Scuba Dive the Churchill Barriers in Orkney

Churchill Barriers Diving in Orkney

To many people, diving in Orkney is focused on the wrecks found within the Scapa flow, accessed predominantly by boat.

For me, during all of my Scapa trips, I like to get my first dive at the Barriers. Its a great place to take trainee divers as its relatively easy access, although saying that, on a recent trip I had an experienced diver fall head over heels with a twinset on, thankfully he was ok, albeit a bit bruised.

Its about a forty minute drive from Stromness where most of the diving is based, past the Italian Chapel, and then a layby on the bend in the road, just before the third barrier.

The dive is great, there are four distinct wrecks that you can explore in one dive. I tend to do a short circuit which is straight out from the shore, parallel to the barrier, keeping it to your left. The first wreck you come to is the remains of the Gartmore. This was a single screw steamer. The remains that you find within five minutes of entering the water are her propeller, prop-shaft and crankshaft.

Continuing on the same course you can come to the Empire Seamen, a 1921ton steamer, a German vessel seized by the Royal Navy in the Bay of Biscay as she tried to ram a RN blockade. She breaks the surface in three places. She is a great wreck to play around and with some great swim-throughs.

To complete the trio of wrecks here, head back to the opposite shore but following a NW bearing alongside the Empire Seamen to come to the final wreck known as the Martis. This is a 2483 ton, single screw steamer which again in places breaks the surface of the water. There are some large open spaces and overhanging swimthroughs.

Once completed, swim back to shore on a NNE bearing to the shore.

If you want to learn to scuba dive let me know, and I will happily help train you and help you achieve your goals. Book your diver training on 07534 387152 or use the forms below;

Published by Diving & Mountaineering Instructor

I am a passionate adventurer, loving being in the mountains walking, climbing, scrambling as much as I love being under the water exploring shipwrecks, mines and caverns, or in search of treasure in the depths. I am a Mountain Instructor (MIA), a Winter Mountain Leader, a Scuba Diving Instructor (BSAC, TDI, SDI, IANTD), a skipper for CAT3 waters up to 25mtr and as I’ve built this experience over time, I have written about it and published those works. In addition I am a Chartered Manager with CILT, a member of the institute of Engineering & Technology, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. I help people fulfill their goals in the Mountains (Worldwide), Scuba Diving (Worldwide), provide location support worldwide for the media and assist with technical and safety support whenever requested. For a full picture of me please check out my linkedin profile -

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