Wreck Diving at the Farne Islands


There are 28 islands in total so we are bound to have a few wrecks around the islands and some have yet to be discovered too.

Most of the wrecks today have rotted away as they were wooden, so it tends to be wreckage nowadays. This does not mean that you will not enjoy the variety of wreckage the Farnes has to offer. Some areas don’t just have one wreck but three or four and this can only mean lots of boilers, props and engines lying on the seabed creating the prefect reef for all the wildlife and the perfect dive site for all.


This is also good news for novices, as some of the dive sites are shallow enough for them to enjoy as well as the more experienced divers.


We also have wrecks in deeper waters and the most famous one has to be the Somali. She was a 6810 tonne passenger-cargo steamer bound for Hong Kong when she was bombed and now lies in 29 meters of water just of Beadnell.

Dive Sites around the Farne Islands


The Farne Islands comprises of beautiful cliff faces covered in wildlife to the remains of various ship wrecks. The water around the Farnes and the surrounding coastline is among the clearest in the country and offers superb diving for all.

The following is a small initial guide to some of the dive sites around the islands that we offer, remember this is by no means exhaustive just an indication.

  • Blue Caps

    Blue Caps, East End

    “This is a superb scenic dive, in the form of an underwater cliff plummeting down to 25 metres in crystal clear waters, teeming with life. The reef is undercut in places and is almost cave like. Towards the extreme end of the reef system the seabed falls away into Crawford Gut, becoming progressively deeper away from the boulder-strewn base of the reef. Good for shellfish. Ships known to have sunk around Blue Caps are; HOPE – 1809; SISTER – 1832; VAGEN – 1916 and the WRECK OF THE MONKWEARMOUTH, this brig sank in October 1823”


    Blue Caps

    “Almost in the middle of the Blue Caps is a sheltered dive among boulders, kelp and gullies abounding with life. The boulders fall away to over 15 metres. Cod and an assortment of shoaling fish to be seen. Good visibility and the lack of any current make this site ideal for intro/training dives”


    From “Dive the North East Coast” (2002) by P Collings

  • Hopper

    The Hopper

    “This site is dominated by the presence of a seal colony, and encounters with these agile and inquisitive creatures are commonplace. The geography of the site in that of a sheer cliff face down to 30 metres, with boulders beyond down to 40 metres. It must be noted that strong currents exist away from the rock face. Apart from seals there are all the usual marine forms existing on the reef face. The site is renowned for the clarity of the water. At one point in the reef there is a deep fissure 10ft wide running into the island for about 300 metres. Although only 6 metres deep, the gully is fringed with kelp and is full of life”.



    From “Dive the North East Coast” (2002) by P Collings

  • Longstone End

    Longstone Ends

    “On the 16th February 1915 events took place which were to provide divers with one of the best wreck dives off the North East coast. The Danish steamship CHRIS CHRISTENSEN ran aground onto the south eastern end of Longstone, known as Longstone Ends.

    Today, the bow section still sits on the seabed at the bottom of the cliff face. Other parts of the wreck, including a magnificent iron emergency steering wheel, coral festooned girders, boilers, engine block, plates and other fittings lie in depths down to 35 metres. Naturally the wreck attracts a lot of life including conger, the odd wolfish, ling, ballan and wrasse. This slack water dive as very unnerving downward moving water has been experienced by divers attempting to visit the wreck in a tide”.


    From “Dive the North East Coast” (2002) by P Collings

  • Knivestone


    “A site featuring dramatic corridors of rock in depths of down to 25 metres, the substrate being covered in a multitude of living colour; sponge and soft corals blend with Plumstone anemones, many sun stars, crustaceans, urchins and even the odd octopus. Add to this abundant fish life, seals and wreckage from countless wrecks and you have one hell of a dive! Again consideration must be given to the very strong tides which exist either side of slack water. Visibility is usually in the region of 15 metres”.


    From “Dive the North East Coast” (2002) by P Collings

  • Abessinia

    The Abessinia

    “On the 3rd of September 1921 the German steamship ABESSINIA drove onto the Knifestone (one report claims it was a deliberate act) and sank in 18 metres. With her boilers standing proud of the seabed, and evidence of her 453ft spread over a large area, this wreck represents the largest of the Farne Islands wrecks. The bow section including the anchor and chain lie at the bottom of the western side of the reef. More wreckage lies in and around the gullies which crisscross the area. Some of the wreckage may however be from some of the 60 odd ships known to have come to grief. Apart from the encrusting life on the wreckage there are conger, wolfish, pollock wresse and some huge cod. Ideal site for photography, but once again slack water must be used, as the currents around the reef are very strong. By far the best conditions seen to be during neap tides on the low water slack, when visibility exceeding 30 metres can be experienced”.


    From “Dive the North East Coast” (2002) by P Collings

  • Britannia

    The Brittannia

    “A Bristish steamship of 210ft and 740 tons, this cargo/passenger ship struck the south side of the Callers in thick fog on the 25th September 1915. She is now very broken up with her engines half buried in the sand, while her condenser and boiler stand free. Parts of the wreck, i.e. the bows and winch assembly lie in 25-30 metres, away from the reef, while the prop shaft is in 8 – 10 metres. Best dived at slack water”.


    From “Dive the North East Coast” (2002) by P Collings

  • Somali

    The Somali

    “This ship was bombed off Blyth in 1941, she now lies upright in 30 metres of water off Beadnell Point. Most of the 450ft hull is still intact and is visited by many divers each year. The bow section is missing. Although there are rumours of it lying well off the main section of the wreck, it is reported that’s the bow was totally destroyed in the explosion.

    The wreck is now owned by Stan Hall, but that has not prevented some indiscriminate salvaging.

    A 12 pounder anti-aircraft gun lies between two mooring bollards. Her prop shaft rudder transmission tunnel and steering mechanism can be all explored before moving forward. The Aft hold is a jumble pies used for refrigeration, the five large and two small boilers are still there, with her huge engine standing proud of the seabed. The engine is so large it is possible to swim through the crankshaft. Forward pf the main bulkhead the wreck disappears into a jumble of twisted steel. This is the forward hold and contained much of the general cargo, and scattered on the seabed are many small jars containing hand cream, Pyrene hand pump fire extinguishers, and reels of film. It takes several dives to fully appreciate this wreck, even after salvaging. The wreck also attracts some very big Pollock, which give little more than a cursory glance to divers. It is without doubt, one of the most popular wrecks along this coastline, and should continue to yield some souvenirs for some time to come”.


    From “Dive the North East Coast” (2002) by P Collings

    The Somali Blowing Up (1941)

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