Go as far north as north can and you will end up in Shetland, the last outpost of the UK and more than 100miles north of the Scottish mainland. Here you can cross 60° North on the South mainland and still have several hours drive still to go before you go reach the top. These islands are at once beautiful, raw, beguiling, exposed, isolated but most of all, there for the exploration.

A week is Shetland can be many things but the memory you will take away is of the rich variety of untouched sights in clear water that are teeming with life. Most of the wrecks are concentrated in the southern approach to Lerwick harbour. Further North sees the wreck of the E49, a submarine mined just outside Balta Sound. The west coast holds a wealth of scenic diving while the north just holds the crown for being at the end of the world.


The allure of the Shetland dive sites embraces a community of both familiar and weird and unusual marine life. epitomised by the spectacle of a common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) effortlessly manoeuvring through the E49 wreck…

On March 12, 1917, the E-49 cast off its moorings and set a course from Shetland, back to Scapa Flow. While navigating the waters between the islands of Balta and Huney, the morning tranquility was shattered by the detonation of a mine laid by the German submarine UC-76. The E-49 was observed briefly listing before vanishing beneath the waves, claiming the lives of its young crew of 27. Were it not for Shetlanders witnessing the tragedy, the fate of the E-49 might have remained a mystery.

In recognition of its status as a war grave, the vessel was accorded solemn respect. With the exception of a salvage diver’s visit in 1923, the E-49 lay undisturbed until 1987 when local divers rediscovered the wreck, now partially filled with sand.  The conning tower has separated from the hull, resting on the starboard side.

Type of Vessel: E-class fleet submarine

Depth: 32m

Sinking: Hit a mine



While under tow from being torpedoed, the Glenelg struck the steamship Glenisla. The wreck now sits upright with her boilers and engine exposed.

Type of Vessel: Collier
Depth: 31-45m
Sinking: Collision 1917


The Gwladmena is a classic British dive elevated by the clear Shetland waters to stand as a jewel in the UK divers wreck list. The wreck sits upright in 38m on a sandy seabed and although slightly salvaged, still retains her characteristic identity.

Type of Vessel: Steamship
Depth: 34-38m
Sinking: Collision 1918


The Lunokhods was a Latvian klondyker that dragged her anchor in a storm eventually being washed ashore below the Bressay lighthouse.

Type of Vessel: Factory ship
Depth: 3-42m
Sinking: Dragged anchor



A British submarine that struck a mine and sank with all hands.

Type of Vessel: Submarine
Depth: 32m
Sinking: Struck Mine 1917

There is just something special about Shetland. Despite being remote, the islands are still accessible from the mainland. Islands that are defined by a complex geology, round every corner there is something new to explore.