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Dolphin at Trwyn Cilan Headland, North Wales dive site - courtesy of Tony Gilbert
Pipefish at Trwyn Cilan Headland, North Wales dive site - courtesy of Tony Gilbert
Kelp at Trwyn Cilan Headland, North Wales dive site - courtesy of Tony Gilbert

Scuba Diving North Wales, UK, Europe

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: Trwyn Cilan Headland

Location: Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales

Description: Drift dive

Depth: 9 - 15 metres (30 - 50 feet)

Visibility: 10 - 15 metres (30 - 50 feet)

Rating: ****

Trwyn Cilan (pronounced True-in Killan) is one of the main headlands of the western tip of the Lleyn Peninsula of North Wales. Fearsome rip tides sometimes round this corner, but on occasions it provides shelter. Usually if the weather has been unpleasant diving is better conducted to the south east of the head.

Rolling greenery carpets the dark rocks along this coastline, and Trwyn Cilan headland is unmistakeable, with its vertical cliffs jutting out in to the water. Below the cliff extends down to around 7-8m, before sloping gently seawards to form a series of ridges. These extend outwards to a rough depth of 15m and are kelp-topped. Every dive I've done here I think has been over 80 minutes duration. What makes it so special? The ridges are home to a rich variety of small marine creatures, and it does take a bit of looking, into all the nooks and crannies. Many holes contain tompot blennies, with their cheeky little smiles. The odd conger eel can be found, usually right at the base, and many a lobster can be spotted. At certain times of the year numerous spider crabs can be cruising and carousing, and sometimes they are quite funny to watch when scuttling at rapid speed across the sand areas. Various ridges and features such as small spires and holes can contain several different species. On one occasion we spotted a few shrimps 'in bed' with an edible crab and a tompot.

The sand patches sometimes give way to shingle areas, a favourite haunt for dab and dragonets, as it provides ideal camouflage. The colours of the marine vegetation sometimes can astound, and here red weeds mingle with dense patches of orange sponge, called Amphilectus fucorum; it's a strange shape, with occasional holes and many bracts off in ad-hoc directions. As the diver passes along the ridges, one can find dense clumps of Bispera tubeworms which always seem to know a diver is present, especially with camera, as they disappear into their small grey tubes.

As with many places around the Lleyn, inquisitive resident seals are often seen under the water and Trwyn Cilan is one such place where suddenly on the sand you may be face to face with one! No wonder the air can be chewed up so quickly. With depths mainly between 9-12m, this makes for ideal long dives.

Tony Gilbert

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