The following presents new data collected as part of a recent Historic Scotland funded project – the Scapa Flow 2013 Marine Archaeology Survey – which aimed to assess the extent and condition of some of the sites around Scapa Flow.
Built in 1872 by Gilbert & Cooper, Hull, the SS Argyle was a British iron steamship that was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1914. The vessel was scuttled in Skerry Sound on the 17th September 1914.
Previous surveys completed by Undermarine Operations in 1972 appear to confuse the remains of the Argyle with those of the AC-6 Barge. The position of the vessel they record as the Argyle overlies the position of what is now known to be the AC-6 Barge, and additionally, the surveys did not record the remains of the boiler, engine or propeller – all of which are still in situ. Indeed, the top of the boiler is visible above the water at low tide.
Though broken up, the site is easily accessible from the shore at the south end of Barrier 2 and makes an interesting dive.
Lying on a sand and rock bottom in 2m – 4m of water, the broken up remains of the Argyle are oriented north to south with the bow to the south. Most of the wreckage is completely submerged, with the exception of the top of a Scotch boiler which protrudes about 60cm out of the water at low tide. There is a four-bladed cast iron propeller, and a hold winch with associated chain to the stern. Moving forward along the propeller shaft, the remains of the engine and engine wheel are in-situ. Debris in the forward sections (to the south of the boiler) is more scattered, comprising a few sections of iron hull plating, some ribs and a pair of bitts. Historic document indicate that the bow of the Argyle broke up soon after she was sunk.
Side Scan Data
The site could not be assessed by side scan surveys are the remains are too shallow.