|Site 1: Tranearth Quarry|
All credits to Allen and Nicky Leaver who kindly emailed to tell us all about this attractive site.
Members of Eccleston Sub Aqua Club (BSAC 414)
How to get here
Banishead quarry (properly Tranearth) is on the south side of the Old Man of Coniston at grid ref SD278960. Its dead picturesque with the waterfall at one end and quite difficult to get down to without going through the flooded access tunnel a la Hodge Close. The best way to get to the quarry is from Walna Scar Road which runs from the back (west) of Coniston as a metalled road for almost a mile to a gate and car park the walkers use for Coniston Old Man. Carry straight on through the car park and the road becomes a cart track that's passable with care using ordinary cars. (This track may have degraded somewhat since last visited).
Park in the car park area where the sign for "The Old Man" is (photo a). There is a bit of a hike to this quarry, so take your time and your lunch box! You will need plenty of rests on the way, and even more on the way back up-hill to the car park. it takes circa 1 hour there - 1.5 hours plus back and you will feel like the sign says "The Old Man". Our legs are still killing us because there's not much oxygen at this altitude - yeah! right! any excuse :-)
They've improved Walna Scar Road from the back of the car park for about half way to where you need to park. It looks like there's a working quarry up on the right, you pass the turn off, go on for about another quarter of a mile until you come to a flattish area on the right that will park probably 20 cars. You can't go any further in ordinary cars anyway. (Local farmers use this area to turn their vehicles and trailers around - info from the farmers I spoke to).(See Media Photo a)
from Webmaster Paul: A second way up with alternative parking to above, is just outside Torvor village (photo b). Coming from Coniston and driving south after circa 2 miles, you will go over a bridge and you should see immediately after this, a very wide road junction on your right with parking lines on either side of the junction. The one track road heading up only runs up-hill for some 400 yards into a holiday cottage area (which is where you want to be anyway. You are not allowed to park here but you could dump the gear including your WHEEL BARROW (seriously) to assist in hauling the gear up. Having taken the cars back to park up by the road. (10 minute walk between the cottages and main road).
From here, the walk up-hill is invigorating. Don't worry about this one because it does appear to us, to be much shorter. After a 20 minutes up hill climb which is not that bad, the route levels off making life pleasurable again. The walk takes 60 minutes or under which includes the wheel barrows.
Another point worth mentioning - is that the Tranearth Pony Trekking co. are here too. Walk over to their office - they may hire some ponies to haul your gear up? 2 cylinders roped around the pillar valves and slung over the saddle would be really great - I'm serious buds. Lets make life easy for ourselves!
The official name for this quarry is "Tranearth". The area around Tranearth quarry has become, and is maintained by the National Trust.
Maximum depth is 9.5 metres in this quarry.
A flooded tunnel masked by tress, (Photo c) gives access to this quarry for divers. The waterfall inside the quarryy is fed by Torver Beck which passes on the west side of the quarry. Some water runs out through the access tunnel which is flooded to a depth of about 2 feet. The continuously changing water keeps the vis good, giving about 10 metres.
You should be at about grid ref SD280965. Kit up here and walk (100 yards along the main path ahead (south east) until you come to a crossroads affair created by two streams on your right, almost merging on the path. Look to your left where the streams are heading and you will see the slag spoil from the quarry. There are two spoils, the bottom one is your target. Follow the path leading down from the main path you are on - it will disappear from time to time so keep an eye on the quarry spoil and you will be OK. Walk the 600 yds to the quarry . The first thing you see is a fence round the top of the quarry. Go round to the left and find the tree filled gully with the stream that runs out of the quarry tunnel. The trees are a bit of a problem (your not kidding Allen and Nicky - webmaster nearly hung himself :-) ) but it is passable, the biggest problem we found was the moss making the rocks quite slippery. Wade through the tunnel to the debris across the tunnel end. Sit on this whilst you recover from the walk and finish kitting up. There's plenty of room and its quite easy to get in and, more importantly, out again. Apart from the waterfall there's not a great deal to look at, its just a very pleasant dive in clear water. Maximum depth is about 9.5 metres with height above sea water of 295 metres. (webmaster has a different figure for Alt. - no idea which is more accurate?!)
You do need to be fit for this one though. Nothing to do with diving, just getting to and from the quarry. Including the tunnel you will find its about about a half mile walk up a gently slope back to the car. Access for the emergency services is not as bad as Hodge Close but it would still give them a problem so please take care.
Hazards to Divers
There are no hazards with the possible exception of rocks falling in from above as with Hodge Close.
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