You can tell winter is coming.........

Because I am reduced to diving in fresh water, but not your usual 'holes in the ground'.......

It must be a 'Northern Thing' but I begrudge paying some random buffon twenty quid to dive in a hole in the ground and usually a muddy one at that, so I head to Cumbria and the Lake District where there are acres of fresh water lakes to dive gratis!

Today was Ullswater, near Pooley(no)Bridge, free parking, no sucker on a PADI DM course directing traffic, cos that is part of the syllabus at certain holes in the ground  and best of all no one collecting money.

I can't see anyone racing over but if you do the vis was around 5m in depths of up to 10m, as usual with this venue when you are moving over the silt on weed free areas over 4m deep then you will lift a bit of muck into the water even if you are a yard above it and moving steady it is just so soft and gelatinous that you get some dirt moving a yard or so from the bottom.

One of the joys of this 'wild' fresh water diving is that you don't know what you will find and having actually never dived so close to this end of the lake I was quite looking forward to finding some treasure, usually it will be a variety of bottles from yesterday back to 19th century, however today seeing the soft bottom it was pretty obvious that the bottles thrown in by generations of 'picnickers' would be deep in the sludge, but when you're in you're in!

The first pick-up was a pair of swimming goggles, that was in the shallows before dropping over the short weed covered slope to the deeper water. There are quite a few mooring pellets around the lake and as usual I set a bearing out to be among them where you sometimes find bits lost overboard from the Gin-Palaces but before I got there I had a 'WTF' moment!

It was a Stand-up-paddle-boarders paddle, stuck blade up in the silt, with the head maybe two or three inches in, well that was a result and having picked it up and decided how to carry it I moved on....maybe not as easily sellable as scrap lead but certainly the school at Beadnell will swap for kiddies surf board lessons.

I reached the first pellet and after a good look about there was nothing so I headed towards the village and very close by was an upturned rowing boat still tied onto a pellet. There are odd boats like this all over the lake and I reckon that they were lost when Storm Desmond came along and raised the water level to such an extent that the bridge at Pooley(no)Bridge was washed away, the lake rose about fourteen feet, I know as we were stuck in a hotel for an extra night.......my mother in laws comment was why don't the fire brigade pump out the lake........sometimes you wonder, if Darwin had heard such a retort then he would have ripped up his origins works and opened up a barbers shop.

Anyhow, whilst on this digression I think that I may one-day try and raise one of these lost boats for a giggle and this one looks a probable candidate, it is upside down so releasing the pellet and bleeding in air should get it to the surface, now if I go in with a rebreather early and take an hour or two in the summer I reckon that I could have loads of picnickers thinking that nessie was visiting.

Heading slowly back to shore I spotted yet another paddle, I mean result two of them, this one was branded and both were reasonable quality with stainless fixings and carbon fibre fittings so there must have been two pretty racked off paddlers in the summer or alternatively an outward bound school must loose lots of kit. Slightly further in was a lost dive mask, very dirty but a session in bleach and hot water will get it clean enough to recycle to kids this summer at Beadnell.

Thinking back I was quite surprised to see no sign of any fish, usually you will see micro-species such as minnows and stickle-backs in the weeds then eels in deeper water and the odd trout darting about but today not a fish, maybe the onset of colder weather has them out in deeper water, that said there were signs of aquatic activity on the surface so who knows where they were.

So all in all a nice day out, some recoverable stuff and also a longish dive to clean all of the salty residues from my dive kit and demonstrate that the new seals and zipper in my dry-suit work nicely, I will be back at least twice more to wash off salty crap from my standard and hi-pressure twinsets prior to putting them into hibernation for winter 20/21.

Sometimes with the sea conditions in the North East crap you have to dive inland and to be blunt going to a free lake is a damn site preferable to any of the 'organised' quarries, you should try it, although I would urge less experienced people to avoid Hodge Close until they know what they are doing.....

Dive safe


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