Diving club to launch at ‘death’ quarry in Fife

Preston Hill Quarry
Preston Hill Quarry

A new diving training club is to launch at an abandoned quarry which has claimed the lives of two teenagers.

In an attempt to prevent another tragedy at Preston Hill Quarry near Inverkeithing, a pair of ex-forces diving instructors believe their charity project is the answer.

Andrew Murray and Craig Burles will unveil the Forth Diver Training Club at the quarry on Sunday (August 28) as part of the Our Land-Fife event.

“There’s been talk about fencing off the quarry, draining it, filling it in,” said Andrew. “We want to propose a different use for it which demonstrates it isn’t necessarily the death trap people perceive it to be.”

He added: “The quarry is already very well known among divers in the central belt and has been used for donkey’s years successfully and safely as an inland diving facility.”

A multi-agency safety group was formed after John Mackay (18) from Kirkcaldy drowned in June last year.

Burntisland teenager, Cameron Lancaster (18), died in 2014 while ‘tombstoning’ from cliffs into the water.

Attempts to secure the quarry were hampered, however, by failure to contact the quarry’s ‘invisible’ owner, a company which uses the site as collatoral for loans.

It is understood administrators are now prepared to sell it.

Initially the club will launch two six-month diving courses for local young people, the first beginning soon.

“The idea is that through diving training, we can help teach young people leadership, confidence and the ability to develop themselves as well as have a positive influence on the environment,” said Andrew. “We have no funding at the moment but we will get it in due course and intend to make a bid next year.”

The pair hope to gather community support and build the project on-site by degrees.

He continued: “There will be people in the community who object but if there’s a facility being used there, the likelihood of people using it for illicit activities is diminished. We can turn it from an abandoned quarry into something properly maintained, safe and sustainable for the future.

“It’s not a project for the faint-hearted but we’re very determined; we’re not prepared to see the quarry languish for years.”