One of our favourite weekend diving trips has to be to head up to the Scottish Lochs and do some shore diving. As there are a host of shore diving opportunities, you can set your own agenda, it is not too expensive and there is always plenty of marine life. So, for our first UK sea water dives this year, we planned to dive Loch Long and Loch Fyne.
On previous trips, we had passed an intriguing looking holiday park with wooden cabins, situated right on the shores of Loch Long, and so we decided to book in for three nights to see if this would suit groups of divers and our future trips. We headed up the M6 on Friday afternoon, ensuring that we could make it to Fyne Brewery in time to stock up on a mini cask (or two) of their wonderful Jarl for the weekend, and then checked in at Ardgarten Argyll Forest Holidays. We were eager to find out what our accommodation for the weekend was going to be like. We had booked a two-bedroom cabin, with friends joining us for the weekend and we were directed to a cabin overlooking the loch. It was perfect! The cabins have a log fire and underfloor heating for the cooler evenings, kitchen, outside BBQ area and above all, a hot tub with an amazing view! This place was going to be perfect to unwind and warm up after some early season diving. After much deliberation (not really) we decided to spend the the first part of the evening relaxing in the hot tub, with a glass of ale.
The next day we met up with some divers from our local dive centre in Manchester, DiveLife UK. We headed to Loch Fyne for some easy-going shore diving, just off an old, concrete jetty. The water was still only 6-8 degrees and the marine life had yet to really come into its own, but the dive still provided us with some lovely firework anemones, loads of squat lobsters and even some nudibranch eggs and a catshark egg case (a first for us in UK waters).
Back at our cabin, we were keen to see what the local dive, right off the slipway in front of our cabin was like. Clubs could even use this slip to launch RIBs for some boat diving here. A nice easy entry into the water led us out to deeper water and we dropped down and decided to head towards another site, Two Piers, which was nearby. Our route found us taking in small rocks and debris that were covered in orange and white dead mans finger coral. Pipefish hid in seaweed and hermit crabs scuttled away from us as we passed over the silty sea bed. A little later in the season would see loads more marine life here too, and we plan to head back and dive here again later in the summer.
The hot tub was calling, after a day of diving in cold water. With our gear drying off on our decking and the BBQ lit, we gazed out over the loch, glass of champagne in hand, hoping to catch a glimpse of the whales that had been sighted in the loch in the past few days.
The following day we decided to explore this beautiful region. The cabins are set in woodland and there are dedicated trails to follow. We did a mini beach clean before heading to Arrochar, the village where we were married many years ago, for dinner. This was the perfect weekend for us. We could do as much, or as little, diving as we wanted to, with a whole host of great shore dives within reach and the perfect place to unwind with friends at the end of the day.
For more information about our accommodation at Forest Holidays, click here.