SS Glanmire, St Abbs Head

5th February 2011

The latter part of the previous week saw gale force winds fortunately blowing offshore.  The Saturday forecast looked a bit more promising although with spring tides runnimg we knew that timings were going to be all important with regard to successfully diving the wreck of the SS Glanmire off St Abbs Head.

Originally built and launched in Dundee in 1888 this small steam ship was wrecked on the 25 th July 1912 on passage between Amsterdam and Grangemouth after running aground on the Black Carrs rocks in thick fog. Fortunately all 22 crew and the 15 passengers were safely evacuated from the stricken vessel and ferried to the nearby harbour of St Abbs . Later, on a rising tide, the abandoned Glanmire floated off the Black Carrs and started to drift along the coast line before foundering and sinking some 300 metres out from the lighthouse on St Abbs Head in over 30 metres of water.

Diving from Pete Gibson’s boat, the Selkie, we arrived out on the site of the SS Glanmire and the shot was duly dropped on to the wreck. On queue the tide slackened and we hit the water. Descending gently down the shotline the underwater visibility was fairly dark but reasonably clear. On the bottom, the outline of the wreckage could be clearly seen spreading away out from where the shot had landed on the bottom.

 Plumose anemones and deadmens fingers thickly coated all the exposed surfaces of the wreckage. We swam over the wreckage until we reached the stern area, here we explored around the impressive remains of the Glanmires propeller.

Returning back along the wreckage we soon came across the ships boilers and the remains of the engine room. Moving further forward we headed towards the collapsing remains of the bow, passing over round holes were once portholes had been in place. The bow itself points up towards the surface although a large snagged fishing net poses something of a hazard to the unwary diver as it billows in the current just behind the bow. The tide was definitely on the turn and beginning to run across the wreck.

From here, with computers indicating deco, we launched the delayed SMB and ascended slowly back to the surface.  A nice dive only marred by the breakage of the optical cable to my flashgun preventing the use of flash on an otherwise fairly gloomy dive.