Following the opening of Cupar Swimming Pool, the Cupar Club was founded in 1979 by a small group of local divers - 8 from the Dundee branch and 3 from the (long defunct) Glenrothes branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club.
We began diving together as a small club in June 1979, and had our first diving expedition in October based at Benderloch near Oban. We began training new divers in autumn 1979 with an intake of 8 trainees. The following spring we had our second, more adventurous expedition to the then little-dived Summer Isles – staying on the island of Tanera Mhor (pop.12) and using a portable compressor borrowed from the Dundee Club and a small 3-metre inflatable of Frank Toner’s.
We have been a BSAC branch from the outset, and have always used their well recognised training programmes and adhered to their safety standards. The aim of the founding group of divers was to promote safe, adventurous diving and to encourage our diver members to achieve the highest possible level of BSAC internationally recognised diver and instructor qualifications.
In both of these aims we have been remarkably successful. In those 34 years we have trained 17 members to BSAC Club Instructor, 5 to BSAC Advanced Instructor and one, Clare Peddie has achieved the pinnacles of BSAC 1st Class Diver and also BSAC National Instructor. Such is our national standing that Cupar divers now staff BSAC courses, and Clare Peddie was elected National Diving Officer of the whole British Sub-Aqua Club, and is currently, in 2013, the BSAC's Diamond Anniversary, the National Chairman.
We dive all over Scotland – often locally in the Forth estuary, at the Isle of May, the Bass Rock and the wrecks of the Forth as well as up and down the East Coast. We frequently dive in Loch Fyne and Loch Long as well as on the wrecks of the Clyde estuary, and we have longer diving expeditions to the islands – to Mull, Skye, the Small Isles, the Summer Isles, the Outer Hebrides and the St.Kilda archipelago and Orkney as well as land-based expeditions to Cape Wrath, Kylescue etc. We’ve been to the Isles of Scilly, and the Farne Islands.
We’ve also had foreign trips to Malta, Gozo, the Red Sea (where one of our former members operated a dive holiday business for many years), Cyprus, Cuba, the Maldive Islands, Sipadan, the Florida Keys, the Great Barrier Reef and many other fascinating and exotic locations.
From humble and penniless beginnings we have built and developed a wealthy club, largely from our own fund-raising but with good grant aid for the bigger projects – notably the boats. We bought a compressor early on, and have a small portable compressor too, 6 sets of diving equipment (Stab jackets, regulators and air cylinders) for members to hire. We have gradually acquired more and more advanced dive boats and now own (with Lottery help) a 6-metre R.I.B., Kraken, with a powerful 150 HP motor and fully equipped with VHF radio, GPS sat-nav, echo sounder, emergency oxygen and first aid kits. We also have a smaller conventional inflatable, Cutlass, which can be launched where there is no slipway. We have substantial overheads as we pay for the maintainance and servicing of all this club equipment and the boats.
We run BSAC courses every year with the theory teaching in Elmwood College Farm and the pool sessions in Cupar Pool or St Leonard's in St Andrews, both for new divers and for people who just want to sample the sport. We have taught disabled people the delights of the underwater world, and we’re also involved in the SNAPY scheme giving youngsters the experience of using aqualungs in the pool. We’ve even helped out at the Anstruther Lifeboat Gala as safety cover for their raft race.
The Cupar Sub-Aqua Club has for most of it's existence, been a happy mix of people from all walks of life, united with the aim of having enjoyable and safe diving.