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Mark Milburn’s Cornish Wreck Ramblings, Part 11: The Burnside



Mark Milburn’s Cornish Wreck Ramblings are back! This week: The mystery of the Burnside…

Locally the name “Burnside”, has caused arguments in families and cost some people 1000’s of hours and pound notes. So what is “Burnside”?

The Burnside was a wooden steamship, designed by Theodore E. Ferris – USSB design #1001, a 82m long, coal-fired, triple expansion engined ship of 3,500 tons. At some time just after the great war, the Burnside was heading to the UK.

The story from there is a little muddled. It was possibly carrying coal or empty brass shell cases, no one knows for sure. It caught fire, somewhere near Falmouth and was abandoned, turning over and expelling its cargo. As the ship turned over, it also extinguished the fire. A day or so later, it was seen still floating upside down, stuck somewhere in Gerrans Bay.

That location is unknown but most likely on the shallow Inner Bizzies pinnacles, which are only a few metres below the water at low tide, although a little way offshore. It was being held fast by either its masts or funnel. The Navy were called in to get rid of it and it took them two weeks! Why did it take so long? What exactly happened?

The ship is well known locally amongst salvagers and wreck hunters. Many have looked in vain, hoping to get a ‘hit’ from the engines and boilers with a magnetometer. No one has found it, or any remains. Several stories have come to light… Some say it is on the Manacles; there is a lone triple expansion engine there, the wood rotted away whilst the boilers disappeared. There is a lone boiler off Porthoustock, are they related? Near Nare Point there is another lone boiler, thought to have ended up there after some violent explosion, some believe it is from the Burnside. If it is, where is the other boiler and the engine if the boiler was from the Burnside?

A local newspaper of the time reported that the bow of the Burnside washed up on a local beach during the time the Navy were there. This was probably after an attempt to blow the ship to pieces to sink it. Another newspaper report stated that it was then towed further out to sea and shot at by the Airforce as well as the Navy, to help break it up and sink it. This would reduce the ships’ timbers into smaller fragments until the weight of the boilers and engine caused it to sink. This may well explain why no one has ever found the Burnside; it may now rest in deep waters, the wood rotted or eaten away, leaving very little left for anyone to find.

For now, the whereabouts of the Burnside shall remain a mystery. Just another mystery from around the Cornish coast.

Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba at

Mark Milburn is the owner of Atlantic Scuba in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, and is an SDI/TDI/NAS/RYA Instructor and a Commercial Boat Skipper. Although often referred to as a maritime archaeologist, he prefers to call himself a wreck hunter. Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba by visiting


WIN a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!!!



For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!

This torch delivers 1200 lumens of light powered by an ion rechargeable battery. There are 4 levels of brightness with burn times between 2-20 hours. Battery charge level is indicated via coloured lights around the on/off button. The beam angle is 10°. The anodised aluminium alloy housing sealed by double ‘O’ rings with a max operating depth of 100m. SRP £125.00 which includes torch, charging cradle and battery.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on (which you can read here), we reported via the Marine Conservation Society that the UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act is the first legislation of its kind in nearly how many years?

Is it:

  • A) 60
  • B) 50
  • C) 40

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch November 2020

  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to When prizes are supplied by third parties, is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 06/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

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Gear News

Northern Diver Christmas Sale starts TODAY!



This year Northern Diver’s Christmas offers are starting on Black Friday and running until midnight on New Year’s Eve! 

There are some great deals to be had across the site – – from discounted Drysuits and Coltri compressors to 15% off their entire Lighting Section!

And if you can’t find the perfect present for the diver in your life, they have a choice of Gift Cards on offer. They are even giving you £25 extra when you purchase a £100 voucher!

The offers don’t stop there – there is FREE shipping on all orders over £100 and even a FREE gift with every online purchase.

Every purchase will get you entered into a great prize draw to win one of their new Electracore 3.0mm Rechargeable Heated Vests!

And should you find that you need to return any of your purchases, Northern Diver understand that Christmas may be a little different for everyone this year and you may not get to see every one over Christmas, so they have extended their Returns Period to the end of January 2021. (Valid for purchases made from Black Friday to end of December 2020).

Some unmissable offers to look out for are the Varilux Zoom, part of the Varilux Black & Gold Range, with its variable beam width; and Northern Diver’s 4mm compressed Neoprene Drysuit, the Voyager, which is on offer for an incredible £475!

For more information visit the Northern Diver website by clicking here.

Photo credit: Joe Duffy

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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