Dan Burton was known to the international dive community as a true pioneer who, among many other endeavours, explored using technical diving in combination with underwater photography. At least that is what he was up to when we first met in the 1990s.
Sacha Dench was attempting a 3,000-mile journey in a motorised paraglider ahead of November's COP26 UN climate change conference with Dan Burton working in support as her cameraman.
Separated from the northern coast of mainland Scotland by only the six-mile-wide channel of the Pentland Firth, Orkney has some 90 islands, only 18 of which are inhabited. In the southern region of the archipelago is the large area of sheltered water known as Scapa Flow. Scapa Flow was the base chosen by the British Admiralty as the home of the Grand Naval Fleet.
Friday, 21 June 2019. Dawn broke on the longest day of the year in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. In reality, at this latitude, the summer evenings are almost endless as nights do not exactly get as black as pitch this time of the year. As the islands and inhabitants slept, the charcoal smudge of dusk had gradually darkened during the wee small hours. Twilight broke early, with first light at 2:32 a.m.
One hundred years ago this year, on 21 June 1919, 74 warships of the Imperial German Navy High Seas Fleet were scuttled en masse at Scapa Flow, the deep natural harbour set in the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland that was the WWI base for the Royal Navy Grand Fleet. The scuttle was the greatest single act of maritime suicide the world has ever seen.
On 14 August 2012 Lex Warner was about to conduct a technical dive off the Scottish coast. He was diving a rebreather and bailout stages and whilst he was crossing the deck of the dive boat, he stumbled, fell forwards and landed heavily on the deck. He went down on his knees, then onto his hands, before rolling onto his side and finally onto his back. Having been helped back to his feet by the boat’s crew, Lex Warner was reported to have expressed frustration and annoyance at himself for falling.
The entrance to the Firth of Forth, an estuary in southeast Scotland, is guarded by a number of islands, the two largest and most popular for diving being the Isle of May or May Isle, 7km (4.5 miles) from Crail in Fife and the Bass Rock, or The Bass, located 2km (1.2 miles) offshore and 5km (3.1 miles) northeast of North Berwick in East Lothian.