A SCUBA diving club won an award for an amazing expedition to the wild currents of Rathlin Island, off the coast of Northern Ireland.

Bury Sub Aqua Club picked up the Expedition Trophy – awarded annually for promoting the true spirit of adventurous diving – at the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Diving Conference.

The expedition was organised in conjunction with another scuba group based in Atherton, Wigan, who shared the award.

Elaine Barber, from Bury Sub Aqua Club, said: “This is real kudos for both branches and we are chuffed that the National Diving Committee has seen fit to give us this award.

“Alf Draper, as expedition leader, was able to capture and co-ordinate the energy and enthusiasm of the expedition members from both branches to make it all happen.”

Mr Draper said the group was “thrilled” to receive the award.

He added: “It makes all the hard work that everyone contributed to the expedition worth it and is a brilliant accolade for both clubs.”

The group set off from Liverpool by ferry to Belfast before staying in a self-catering dive lodge located in Ballycastle, County Antrim. close to the harbour and providing easy access for loading and unloading the boats.

The type of dives were a mixture of reefs and shipwrecks, one of which was a heavy cruiser that had been torpedoed in 1917. The marine life in the waters was extremely varied and Mr Draper said the best sighting was of a basking shark. as the expedition travelled to one of the dive sites one morning, with group members able to get very close to the creature.

He added: “We also got the chance to visit some of the local interests such as Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Cushendun, Port Stewart and Port Rush, as well as having time to get to see Belfast and visit the Titanic Exhibition on our return journey.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to spend time in a beautiful place and meeting some really wonderful and friendly people, further reinforced a lasting connection between two fine North West BSAC branches.”