CC BY-SA, Photograph by Mike Peel (

Location: Lochalsh
ww1 and ww2, shipwrecks, ships and boats

The Port Napier wreck at Loch na Bieste

The wreck of Port Napier in Loch Na Bieste, is one of the most popular Scottish diving destinations, with most of its hold, its two huge masts and eight guns still clearly visible.

Launched on 23 April 1940 by Port Line of London, Port Napier was almost immediately requisitioned for the Navy for the 1st Minelaying Squadron based at Kyle of Lochalsh, whose deep water dock and remote railhead made it an ideal wartime base. Her career was to be very short. On the night of 27 November 1940, as on-loading 6000 4-inch shells and 550 mines was almost done, disaster struck: a fire had broken aboard and despite valiant efforts, it threatened to blow up the ship, with the whole base and the village behind it.

It was decided to abandon it and tow it away to a sheltered bay, one mile east of Kyleakin where villagers were evacuated as an added precaution. Crowds of onlookers witnessed the huge flash followed by a deep rumble as the ship was torn apart by a massive explosion, pieces of the wreckage blasted high into the air, raining down on the water, shores and hillsides of Skye, before Port Napier sank in a hiss of smoke and steam at Sròn an Tairbh.

The accident was kept a secret until the war was over and it took until 1956 to make the wreck safe by off-loading her deadly cargo.

More information on the area can be found here.