Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: John Preston - Sound of Mull


The John Preston, a 116 ton wooden schooner with iron bolts, was built in 1855 and registered at Caernarfon. Her dimensions were length 73.3' x 19.5' x 11.7'. The vessel changed ownership on several occasions during coastal trading service along the coast of North Wales. She sailed from Port Dinorwic in North Wales with a crew of five under Captain Jones, bound for Fraserburgh with a cargo of slate. She was riding out a force 10 gale from the south west on 2nd December 1882 when her anchor cable snapped and she was blown up the Sound from Scallastle Bay. She was stranded at Rubha Dearg near Lochaline, leaving only her topmasts visible above water, and became a total loss although her crew were saved. Several salvage attempts were made.


Dive Site Info

Otherwise known as 'The Slate Wreck', this is a very broken up wreck lying on a ledge at 14-18 metres on a scenic wall. The wreck itself has almost entirely disappeared but the remains of her cargo, piles and piles of slates, still remain, giving the John Preston her local nickname.


The John Preston now lies on her port side at an angle of 30 degrees to the horizontal, the turn of the port bilge remaining buried. The wreck itself is well researched by the Sound of Mull Archeological Project and the remains of the wreck have been recorded by them. The salvage of the schooner's cargo left her hull timbers exposed and they are quite deteriorated although one piece of wooden hull still remains in the form of the rider keelson, close to the bilge pump housing. In addition, many pieces of metallic structure including the anchor winch, several hollow iron pipes and some rigging fittings are visible and an anchor is still present at the west end.  Also visible at the east end are identifiable fittings comprising a possible gudgeon strap, a deck light and a small oven. 


The main attraction of this dive is the life on the wall which is very beautiful and varied. 


When to dive

Best dived at slack water. The site is generally sheltered from the worst of the currents but is subject to tidal flows.