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I have been asked to compile some info about a few dive sites for another website here is some info I though some of you may be interested in if you have never dived here and have the urge.

Don't be put off it is an excellent place!!!!


Hodge Close Information


Getting There

Take the A593 (Ambleside to Coniston) and just under two miles north of Coniston is a narrow road on the right ( this creeps up on you so take it slowly!!). This is sign posted to “Hodge Close”.

Follow this for about two miles. This gets very narrow at points and there is often loose livestock.

Follow it until the road opens into a LARGE car park. Hodge Close quarry is on your right. There is no access to the quarry at this point unless BASE jumping into water is your cup of tea!

Carry on through the car park and the road starts to go downhill, A few hundred yards further and you will see some cottages on your right hand side.

From these cottages you will see a fence with a gate on your left leading to a rough track which bends round and takes you to a tunnel entrance.

General Access/ Parking info

There is a £5.00 charge per vehicle payable to the farmer at the cottage on the right….If he is not around then please remember to pay your money to him either by trying again on the way out or leaving it by the front door. The guy is very useful in the event of an incident or if you lose kit and someone finds it- He kept a set of fins safe for me for about 12 months before I could come and pick them up!

So you are now in a car park with a small stream and what looks like a mine tunnel.
Best thing to do is to put your drysuit on here and now because on closer inspection you are going to find that the tunnel if full of water. During a dry weather period it is maybe .75m deep and maybe 1-1.2m deep on a wet period.

Walk through with your gear, if you are diving a single and a BCD then no worries if you are looking at CCR with bailout or twins and a stage then it is best to make a few trips.

At the end of the tunnel there is a scaffolding ladder. This is the point that if you are not too confident with ladders then you want to be looking at taking a rope to lower your kit down.

A small track then leads to the “beach” where you can base yourself and your gear. If you have someone on surface cover then they will either need to have some wetsuit shoes and shorts to get through the tunnel or a drysuit or waders.

Further Advice

Due to “freeze - thaw” action this site is not recommended in sub 0 temps or after a period of time with sub 0 temps.

This dive is classed as an altitude dive by BSAC however I have never had a computer recognise it as one, draw your own conclusions from this.

By the description above I am sure that you can see the enterance to this site is not beyond the realms of possibility for most divers however the issue comes if something goes wrong.

There is NO mobile phone signal so your best option is to get to the farm to call for help and if the farmer is not there then the cottages further up near the main road or drive to find some signal.

The only realistic way out of here will be a prolonged Mountain/Cave Rescue Operation that goes for a diving accident or a broken limb.

Response times for the above teams are good in this area however a diver can breath down a small O2 cylinder rapidly usually around 15mins so it is seriously worth considering taking extra O2 or high % Nitrox mixes just in case. Also of course a fairly comprehensive first aid kit.

If you are intending to explore the overhead environment areas, it is worth having someone in surface support with diving kit available just in case.

The method of calling Mountain Rescue is as follows

CALL 999
ASK FOR POLICE
ASK THEM FOR MOUNTAIN RESCUE
GIVE THE NATURE AND LOCATION OF THE INCIDENT – E.G HODGE CLOSE QUARRY NEAR CONISTON
FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS HOWEVER YOU WILL USUALLY HAVE TO STAY IN PHONE RECEPTION SO THE MOUNTAIN RESCUE CONTROLER CAN CALL YOU BACK FOR FURTHER INFO

The Site

The quarry is about 27m deep however 30m has been known to be obtained, the far left hand side of the main quarry at 20m has the mine tunnel access there are 3 chambers linked by 1 main passage, there is a permanent line layed here and it is usually in good condition however, if in doubt lay your own, the vis does decrease if you kick about but if you are careful you should have a clear dive.

People have died in these tunnels due to being ill equipped and or experienced so if you fall into the above category please do not go into the overhead environment.

Visibility is often exceptional here and it is a classic site that deserves a visit, don’t be put off by the access it is well worth the trouble.

Another Little Gem!!

To the left of the beach you will see another tunnel if u head into here on foot you will see a drop off into a pool of water, this will be crystal clear. If you have the overhead environment gear then you can dive here also it is a mine passage that goes for maybe 200m down to about 10-15m on the bottom and exits else ware in the quarry. You can then jump into the main quarry and surface swim back to the beach. It is a great little circuit.

Final Overview

Hodge Close is a brilliant site with lots to explore and give your normal Saturday or Sunday dive an “expeditionary feel”. Just remember to take the extra O2 and other kit.
It is also well worth there being more than one of you for your own safety and leaving a “callout contact” with a time for them to contact emergency services if you do not call them. This is a good last ditch effort if someone gets injured or has a diving related issue.

Hope this is of help to some people :)
 

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Rather be Narked than *issed
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I have dived the 4mtr tunnel on the right of the quarry a few times in the early 90's
 
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