|Dive site 1: The Pinnacles|
How to get here
Easy - follow the description given on the previous Wastwater map page.
Parking may not be easy due to popularity of this site and area (photo a).
This is rated as one of the UK's best freshwater dive sites. She has enormous depth to keep tech divers happy at 76 metres whilst the rest of us can wallow around at 50 metres if only for a few minutes.
The plaques mounted onto the rock face (photo b), known as the Pinnacles bear testimonial to those who have been, seen, and sadly stayed here for eternity. At least if it happens to any of us in here, no one would disagree, that we departed doing what we loved most.
Getting down to the water's edge for divers means a 50 metre walk over soft and often boggy ground together with a relatively steep drop to the Wastwater shoreline which means disabled divers may have difficulty with access to this otherwise superb lake.
This is the deepest part of this lake at 76 metres. It is claimed by my historian friends that three Catalina flying boats were scuttled here during the war years and now lie in 65 metres - somewhere! Perhaps the Technical Divers (Techies) may wish to try for this one?
Update from Webmaster Paul dated 17-02-2005: After extensive diving by Technical divers - I am reliably informed that there are no aircraft of any kind to be found in Wastwater other than a bomber which is well broken up - it is claimed only an engine block remains.
If you are parked at the third car park (mentioned in the Map & Directions section of this sites home page) Set compass on the opposite shore line. You are looking to fin out at an angle of some 30 degrees to the right.
If parked at the second car park a finger of rock juts out into lake - enter the lake from the bay on the left side of this rock. There is a line starting in 6 feet of water that runs out to the Pinnacles. Find this and follow.
The lakebed begins with rocks, fine shingle, then the usual silt. Different oxygenating plants are at this site. This quickly gives way to medium firm silt which does not present any real problems unless you are doing training work in the same area for a little while.
The big pull here is the dramatic and magnificent underwater mountain face that plummets away below you. There is also something here that will leave you in stitches - the gnomes are back! Confiscated by the police a few years ago due to real safety concerns. Sadly this is another freshwater site where several have lost control in the deep, clear, but very cold waters of Wastwater. At 50 metres you are looking at 4 or 5 degrees regardless of season. Memorial plaques mounted on this mountain face are a respectful reminder to us all that it is not just the sea that knows no mercy.
At some point during the outward trip you will come across a power cable and also a telecom cable. Assuming you have found the buoyed rope running about 2 metres off the bottom (please don't pull on it) the Pinnacles will now appear and from here it's a steep, quick descent down the mountain face. Plaques from divers can be read at the tip of the Pinnacles and all the way down from here.
Over the years, especially the past two, additional guide-lines have been attached at the Pinnacles. The one running on the right side of the rock tip heading away and down, this one takes you to the Tiffany Pinnacles and its gnome garden which is dive site 2.
We tend to go down fast and then take it easy on the ascent from 48 metres. The slow ascent affords us time to read the plaques and pay our respects. Some plaques are from dive clubs but most are memorials to those who have past away at this site. Make a gradual ascent to take in the plaques dotted around and meet the aquatic residents!
When you reach the top of the mountain face you may wish to follow the depth contour eastward along the submerged mountain to explore before heading back in if your air and bottom time are doing well.
Hazards to Divers
If doing a deep dive in freshwater for the first time just bear in mind that it is much colder than almost any sea and with a much greater chance of a freeze up. It is 4 degrees in summer at 50 metres - that's freezing and you'll feel it bite as you descend past 30.
Buoyancy is another big challenge if you plan a deepie here - Marine boy only divers must remember to reduce that ballast!!
The Press are always interested in the 'Killer' Gnomes:-
Local divers are well aware of the dangers in Wastwater, however, visiting divers from around the world and from within the United Kingdom must appreciate the following:- Wastwater has a low surface area in relation to it's great depth. The chart above gives readings for ULLSWATER and CRUMMOCK water only.
Those two lakes are persay - somewhat average in relation to surface area and depth. Why is this an important factor?? the popular Hodge Close Quarry has the same problem as Wastwater.
Surface water heats up and warms lakes like Ullswater, Coniston, Windermere, Buttermere, but Wastwater, like Hodge Close, has such a small area that it cannot effectively warm Wastwater up to the same degree as other lakes and tarns.
Next comes clarity, Ullswater as local buds will appreciate, has high concentrations of algae and suspended matter which all warms up rapidly in summer, Ullswater like coniston and Windermere become warm quickly (relatively speaking). Wastwater is crystal clear with no particles that can warm up in the sun light so this keeps Wastwater much cooler in summer.
Next comes the freshwater supply running into Wastwater, quite simply look at the photos of Wastwater's mountains and you'll see that freezing waters are running into Wastwater.
So, what is Wastwater saying now?? I'm deep, I'm worse than Baltic - I'm Artic, and I'm going to give you a bad dose of Auntie free flow if you underestimate me. Look at the chart above and find the coldest point to see just how cold Ullswater becomes in winter. In Wastwater it is always winter.
Be careful, have fun, and perhaps visiting divers should consider using cold water diving procedures all year round for this one?. Of course no one has lost it in Wastwater recently which is a credit to all those diving her. Keep up the good work in this respect and be happy in the knowledge that you are the best.
For the record both Kath and I have had old auntie free flow in this lake despite the best teflon coated etc gear. When you reach the Pinnacles you will see that Wastwater demands a great deal of respect from all swimmers and divers.
Wastwater, the Pinnacles by Freshwaterdiver.
Wastwater: The Pinnacles: Video credits to:- icicledivers.co.uk
The Pinnacles: Bubble rings. Video credits to:- MrFlyingFrog