Friday, 1 April 2016

Lake District Submarine Tours

Today sees the start of a brand new and hugely exciting Cumbrian attraction – submarine tours of the lakes.  Research undertaken during the recent extensions of the National Park boundaries revealed that the huge caverns which exist under the Yorkshire Dales actually extend out and under the lakes and fells of Cumbria.  It’s thought these caves have existed since the last ice age but were previously undetected having been filled with stones and gravel.  The floods from Storm Desmond flushed through the cave network, opening it up for the first time in many thousands of years.

The first submarine will set off just before lunchtime today.  The HMS Guzundamountins, which has been refitted locally, will leave from the Lakeside Pier at the south of Windermere at 11:59.  The new venture is providing a welcome boost for the town and offers the opportunity for Trident submarines to be put to good use when the navy don’t need them for a while.

The cruise will head north along the lake before turning left passing under the Grizedale forest and emerging into Coniston Water.  (See map)  The submarine will surface for a tour along the lake and make a short stop for boarding at the boating centre, it will then resubmerge at the head of the lake, surface briefly in Esthwaite and dive again to reappear and drop people off in Bowness.

From Bowness it will continue north towards Ambleside.  As it nears Low Wood Bay it will go down for its longest dive to pass through a very deep underground system of tunnels that extend the whole way to Ullswater and emerge from the rocks beneath Place Fell.  From there it’s a just a short ride to Pooley Bridge at the north end of the lake.

It’s anticipated that the new attraction will prove quite a draw for tourists and an essential boost for the county.  Windermere Lake Cruises are spearheading the venture and working in close partnership with Yeah Low Submarines.  Their CEO, Ms Ayprul Fewell says, “It was surprisingly easy to get permission to do this – I mean who doesn’t want to see a Trident Submarine cruising along Windermere?”

Other Lake District campaigning organisations  were equally laid back commenting “We don’t see how this is a problem – it’s underwater most of the time anyway – we’ve just asked them to ensure that all their weapons systems are disarmed as we’d hate to lose any of the steamers to an over excited toddler pressing the wrong button.”

A spokesperson for Windermere Lake Cruises says “The new attraction is not recommended for those with claustrophobia or strong feelings about nuclear defence vessels.  We hope people will enjoy this new opportunity to explore the lakes, though we should remind people that there aren’t many windows on a submarine.”

Those wishing to book a submarine cruise, or a more traditional lake cruise, can do so by visiting the Windermere Lake Cruises website where you will also find some spectacular photos of the trial runs.  (Trust me, you REALLY want to click that link!)

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