The Coln - Scapa flow scuba dive
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Best shipwreck scuba locations in the north UK

As an island with a proud naval heritage, it’s no surprise that the waters around the UK are home to literally thousands of wrecked ships.

But it’s often hard to find much information about shipwrecks in the north UK, when so many ‘best scuba dive’ articles focus on the south coast.

Here we’ve picked five of the best shipwreck scuba locations in the north UK, starting with one of the most northerly locations in the British Isles.

Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands

Scapa Flow has plenty of wrecks, many dating from World War 2. The Coln is a firm favourite, at a depth of about 30 metres and still relatively intact.

From the bow to the lifeboat davits, the Coln’s wreck is teeming with fish, especially around the end of the summer months, and there are two 6-inch guns to be found on the stern.

The Tabarka is another popular dive in Scapa Flow. This one’s not for novice divers, as there are strong currents in the surrounding waters.

Sound of Mull, Scotland

The Sound of Mull sits between the Morven Cape and the Isle of Mull and offers some really excellent dives when conditions are good.

One of the most popular is the Hispania, an almost untouched wreck that again is packed with marine life at certain times of year.

Cold waters mean this area is not to everyone’s tastes, but if you don’t mind getting a little chilly, there are also the wrecks of the Thesis, Rondo and Shuna to explore too.

Farne Islands, Northumberland

Into north-east England, the Farne Islands are found off the Northumberland coast and are known as one of the most dangerous areas in the country for shipping.

The Abyssinia, a German steamship, is one of the biggest wrecks in the area and a pleasant dive at less than 20 metres down.

Pass through the gully at Knivestone and dive to the Abyssinia’s boiler room, and keep a look out for grey seals along the way.

Bridlington Bay, Yorkshire

A pair of ill-fated vessels make a unique diving opportunity in Bridlington Bay, off the coast of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The Malvina passenger and cargo steamer was sunk on August 3rd 1918 by a torpedo from the German submarine UB-104 and now stands upright, but well broken up, on the sea bed.

Just before the sinking of the Malvina, sometime between July 28th and August 3rd 1918, another German sub, the UB-107, suffered an unknown catastrophe with the loss of all crew.

The two wrecks intersect, with the sub sitting partly within the footprint of the Malvina, and this unusual detail, combined with the sinkings occurring around the same time, makes for a compelling dive off the Yorkshire coast.

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

Finally, a special mention for Skomer Island. While Pembrokeshire is not exactly ‘north’ it’s a popular scuba diving destination for visitors from across Wales and northern England.

Diving is permitted in the Skomer Marine Conservation Zone, and one of the best wrecks here is the Lucy, about 30 metres down.

The Dutch vessel hit a rock on February 14th 1967 and sank, coming to rest upright. The ship is still well preserved, and divers can visit the engine room and crew quarters, even getting around the wreck via the stairwells between decks.