The north east’s first archaeological dive trail!
The dive trail is now becoming a reality, please see www.gunrocks.co.uk for the most up to date information and the blog.
The Gun Rocks Cannon site lies between 8 – 12 metres in depth and is diveable on slack and flood tides, so is a very accessible site to dive for all levels of diver. The aim is therefore to make the site even more accessible to divers, to create a dive trail, so that divers can enjoy the site, see the cannon and find the cannon balls which lie there.
The cannon are scattered in an area which has a thick cover of kelp. The kelp plants are up to two metres tall and from a diver’s point of view create difficult diving conditions as the plant’s stems tend to tangle easily with diving equipment. The kelp also hides the cannon – it is not uncommon for a diver to spend 45 minutes on Gun Rocks, then to surface wondering where the cannon were. The dive trail aims to solve this!
The dive trail will be maintained on an annual basis by members of Tyneside 114 (and associated volunteers). In April each year, we aim to visit the site to clear back the kelp from the cannon, and to create small trails which will lead divers from one cannon to the next.
In October through to December 2016 we ran a Crowd Funding Exercise which raised £606. Money which is greatly received, so thank you to all who donated. This money has allowed us to start the work on the dive trail in April 2017.
A bid for funds was also been submitted to the BSAC Jubilee Trust. In March 2017 we heard that this bid was successful, the money will allow us to complete the dive trail and to undertake the photogrammetry of the remaining cannon, and re-do our initial attempts.
Finally a bid to seek funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was submitted February 2017. We found out at the end of March 2017 that we were successful! The go ahead for using the funds was given at the end of April 2017 once the final paperwork had been completed. This money will allow us to do a lot of work, involve other clubs in the setting up of the trail, trialing maps and diving the long list of anomalies, which Wessex Archaeology in conjunction with Historic England left for us, following their surveys in 2013.
To date we have secured funding of £9606 which will allow us to undertake the following activities:
- A historical guide to Gun Rocks
- A marine guide to the critters that have made Gun Rocks home
- An interactive guide to Gun Rocks using the photogrammetry
- A virtual reality tour of Gun Rocks – so you can see the cannon from the comfort of your arm chair!
- Create a dedicated Gun Rocks Website
All of the activities are commencing, so if you would like to keep up with what is going on then please visit the dedicated Gun Rocks website: www.gunrocks.co.uk
Scubastrapp aka Simon Metcalf has currently been given the commission to draw up and print the dive trail maps. He is working on a design at the moment. But to wet you appetite, below is a map which I just drew for fun!