Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: Kinlochbervie Wreck - Cape Wrath


This is the wreck of a medium to large sized armed merchant ship. The ship had strong Mediterranean origins and probably originated in the Iberian or Mediterranean basin. A date around the first quarter of the 17th century is tentatively suggested for this wreck. The wreck is believed to have come to a final rest in the cove after striking one of the many offshore skerries.


This wreck was discovered in May 1997 by members of RAF Lossiemouth Sub-Aqua Club.

Dive Site Info

The wreck lies in an exposed cove 4 miles SW of Kinlochbervie. The upper part of the site comprises a rocky outcrop at about 4m depth which steps down into a gully at a depth of about 14m. The cliff is sheer down to 25m at which point the seabed becomes a boulder slope which plays host to lots of fish including cuckoo wrasse. Life on the overhangs includes green and orange bryozoans and masses of orange anemones and sponges. The main concentration of remains comprises two distinct groups of artefacts within an area measuring about 22 x 8m at the foot of an underwater cliff and at a depth of between 25-30m. Mobile sand has accumulated in places, while less mobile deposits of gravel and other materials are found in the deeper gullies. The flat sandy seabed (a moderate to low energy environment) is found at a depth of 34m.


Fieldwork carried out in 2002 identified a sounding lead, anchors and a gun in the shallows confirms that at least one portion of the ship reached this area. Four iron anchors were recorded. The size, position and pairing of the anchors suggest an identification as two pairs of bower and sheet anchors. The three cannon, lying in a sand and gravel depression, include examples of saker and minion types, the remains of carriages surviving in three cases. No reliable date can be inferred, but these pieces would be consistent with the armament expected of a merchant vessel of medium to large size. A ship armed exclusively with cast-iron guns would usually be considered to post-date the Armada, falling within the first quarter of the 17th century or later. 


Fragments of ceramics were found in the wreck, including Majolica ware and Iberian coarseware. The Majolica ware was presumably carried as cargo or in passenger baggage, rather than for use on board. The pottery finds display a random scatter, with little evidence of movement since sinking. This may suggest that the impact took place in shallow water on the rocks, the contents of the vessel being then dispersed over the cliff. The main deposit of the pottery assemblage is scattered over bedrock, in rock crevices and in gaps between the boulders. The brick and tile finds were closely spaced, and so probably represent the galley rather than the remains of ballast. 


A metal disc and a piece of lead sheet were also found.

When to dive

Diveable at all states of the tide.