|Site 5: Stybarrow Crag|
How to get here
At this site you have the B592 road running next to the lake just 1 mile south of Glenridding. A large car park has been cut out from the mountain side (see above picture) and a small beach of shingle opposite gives easy access to the lake (far right in above picture).
Having parked in the large lay-by cut into the rock face (photo d) and walk across to the wall to check out the site.
Strictly speaking this is not an altitude dive but from experience please be sure your dive is planned as an altitude dive. Your computer will not show it as such so be careful.
This is also the deepest dive site in Ullswater. The two dives described here are the most exciting dives to be enjoyed in Ullswater. During the daytime at 40 metres or so, Trout (photo a) and Perch (photo b) can be seen resting. Sticklebacks are also found lying on the lakebed, eels too. Divers from across the UK come here, but local buds lke Red Fox members seen here (photo a) rule the waves. Anglers come for the big fish, and it is a favourite picnic spot with a large grassy area to stretch out on in the summer unless you are a masochist and enjoy lying on the snow in winter.
Non diving family and friends will enjoy this site. A large grassy and popular area to relax on. A long pebble beach and superb views that professional photographers use in calendars and other publications.
Have your binoculars ready, because deer and other wild animals make an appearance on the crests of the mountains opposite. Watch the walkers and hikers struggle across that same mountain range. You could take an easy stroll along the paths on your side of the lake. What could be a more idyllic setting?
Choice a) Set your compass for the far shore. A sometimes slippy grass path leads down almost to the shoreline, a low wall separates the shore and grass area, so you will have a few feet to jump down before reaching the shore. On your right is a stone built walkway (cemented over with elongated rocks embedded into the cement to make life difficult) running parallel with the lake and ends at a tree. It is from this parallel stretch and beyond which, at circa 150 metres out into the lake sees the lakebed disappear at 33 metres depth - following this down will offer a magnificent view of the rock face plummeting to 43+ metres.
There are several ways of reaching the drop-off here you can walk along the stone walkway on the right and make a jump entry by the tree and head straight out for the far shore. You will descend over a ledge to 30 / 33 metres and then go over the edge of the rock face and enjoy this scene at whatever depth you wish to go to. Or you can take the longer route by navigating away from the walkway by circa 45 / 55 degrees and take a gradual descent on the lakebed passing the fish as you go. Past the circa 30 metre mark, sweep back (your right side) to the shoreline and you should come up against the rock face. On occasion we fail to find the face. The dive plan does not allow you much time down there so plan carefully. Remember that this is an Altitude dive to 50 metres+ if you decide to go for it. Bear in mind it will be torches at full power past 10 metres! Take at least one big backup torch. If that wall fails to appear, do not pursue it - surface.
Choice b) A much less demanding and pleasing dive. Look for the small stream running into the lake on your left (north). From here enter and descend to 10 / 15 metres, no need to head straight out to this depth just take a gradual angled descent to the left, heading north. At 10 /15 metres follow this depth around until you reach the next bay after some 15 to 20 minutes. On the way round, you should have come up against and found yourself navigating a vertical rock face (either just below or you found yourself working around it).
As you come into the next bay (bed becomes silt and flattened out) where you will find fishing tackle caught in the tree branches and loose rocks. Return at 10 metres or slightly less taking you over the rocky areas and back to your entry point. If you are short of air there is a small, steep and difficult path up the hill, in the bay you reached. Or you can both simply surface fin back, picking up the fishing tackle as you go.
Hazards to Divers
Submerged trees: As you stand on the shore line made of shingle, on your right side is a Stone walk way running parallel to the road above and which leads to a tree. Along this stretch underwater, are submerged large trees at circa ten metres and downwards to 20 metres.
The Rock face in dive (a) has on occasion, proven difficult to find - just keeps getting deeper so "if in doubt, surface and out" dive (a) is also known by local divers as "falling rocks" on account that a steep rubble strewn submerged bank tends to slide down from time to time.
A diver disappeared at this site in 1998. His body continued to be undiscovered until August 2002 - recovery took place on August 31st. R.I.P. Cliff
Diving at Falling Rocks by Freshwaterdiver