Lothian Divers has been awarded the BSAC Expeditions Trophy for 2021, in recognition of the members’ week-long, self-sufficient trip to the Knoydart Peninsula and Loch Nevis.
Using their own RIBs and compressors, the expedition – led by Keith Adams – succeeded in exploring parts of the Knoydart area in West Scotland, renowned as the most isolated place in mainland Britain. No roads connect it with the rest of the country, so the only access is by sea, or a long hike through forest tracks.
Keith and fellow member Janet Khan were presented with the trophy by BSAC's Expeditions Officer Andy Hunt, who congratulated the Edinburgh-based club for showcasing the potential for independent, adventurous diving in the UK, operating within the Covid regulations of the time. Andy said:
This expedition had all the hallmarks of a well-executed club expedition: adventure, great diving, self-sufficiency, cost effectiveness, and endurance to see it through all the challenges that were encountered along the way, which I’m sure will be dined out on for many years to come. More branches should consider going to the effort and making use of their branch assets or working with others to share assets and follow their lead.
Entries were judged by Andy Hunt and Expeditions Trophy Advisor Max Ruffert, with SCUBA Editor Simon Rogerson. The trophy is awarded annually and presented to the team with the most significant exploratory diving venture. Entries can focus on the UK or overseas, and are awarded to an expedition that promotes the true spirit of adventurous diving. The trophy itself is takes the form of a ceremonial barograph.
Max Ruffert said the Lothian Divers expedition was shortlisted after they submitted a report directly to the judges. He explained:
The true spirit of adventurous diving combines managing a group of like-minded people to do interesting diving while overcoming organisational challenges and a measure of inclusiveness. As such, this spirit should include being self-reliant, going to out-of-the-way places, skippering your own boat and just having to be self-organised in the face of adversities such as inclement weather. The pandemic was an added challenge which I wanted to be acknowledged.
Lothian Divers were the eventual winners chosen from a shortlist of 18 compiled by Max and debated between the three judges. In the end, there was universal acclaim for the winner.
Simon Rogerson said:
It seems strangely appropriate that in a time of isolating, Lothian Divers chose to explore one of the most isolated spots in the United Kingdom. Working within Covid guidelines, the team used a wealth of information from previous visits to pull off a triumph of dive management. We are inviting the club to write about the expedition in greater detail, so that we may all learn from their experience of this little-known corner of Scotland.