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UK Inland Diving
Dive Site: Swithland Quarry
Location: Swithland Wood, Leicestershire
Description: Bell-shaped granite quarry
Length: 100 metres (300 feet)
Depth: 50 metres max (165 feet)
Visibility: 5 - 20 metres (15 - 65 feet)
Not one for the feint hearted. You have to arrange access with Bradgate Park Trust and parking next to the gated quarry is limited to 5 cars (no restriction on the number of divers). Access to the water is through a gate and down a very short steep bank to a "beach" area. There is an area of water about 18" deep to walk through then you step off the edge, straight into 50m vertically down.
Due to the overhanging trees it gets very dark very quickly - the first 10m has detritus and leaf litter so below this, treat it as a night dive.
The quarry itself is shaped like a round bottomed, narrow necked flask so you can find yourself in an overhead environment with a roof of tree roots - so not a novice dive at all. There is a large 8m deep shelf on the opposite side to the entry point but you have to swim over the 50m bit to get to it.
We dive it with O2 on site and a decom station set up in the water with the shot tied in to one of the waterside trees. I believe there is a Jaguar car down there at the bottom but most people are that narked they are not sure. Water temperature is cold at any time of the year as there are no currents to mix up the water. Expect 4 degrees below 10m.
Woz, BSAC Dive Leader
A nice quarry to dive in but the viz is a bit poor and this quarry is also mainly for advanced divers only. There is also not very much to look at in the quarry but there is an old jaguar about 45 metres down which is a nice surpise when you get to it.
Mid Herts BS-AC dived Swithland on 22 Sep '08. Our dive team used a main shot line from the tree stumps at the "beach" area to the bottom (45m) as well as nitrox emergency/deco tanks at 20m and 30m and deco trapezes at 9m and 6m. The water temperature at the bottom of the shot line was 7 degrees.
The water is clear about 10m below the surface debris and rightly should be classed as a deep night dive. If there is a "Jaguar" in there, I would personally recommend not trying to find it, as the quarry is too big to explore at that depth, with no reference points. It is also difficult to see how a car would have got in there in the first place, unless it was dropped by a helicopter!!
On ascent, (and if there are divers below you), check out the exhaled bubbles on the rock face in front of you - very spectacular to watch whilst conducting any decompression or safety stops!!
Swithland Wood Quarry is a very unusual and challenging dive, as long as all of the safety precautions mentioned are followed and diving at depths exceeding 45m is planned and conducted safely.
Paul Rosendale, BSAC Advanced Diver
Dived this site about 18 months ago, put a line in going down to 50m with an old lorry disk at the bottom, then when I went to book site again, found that the price had gone up from £40 to £100, as you sign a disclaimer to use the site and need you own insurance. I dont see why it is such a high cost as all you are paying for is the use of the quarry. Nice quarry but robbing costs to dive a hole in the ground. Better off with NDC Dive Centre, sorry.
Grant Sayce, extended range tec diver | 27/06/2009
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