Now I know what you’re thinking…why would you want to go Scuba diving in tropical waters like those that surround Scotland when you can go to the freezing wastes of the arctic and get some real diving done?
Well apart from the incredibly predictable weather and the basking sunshine, you have great transport links to almost all of the best spots, not to mention routes into Scotland by road, rail, air or sea all year round from all over the world.
In all seriousness, Scotland is one of the best kept secrets in diving communities, with the cold temperatures putting many soft skinned tourists off, leaving the stunning scenery (both above and below the water) to the real diving enthusiasts.
Just by way of example, here are 5 of the very best diving spots in Scotland that you just have to visit.
Lochaline (pronounced Lochliny) is one of the best places in the UK to experience wreck diving. It is a small village across the water from the Isle of Mull and has a bit of a Local Hero feel to it and is the closest point to a number of jaw dropping wreck dives for novice and experienced divers alike. The 150 tonne Belfast Steamer Thesis which hit a reef in 1889 is a particular highlight.
Just up the road (water) is a series of small islands with brilliant names like Rum, Eigg, Muck and Sanday that offer equally stunning underwater seascapes. Above the water these islands are stunning, some completely covered in Puffins, while the below water anemones are equally abundant, if a little less mobile. Both Lochaline and Small Isles are served by some excellent dive centres who have first rate equipment and boat hire.
You probably recognise the name Scapa Flow more than any other on this list. Scapa Flow is a body of water in amongst the Orkney Islands and is home to what is left of a huge fleet of German vessels that were scuttled at the end of the First World War. Now there are just 8 left that provide amazing diving opportunities.
St Abbs is just over an hour east of Edinburgh on the North Sea. It is a bit colder than you might expect which is why a dry suit is recommended, but once you get in the water it’s worth the effort: wrecks, a reef, walls and a load of wildlife including sponges, eels, jellyfish, lobsters and even sunfish. Visit nearby Berwick while you’re there…it’s beautiful.
Final Tip: make sure you take a wee nip of whiskey with you for afterwards to warm yourself back up.