Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: Lapwing - Kintyre Peninsula


The Lapwing was a 101gt iron paddle steamer, built by John Reid & Co of Glasgow. She was used as a small coastal cargo passenger vessel between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Inverness. The Lapwing was furnished by Winchester & McGibbon of Glasgow. 


Lapwing sank on 22nd February 1859 after a collision with the steamer Islesman off Glenhervie, near Sanda Island. Both vessels had set out from Glasgow the previous day heading for west coast ports, but the weather worsened as they neared Sanda. The captain of the Lapwing decided to turn back, but in doing so turned directly into the path of the Islesman which was following.


The Lapwing was holes just forward of her starboard paddlebox and was so badly damaged that she sank within 3 minutes. Most of the Lapwing's passengers were able to climb aboard the Islesman and were saved, but one woman passenger and the cabin boy were below at the time, and were drowned.

Dive Site Info

The Lapwing lies in a maximum 37m of water on a sandy sea bed. The wreck is oriented NW/SE with the stern to the shore. The central section rises a maximum of 2.5 metres above the seabed, lying in a shallow scour caused by the strone tides running over and around the engine and boiler.


The main section of the wreck is the central section of machinery, including the engine and boiler, and the main paddlewheel hub sticking out parallel to the seabed. The remainder of the wreck has fallen away and been absorbed into the surrounding seabed, but the strong currents and winter storms constantly change the shape and depth of the seabed and parts of the wreck continually disappear and reappear.


Broken bottles and crockery can be found in the sand around the wreck. An anchor is visible lying flat on the seabed. Cables lie on the seabed stretching off into distance. These can be used as a navigation aid for exploring the surrounding seabed.


Visibility is generally excellent on this site. Maerl and flame shells can also be seen in the area, making it a great dive for all. Huge shoals of bib and haddock circle above the wreck. Whelks are abundant on the seabed, and many types of nudibranchs can be seen on the wreckage including crystal seaslugs (Janolus cristatus), Onchidoris bilamellata, and Coryphella sp. Large conger eels hide amongst the various pipes and metal plates.


The wreck is festooned with whelk creels and associated ropes so caution is needed.

When to dive

Slack water only.

Lapwing - Kintyre Peninsula - Fyne Pioneer

© Yo-Han Cha

A striking male dragonet on the seabed near the wreck of the Lapwing

Lapwing - Kintyre Peninsula - Fyne Pioneer

© Yo-Han Cha

The beautiful flame shell molluscs can be seen on the seabed around the wreck of the Lapwing

Lapwing - Kintyre Peninsula - Fyne Pioneer

© Libby Anderson

This back of this plate, lying on the seabed next to the Lapwing, is home to several special of barnacle and a family of Onchidoris bilamellata nudibranchs. The transfer also names Winchester & McGibbon as the providers of the ships furnishings.

Lapwing - Kintyre Peninsula - Fyne Pioneer

A downscan image of the Lapwing wreck taken on a Lowrance Elite-7 Chirp