23rd February 2013
by Richard Booth
Attempts to book a charter boat were met with hoots of laughter and derision. The recent weather had yet again taken its toll on local sea diving. In desperation and with an increasing need to wet the gills, a plan was hatched to dive Cawfields Quarry in Northumberland.
Saturday morning dawned and the curtains were pulled back to reveal the car covered in a thick coating of snow. Setting off it was soon clear that the weather had also caught out the council gritters by surprise judging by the state of some of the roads! Still we pushed on.
Surprisingly however once past Newcastle the roads suddenly cleared of snow and the weather seemed to improve the further inland we headed.
Arriving at Cawfields we were met with spring sunshine. Things were looking up as Kevin ran through the dive brief.
We kitted up and headed for the water. Here again we were in luck as the visibility looked surprisingly good as we strode out into the water.
The water proved very chilly as we descended into the depths of the quarry taking care not to stir up the silty bottom. Moving around the quarry we came across all sorts of intriguing debris including the disintegrated remains of an old van, a flood road sign, plus some strange concrete blocks with raised glove hands attached!
We also came across a memorial plaque pinned to a submarine cliff to honour former member of Hexham BSAC, Lesley Clark, who died in a tragic accident at St Marys Island in 2006.
Moving on, we passed over strange grey and orange sponge like objects spread out over the quarry bottom. Were they man-made or strange fresh water sponges? We would clearly need to consult some of our Seasearch colleagues for further advice.
After 35 minutes and with the chilly water starting to really bite we headed back up through the weed to the exit point for our dive.
Once de-kitted we headed off to the Twice Brewed pub, to enjoy a post dive drink, a hot sandwich and restore some heat to our frozen bodies by sitting close to the roaring fire.
All to soon it was time to head back to Newcastle and its snow strewn streets. Here Andy managed to get his car stuck, but that’s another story….
Thanks to Kev Thompson for organising the dive.