Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: Cuirassier - Clyde


The Cuirassier was a 54nt steel steamship built by Richardson Duck & Co Ltd of Cleveland and launched in 1860. Her dimensions were 95.4’ x 19.6’ x 7.8’. She was owned and managed in Glasgow by Duncan Gardner.


The small rear engined coastal steamer was purchased a few years previously from an English owner and put to working the west coast routes carrying mainly small general cargoes.


On Sunday 15 July 1894, while outward bound from Glasgow to Bonawe with machinery and horse bedding, the Cuirassier ran ashore near Little Cumbrae lighthouse. The seabed around this part of the island drops steeply and, as the tide rose, she slipped from her precarious position and sank. Contemporary reports indicated that she had gone down in 12 fathoms (approx. 22m).

Dive Site Info

The wreck of the Cuirassier lies approximately 250 metres north of the lighthouse on a steep shingle and rock slope. She lies significantly deeper than the 12 fathoms suggested by contemporary reports, in 30-38m from bow to stern.


The wreck is well broken with the only recognisable part being aft from boiler to stern.


The wreck is best located by following an underwater 50mm diameter power cable which is just visible among the rocks above the high water mark. This cable, which twists and turns as it descend the steep slope, eventually runs right through the bow section of the wreckage.


On reaching 32m the bow post and winch should be visible.


Visibility on this wreck can at times be very good, and the wreck provides a good site for those divers undertaking their first deep dive.


Tides along this section are noticeable at spring tides but do not run much above 1 knot.

When to dive

Can be dived at any state of the tide.