Knivestone and North Goldstone rust extravaganza

Rust extravaganza on the Knivestone and the North Goldstone reef. July 2016.

Report and photography by Richard Booth

First dive of the day was out on the Knivestone reef. Here we drifted along the reef exploring the wreckage that litters the seabed in this area. We passed over an old iron propeller and on over the collapsed remains of an old steam ships bow.

Propeller

Further on, we cut through a gully and came across another ships boiler sitting on a pile of steel bottom plates before making our way back along the reef.

With such a calm sea and a low water slack, it presented an ideal opportunity to travel down to the remote North Goldstone reef close to Lindisfarne. This isolated rock is situated out in open exposed water requiring the calmest of conditions to dive. Only exposed at low water the North Goldstone is a serious hazard to shipping which has claimed numerous victims over the year.

North Goldstone

Its most famous wreck is that of the Pegasus, a cargo passenger paddle steamer wrecked on a voyage from Leith to Hull on 20th July 1843, tragically with the loss of 51 lives, which included a number of women and children.

Pegasus

Could we locate the wreckage of this historic vessel?

We dived on the north side of the reef, the side that a vessel travelling south from Scotland was most likely to ‘strike’.

We soon located signs of wreckage and came across a large ship’s boiler, although no obvious signs of a steam engine or paddle wheels.

Boiler

There were however numerous iron bottom plates, as well as the broken remains of a winch.

Winch

Was this the wreckage of the Pegasus? Well, it turns out that the Pegasus hull was constructed of wood, so not much of it is likely to remain after over 150 years under the sea. The fact that so much iron bottom plate was found on this particular site appeared to indicate that this was a different wreck from a later period.

Bottom plates 2

Perhaps some of the Pegasus wreckage is intermingled with this other vessels wreckage. Nevertheless we had enjoyed a fascinating dive on this wreck site.

Hopefully next year we will be able to return and undertake further exploration on this remote and mysterious site.