Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: Beagle - Clyde


The Beagle was an iron steamship built by Tod & McGregor of Partick and launched on 21st July 1864 to the orders of Messrs G & J Burns of Glasgow. The ship was a small cargo passenger steamer (31 metres long, 10 metres in beam), working mainly between the ports of Belfast and Glasgow, offering a return trip with a first class cabin for 30 shillings.


She was inward bound for Glasgow on 8th November 1865 when she was involved in a collision with the steamer Napoli off Skate Point, Great Cumbrae and sank shortly afterwards. The Napoli struck the Beagle on her port side, 12 feet aft of her forecastle, slicing through the hull and decking to the foredeck hatch. The large open forehold quickly filled with water as the vessels separated. The entire crew, some of whom had been rudely awakened by the collision, were rescued by a passing tug, the Pearl, which had been inshore of the Beagle when the collision occurred. Only nine minutes after the collision took place, the Beagle sank. The Napoli sustained damage to her stern and bow platinf and returned to Greenock under her own steam. She was towed to Glasgow the following day for repairs.

Dive Site Info

The Beagle lies in a depth of 34 - 38 metres, dropping away to 40 metres at the stern, oriented 170/350 degrees. She lies upright on an even keel on a sand/silt seabed. The deck rises almost 5 metres from the seabed at its maximum height, with nothing standing above deck level. 


The superstructure has largely collapsed although the hull shape is still clear, allowing the wreck to retain a ship-like feel; a large gash from the collision is easily visible. Much of the cross-decking and support structure has also disintegrated, collapsing into the bow from above. The high points are the solid post at the bow and the emergency steering position at the stern.  


The forehold area in particular is very silty, but other parts of the wreck are covered in orange and white plumose anemones. Astern of the boiler stack lies the engine room and, as the aft bulkhead has crumbled, it is possible to pass into the stern section unhindered. The stern, similar to the forehold, contains piles of debris and lurking conger eels. Other things to look out for include the anchor and steam winch on the bow, the emergency steering post, the propeller, and the rudder which can all still be seen.


In good visibility, dropping onto the seabed can provide interesting views of the wreck, particularly the bow and the very stern with rudder, propeller and overhanding stern covered in soft coral and anemones.


Items recovered and reported to the Receiver of Wreck include a bronze or brass signal cannon, two cast-iron sides of carriage, portholes (one with deadlight), pottery, and cutlery.

When to dive

The Beagle can be dived at any time.