|Site 3: Blea tarn|
All Credits to Chay Doleman and BJ Everett - the Webmasters former dive buds
How to get here
As per main page instructions. Only one road running along the reservoir below Blea tarn.
The car parking is limited and being an extremely popular site means coming early in the morning is an essential and very necessary element if you plan to dive Blea tarn.
In the Media Menu click (photo a) to view position of this site. Maximum depth confirmed in 2004 at 60 metres.
Blea tarn is only accessible via Haweswater lake unless you come via Helicopter. Plan for this one to take you two hours before reaching it. This is a hard upward hike. Have lots of rest stops along the way. The physical exertion coupled with high altitude may make you feel ill if you are prone to it - I am !!
Blea tarn is marginally larger than Small tarn. Both with very similar surrounding terrain of steep, high sided mountains and lots of rubble strewn everywhere from erosion. If these dives appeal to you please be sure to read the warnings at the foot of this document!
There is one big discerning feature of Blea. It is not just another tarn - this is the deepest tarn in the lake district. A survey was done on this tarn in 2004 - Depth is confirmed at 60 metres.
The following information has been given by two former dive buddies of myself, (the webmaster). They have probably set a record for being the only divers to reach and successfully achieve a dive in Blea tarn. I must congratulate "Chay" and his buddy "BJ" because this is no small feat.
When asked how they achieved this incredible dive BJ explained the following in an email - Here is there story from BJ:
The Kit composed of dry suit (no woolly bear), hood (no gloves) stab, reg, fins and a 7 litre cylinder. Chay had a 10 litre cylinder and a couple of 10lb weights between us which we left up there, the rest of the weight was made up of rocks in Stab pockets and goodie bags. I think the walk was less than an hour, with a couple of healthy stops on the way up, from the car park at the western end of Haweswater. Following the footpath up to High Street.
Blea tarn is shallow on the eastern bank from which you approach it, so we kitted up and fined on our backs for 20+ mins to the western end under the rock face. Then dived down at this end which slopes steeply away initially, and has a rocky bottom which gradually disappears until it becomes a fine silty bottom, with a stiff crust of about one inch.
So we reached a depth of 35m before turning back, due to the decreasing light levels (probably a big cloud) and limited deep water gear after a bottom time of about 8 mins. The bottom still sloped away to at least 50 metres.
Measuring visibility in the shallows I sent Chay away to see how far it was before he disappeared, it came out to be over 20m.
Hazards to Divers
High altitude leads to little bottom time on this type of dive, added to this the extremely strenuous climb up and then back down. Plus if you have an incident you are in a remote part of the world here without mobile phone use. Need we say any more??
Altitude Dive: Blea tarn is at 1987 feet (530 metres)
From webmaster Paul: I went up by myself to check out both the Small and Blea tarn dive site's and bring back the photos carrying nothing more than my camera - I admit I nearly didn't come back due to exhaustion - then again I did both sites in a day. The challenge is the physical endurance required to climb and walk about two miles up and along a very rocky mountain carrying gear. Twisted or broken ankles are a real threat. Slipping on grass and getting bogged down in some areas have to be overcome. The fact altitude has to be considered, hampered by mobiles that do not work and land phones that are several miles away all add up to make this a serious challenge. If I were to plan a dive at Small or Blea tarn, I would have two teams on VHF. a ground team ready to backup the mountain expedition group that would consist of (per diver) three equipment carriers and someone who knows more than first aid!
To my old dive buds Chay and BJ, you have my total admiration for what you achieved up there.
Diving Blea tarn - its the deepest of all Cumbria's tarns