In summary: the project seeks to create a self guided dive trail for scuba divers of all levels, around an amazing dive site on the Farne Islands, Northumberland. The dive site is covered with cannon, amazing sea life and possibly as yet undiscovered clues to the origin of the wreck! More information can be found on our club web site, under the Gun Rocks tab: http://www.tynesidebsac.co.uk/gun-rocks-project/
Background to the Project
Back in the late 1960s a group of divers from Tyneside 114 British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) found a number of cannon on a site know as Gun Rocks, situated within a group of islands known as the Farne Islands, just off the coast of Northumberland. The cannon captured the imagination of a number of the divers, and so ensued the 1970s Gun Rocks project. One cannon was raised, artifacts were photographed, experts scratched thier heads, but the origin of the cannon could not be determined.... However it was concluded that the cannon were not from the Spanish Armada!
In 2010 to clebrate the 40th anniversary of the project, further investigations in to the cannon site were undertaken by Tyneside 114 BSAC. But still the origin of the cannon could not be clearly ascertained. In 2013 Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Historic England to survey the site. They worked with volunteer divers from Tyneside 114. The findings indicated that the cannon were from the late 17th or early 18th century. That a Dutch cargo vessle was transporting cannon from Sweden to the Netherlands when it was blown off course and sank, wrecked on Gun Rocks.
Research into the origin of the cannon is ongoing, some of the cannon may be of English origin... was the ship part of an elaborate recycling scheme? The pioneering new technique of Photogrammetry is being used by the divers of Tyneside 114 BSAC to model all the cannon, so that non divers can also join in with the detective work. This work is ongoing.... and will be made available to divers and armchair divers alike when completed.
The Need for Funding
The Gun Rocks site lies between 8 - 12 metres in depth and is diveable on slack and flood tides, so is a very accessible site to dive for all levels of diver. The aim is therefore to make the site even more accessible to divers, to create a dive trail, so that divers can enjoy the site, see the cannon and find the cannon balls which lie there.
The funding we are seeking would enable a team of divers to access the site at the start of the dive season, so that they can clear the kelp from the cannon, and to secure a bouy to the start of the trail.
The funding would also enable maps of the site created and made available for divers to use, so that they can navigate their way around the site.
If enough funding is raised, a leaflet containing historical and ecological information about the site will also be produced.
A provisional map is shown below.