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  1. #1
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    HMY Iolaire, Stornoway

    Guys

    Just back from a visit to see my in-laws on the Western Isles and after four years of thinking about it I finally manage to take some kit and dive on the wreck of HMY Iolaire.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMY_Iolaire

    For those that have not heard of her, she accounts for the biggest loss of life in the UK out with war time after the Titanic and yet, very few know about her. She was lost on New Years Day 1919 on route home from Kyle of Lochalsh and perished in a storm only a few metres from shore in site of Stornaway harbour with the loss of 205 poor souls who had just survived the Great War. This loss nearly wiped out a generation of men folk on the islands and for this reason, was not talked about until recent times when the 100 year anniversary was being planned which Prince Charles attended.

    The wreck was heavily salvaged many years ago (which again is kept quiet!) so is now more of a debris field than wreck site but she still deserves a visit due to the historical events surrounding her loss

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnXlupR6vnE

    Video above shot by Chris Murray previously but gives you an idea of what can be seen. Main events are large boiler and cut prop shaft along with remains of ribs and plates. I also managed to find the remains of the bow section jammed into a narrow gully but again, anchors, chains, guns etc all taken by salvors. Chris had the benefit of boat cover and no doubt an echofinder to locate the boiler where-as I had to swim from shore and follow my nose. This is maybe why the bow is not on his footage as it would be hard to find if starting at the boiler (the wreck obviously broke up on the rocks against the shore before sinking)

    Very atmospheric dive on huge piece of local history

    Cheers
    Gar

  2. #2
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    The book "When I Heard the Bell: The Loss of the Iolaire" is worth a read. Very moving.

  3. #3
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    "The Darkest Dawn: The Story of the Iolaire" is the latest book to cover this story and was written and released just prior to the centenary. Fantastic pictures and overview from all aspects, including the failed rescue attempts and amazing story of Donald Morrison who survived clung to the top of the mast! The hero of course is John F MacLeod who managed to swim to shore with a rope which almost all the 79 survivors used to get to safety.
    Last edited by Garspeed; 07-01-2022 at 10:08 AM.

  4. #4
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    The Beasts of Holm, basically the seaward pinnacle the Iolaire was wrecked on, is an excellent scenic dive. It is a bit deeper (20 ish) so not covered in kelp, very scenic with a swim through, walls, loads of life and another boiler. The locals I was diving will were not too keen to dive the Iolaire saying it was excessively weedy - this was August. Pictures at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1198...3149340713456/

    I have tried to persuade Sarah Chan https://www.facebook.com/groups/2850...937/?ref=share, who has bought Valkyrie and intends to run on the West Coast, that she should do trips to the Western Isles.

  5. #5
    Bananas! Chimp's Avatar
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    I dived the Beasts and Iolaire about 10 years ago from a rib, but we were told not to mention it around the islands as the locals would take a dim view.
    I found it quite atmospheric, especially knowing the history.

    We also did the Politician on that trip down at Eriskay.

    Love the WI
    Believe it or not, bananas do contain a small quantity of Musa Sapientum bananadine, which is a mild, short-lasting psychedelic

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chimp View Post
    I dived the Beasts and Iolaire about 10 years ago from a rib, but we were told not to mention it around the islands as the locals would take a dim view.
    I found it quite atmospheric, especially knowing the history.

    We also did the Politician on that trip down at Eriskay.

    Love the WI
    I can understand the locals sentiment - to them it is a grave and most likely one of family relatives.


 

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