of you. Up and over this, you drop down onto extensive maerl beds that are broken up by the occasional slab of rock. As expected being close to the narrows there was a bit of water movement but a lot of life. I was following a bearing of about 240 degrees although I did not move far as there was so much to see. Nudibranch, feather stars, multiple species of crab, starfish and shellfish. There were a few cables heading across the loch covered in sea squirts and sponges, with decorated long-legged spider crabs hidden amongst. The life was so abundant. Nice and shallow. Don't think I went below 12m, diving on the low tide. Let the current drift me back over the small rocky reef, exiting back in the middle of the bay near some old mooring blocks and the Serpula vermicularis, Jane described in the guide. A site I will definitely dive again.
Dive report: Comment in the box below.