|Site 1: Howtown Pier|
How to get here
From Pooley Bridge take the unclassified road to "Howtown" which is 4 miles away. You will see signposts for Howtown - Martindale. Follow this road.and after passing Sharrow Bay Hotel (on your right) watch for a view of the lake on your right followed by what looks like a small road on your right heading into the lake - you've got it Bud!. Launching RiBs can be done from here.
Pull up as best you can where the public boat slip is and please don't block the farmers gate - he can get verbally nasty if you up set him! - not sure how far he would go with his tractor so be careful - tis the wild, wild west up here!! There is a sign stating that No Parking is allowed, ok if this puts you off there is a small aly-by 50 or so metres up from here.
Maximum depth at this site is 23 metres. Pictured in the Header image above you can see the Howtown bottle bank which lies in three metres. It had built up over the past 3 or 4 decades (due to no ash cart). Today it is now rummaged through by divers looking for prize bottles worth £5 to £50. We pay a price for the privilege by way of shredded gloves and sometimes a cut finger.
This is the smallest of the three piers operated by the Ullswater Navigation Company on Ullswater. The other two are at Pooley Bridge and Glenridding. Large numbers of Perch, shoal in the breeding season here, and at Pooley Bridge pier. During night time, Trout come out of the depths to sit on the lakebed just 50 metres out from the shore line. At Howtown this occurs between the boat slip and the pier.
This pier for me, is a favourite with so much going on above and below the waves (photo a & b)
a) Howtown Pier is smallest on Ullswater, where a number of lakebed features prevail and give interest. Finning off to the left from the pier you come across a gouge cut gently into the silt that rises gradually on your right hand side. Follow the gouge around to the right as you turn full circle heading for the exit point (the boat slip).
b) Head straight up the lake for 15 minutes (about 20 / 22 metres depth) then turn right 90 degrees for the shoreline where the B5320 runs. On your return in 3 metres depth you will eventually come upon the Howtown bottle bank - as we call it.
If you feel something is not right, it isn't! The depth we all find ourselves in is 22 metres before we realise there is something odd going on here - the bank on the right side should be coming up by now and it ain't! Surface and get a visual check and you will discover with horror that you are a mile away from the exit point in the middle of the lake, so savor the moment and have a laugh and a joke about it in the pub.
Hazards to Divers
Compass readings. This is where we believe there may be a sunken WWI tank or perhaps experimental "U" boat, (see yr 2001 update on left) but then it may just be nothing. Something quite large lying between the bottle bank (see photo) and the pier is completely throwing off the compass readings with the inevitable gross miss-calculation of where you think you are.
The ferry service runs regularly from this pier. Ferry times are posted on the pier. The service runs normally in the daytime. Thrust from the ferry props obliterates everything with dense clouds of soft silt swept up from the lakebed when the ferry departs, so plan your dive accordingly.
General Note: Due to Health and Safety Insurance issues, the Ferry companies in the lake district are NOT now allowed to give divers permission to dive in the vacininty of any operational Piers.
<< Of Special Interest >>
Is this the final resting place of the "Enterprise"? For nearly 100 years the Ullswater Navigation Company have been unable to find their missing steamer, the "Enterprise". They knew which end of the lake she lay but not exactly where.
From Mr. C. Grammer. Director of the Co.
For many years we've wondered what happened to the original steamer 'Enterprise'. Her history is virtually undocumented, and the last correspondence I can find pertaining to her demise was in the archives of the local paper. The content of the article explained that, 'a man on horseback had galloped to Glenridding to ask 'Lady of the Lake' to go to the assistance of the 'Enterprise'. They(?) had been making hay, and bales had run into the lake and clogged the paddles of 'Enterprise'. The only other information I have is that 'Lady' went down on a line drawn between Howtown Pier, and a boat house opposite, which could be one of four!
The question of 'where is she?'
If you hit the spot, then make a name for yourself and email the webmaster and the Ullswater Nav co. with your name, telephone number etc. Ullswater Nav. Co. website.
Diving Howtown by Freshwaterdiver
V - underwater video courtesy of PaulCarrier123 - V