|Site 1: Lake Side / Lakes Aquarium|
Carefully read the main page where you will note the directions to Lake Side.
Parking is by Lakes Aquarium, which has a large car park but this fills quickly during the summer. Diving will not normally be allowed during the tourist summer season due to large numbers of ferries arriving and departing. Out of season is the only time to plan this dive and also be guaranteed a parking spot at this site.
Windermere is the longest lake at eleven miles in length and a long history of boating, ferrying and barge working. The lake may have miles of unparalleled shoreline but it is nearly all owned by individuals with no access to the lake side, but there are some exceptions as with this site which is available only during the winter season.
With regret, I have to inform divers that the Ferry company on this lake is no longer able to allow divers to dive in the vicinity of their piers. The Insurance company policy has changed.
Please appreciate that the ferry company management have expressed their deepest regrets to all divers. Please stay clear of these piers.
When diving in the daytime, you'll be into ratching around for the odd goody with perch as your companions. For those in search of treasure - lead coated wiring and chunks of lead, all manner of discarded crockery, interesting farmers implements etc, etc, can be found.
This is the shallowest part of this lake at 8 metres, if you head out into the lake. However, there is a lot of 'stuff' on the lakebed near the ferry terminal which has gathered up over the years, so if treasure is what 'ye' seek then treasure may be what 'ye' find. If you are on the nature trail, you won't be disappointed either. Gently lift the odd large rock and you may just see a little friend shoot out - called a Bull Head.
The dive has to begin with a jump entry from the pier, but your exit is either via a stairway leading down to the water, although the gate here may be locked or blocked by a ferry.
The other exit is to your left where the boat piers are. You will find a beach which that affords a safe exit. All that is left to do is walk toward the ferry terminal. Then comes the dodgy bit - you will have to make a swinging manoeuver to get around the fence (half hanging over the lake) and onto the main car park.
2012 update: "the tourist's have been using the above mentioned small gap in the fence to access the small beach with the result that this fence has been made more secure. It may be simpler to kindly request permission to cross their land.
Getting under way for your dive - drop onto the lakebed. You will find she begins with rocks and fine shingle, then the usual silt. A sparse cover of oxygenating plant can be found at this site near the boat piers. This quickly gives way to medium firm silt which does not present any problems. Have a fin around and along the length of the ferry terminal and note the wood cladding and gaps in-between - you never know what might be lurking!
During the day the big pull here are the fish. Loads and loads of Perch, with rare Bull Heads present amongst the rocks.
During the night we are into lots of teeth and ugly gobs ready to take a bite out of your dry suit. Pike! - Well fed big ones lie in wait for Perch, (do we look like perch? - see hazards) so be aware, be graceful in your movements and don't forget to take your underwater camera to snap the action when it happens!
Bonus Drift Dive:
Read the directions above and where the road leads off from the main road down along the river Leven - park up at this junction as best you can. Kit up and make your way down to the bridge and jump in. Drive down the road just to check and discuss where the best place to exit this river drift dive is before going in of-course!
The local clubs perform this river Leven dive as a New Years dive each year.
Hazards to Divers
Ferries won't be a problem because you'll be checking on th eboards for the ferry times!! the ferries still operate in winter).
No SMB = No dive. Every dive leader must carry an SMB.
If night diving, take it easy with these Pike. Some are big and nasty - one of the buds in our group was attacked. He simply went into the Pikes territorial area during our night dive. Flooded mask and lost torch, but nothing more serious than that. He claimed the pike was about 5 to 6 foot long !!
Diving at Lakeside, by Freshwaterdiver
Things to do apart from Scuba diving