Pipers Gut Drift Dive… and Discovery of Another Mystery Cannon Site

4th September 2010

by Richard Booth

With both the clubs RIB’s successfully launched from Seahouses, we headed out towards the Farne Islands . The weather forecast was for increasing South Easterly breeze, potentially ruling out the majority of the better known dive sites around the Farnes.

Trip organiser Andy Hunt opted for a drift dive through Pipers Gut, the scene of the wrecking of the SS Forfarshire in 1838, and the heroic rescue of 9 survivors by the Victorian heroine, Grace Darling and her father.

 On a flood tide the first group of divers were dropped off on the North side of the entrance to the gut. Once caught in the current, the divers were swept along on an accelerating ride over the streaming kelp and out into the sound on the other side of the channel between the Warmses and Big Harcar.

 This tidal flow has resulted in fantastic soft coral gardens developing wherever colonies of deadmen’s fingers can establish themselves on exposed rock surfaces.


Young seals gracefully drifted effortlessly by in the current, demonstrating their mastery of the tides with a simple flick of their flippers that carried them speedily away into the gloom. All too soon it was time to head back to the surface and the waiting RIB’s.

For a second dive, most opted to explore the waters around the Warmes. Along the north eastern edge can be found the remains of an old massive Admiralty anchor firmly wedged into the rocky bottom. Nearby our some nice submarine cliffs and a colony of inquisitive seals.

Andy and Fiona Hunt along with Richard Booth elected to investigate a site where Dave Taylor reported finding three small cannon some years ago. Dropping in close to his recommended marks, the three of them set off in an extended line and after only a few minutes Andy frantically waved his torch to signal the other divers to join him; the cannons had apparently been successfully located!

An SMB was sent to the surface to indicate a successful outcome to the dive. A few minutes later, Andy Moss and Dave Taylor quickly joined the others on the bottom. Around the three cannon was also other assorted wreck debris. On surfacing however, it soon became evident that the three cannon found by Andy were not the cannon originally found by Mr Taylor!. Were they from the same wreck? Who knows, but ones things for certain, Tyneside 114 will be back to further explore this mystery site.

Scroll to Top