The SAMPHIRE team undertook a shipwreck hunt this Sunday and Monday at Loch Bay at the NW corner of the Isle of Skye. We have been searching for a 19th century wooden shipwreck reported to us by John Beaton of the Dalriada Sub-Aqua Club. Although this wreck has never been charted by hydrographers or archaeologists, its location has been known for some years to a small number of local divers. We were first told of the wreck after our recent talks in Oban, undertaken as part of our community engagement fieldwork. Although John was unable to join us for the diving he did provide a coordinate and we set out to verify this location.
John’s coordinate proved to be spot on and on our first dive we found ourselves surrounded by a wide variety of wreckage. The wreckage is spread over an area of around 30 metres and includes structural components, copper sheathing, hull planking and machinery. Our dive team were able to take measurements, video and photographs and will use these to attempt to identify the wreck. One possible answer is that this is Iris, a Clyde-built merchant vessel lost in the bay in the mid-19th century. Through careful examination of our survey data we should be able to test this theory.