While not included in the area traditionally defined as the Firth of Clyde, the treacherous coast of Galloway, from Corsewall Point in the north to the rocky buttress of the Mull of Galloway in the south, is included in our story because of the number of Clyde bound or based vessels that have been lost on or near its shores. The lighthouse at Corsewall Point often gave ship captains their first landmark and bearing as they entered the Firth or their last sight of Scotland as they sailed south into the Irish Sea. The deep North Channel, which lies to the west of the Galloway peninsula, provides access from the Atlantic to the major ports of Liverpool and Glasgow.
The geographical position of Galloway, to the east of this busy seaway and the prevailing onshore, south west wind, have resulted in the wrecking of dozens of ships on its rocky shores. Galloway itself was the base for a hectic sea traffic between Portpatrick, Stranraer and the ports of Northern Ireland. Some of these local vessels too were to meet with disaster, swept by violent storms to be smashed to pieces among the rocks and inlets of this coastline. Finally, the North Channel provided a happy hunting ground for German U-boats during both wars and many Allied ships, plus some of the submarines themselves, lie in deep water close to the Scottish shoreline.
Diving in Galloway can be difficult due to the exposed nature of the coastline. If the wind is from the west or south and blowing with any strength, diving on the wrecks close inshore is impossible. Even after the wind has abated, visibility can be reduced to virtually zero for days until the sand and silt settles to the seabed. Conditions are further hampered by the strong tidal streams which run parallel to the shore and are a significant hazard to the unwary diver or boatman.
Boat access is limited with best launching facilities in Loch Ryan, although it is possible to launch some boats at Portpatrick, Port Logan and East Tarbet Bay. with the assistance of a 4×4 vehicle. Despite these difficulties, in good weather, the diving can be excellent, with clear water and colourful sealife on the wrecks located offshore.