Alternative Names: None
Type of dive: Charleston pier is an easy shore dive around the pier on Loch Gairloch
Suggested Experience: Any
Travel Directions - From Inverness take the A9 towards Dingwall, and then pick up the A835 towards Ullapool. At Garve turn onto the A832 and follow this all the way to Gairloch. Shortly after passing the town sign and cemetery there will be a turning on the left for the harbour/pier and wildlife cruises. Google
Parking directions: Park in the parking bays at the pier.Google
Lat & Long: 57.710052, -5.683675 Postcode IV21 2BQ Google
Tides: Tide tables
Entry: Walk down the wide steps at the side of the pier and enter the water here.
Underwater directions: This is a busy harbour and it is important that you are aware of where you are all the time. Large fishing boats use this pier so you must stay under the pier itself. It is up to you how you explore but I adopted a zigzag pattern down to the end of the pier, then the same back again but higher up at around 5/6m. This was so that I could look at all the plumose anemones growing higher up on the pillars and the dahlia and elegant anemones that were growing on some of the structures that were hanging down mid water. On the bottom were heaps of mussels and feasting on these were dozens of spiny and common sea stars. There were crabs of various sorts’ shore/velvet/edible/long legged scorpion/scorpion/hermit and squat lobsters. Also decorating the pillars were dozens of tiny white sea squirts with cup corals dotted here and there. Various other sea squirts where growing on the bits of debris that littered the seabed. Long spined scorpion fish lay confidently camouflaged. Humpback prawns were everywhere but hard to distinguish amongst the debris. There were also large shoals of juvenile fish swimming up and down and around.
Air & Nitrox: Atlantic Diving Services Ullapool Tel 01854622261 IV26 2YN
Hazards: As mentioned above, this is a busy harbour both for tourists and large fishing boats, so it may be best to choose a time to dive when it is fairly quiet. I would suggest either very early or early evening, but it may be that early or late in the year it is quieter as well. I have only visited in the summer. An SMB may be useful but there is a lot of debris around and it may become snagged and could be more of a hazard than a help. There is a lot of large debris under the pier so reasonable buoyancy is necessary and any hanging down bits of kit that could get snagged need to be tucked away securely.
Nearest Public phone: Next to the pier
Mobile Network service: Contact me
Accommodation: Contact me
Other comments: There are also toilets 50yrds from the pier
Pub: None close to here.
Cafe: The Harbour centre
Created By: Jane Wilkinson
Date: July 2012
Links: Gareloch marine life
Surface Photos: By Jane Wilkinson
Underwater photos: Contact me
Dive map: Contact me
Dive Report: Comment in the box below.