Diving and Snorkelling Guide to Scotland by Lawson Wood
Diving and Snorkelling Guide to Scotland by Lawson Wood

Scotland is in good company now that it has been included in the Pisces Diving and Snorkelling Guides series, which includes exotic destinations such as Fiji, Guam, Yap and Truk Lagoon. These small, concise books are advertised as guides to the worlds best dive sites, and concentrate on the most popular and well-known locations. Only 30 are described in this book, although the Sound of Mull on Scotlands west coast has that many excellent sites on its own.
Scotland is not exactly your exotic destination, but what it lacks in warm water and sunshine it more than makes up for in fantastic scenery and extremely varied and exciting diving. Author Lawson Wood makes that point well. He must have had a difficult job deciding which sites to leave out, because he has been diving and taking pictures in Scottish waters for many years, and his knowledge and experience certainly shows. Each site has details of depth, visibility, required skill level, currents, bottom terrain, marine life usually encountered and whether the site is diveable by shore or boat, and is accompanied by an excellent underwater image.
For all the information provided, however, I feel it would have helped readers had there been a map showing other great sites, as there was in the Pisces guide to Bonaire.
But included are Weasel Loch on the east coast; the wreck of the Hispania in the Sound of Mull; St Kildas Sgarbstac in the Outer Hebrides, Brei Ness in the Shetlands and the Brumer wreck up at Scapa Flow.
Not surprisingly Scapa Flow is well-covered, though I am surprised at the attention given to the wreck of the Royal Oak, considering that it is officially a war grave and off-limits to divers. Why tease the reader
As with many guides a wealth of useful information is supplied in the appendix, including dive centres and services, but unfortunately this is not always accurate, and often incomplete. For example, the Skye Diving Centre at Harlosh, which offers only air as a service, gets a mention, yet the islands Hebridean Diving Services near Dunvegan, which has offered a full range of services since 1986, is omitted.
Large dive centres such as Splash Sports in Glasgow, and popular charter boats such as the Porpoise near Oban are also sadly missing. Better research is needed.
This guide makes a nice overview of diving in Scotland and is good value for money at 7.99, but if you are considering doing a lot of diving in Scotland you will need to buy additional guides offering a more extensive range of dive sites.
Gavin Anderson

Diving and Snorkelling Guide to Scotland by Lawson Wood, Pisces Books. Softback£7.99