Return to Gildenburgh!
Regular blog visitors will know that our usual dive site is Stoney Cove near Leicester, though what you may not know is that the minimum diving age here is 12 years of age. This can present a logistical challenge, as PADI allows students to start and qualify in Junior Open Water at 10 years of age. We've made a couple of expeditions to the North to use Capernwray (where diving minimum age is 10 years old) for training tied into club weekends, but a venue much nearer Northampton would be more practical. We therefore made a return to Gildenburgh Water in September for the first time since reopening after Covid.
Gildenburgh Water, or the Fenland Aqua Park as it is sometimes called, is situated at Whittlesey near Peterborough. The site itself is part natural, part flooded clay pit from the brick industry - this past is still evident from the bricks that remain underwater, strewn around the lake. It has on site cafe and facilities, though some have not been updated for a while. Having never visited before, I made an exploratory visit with one of my Assistant Instructors and his 10 year old recently qualified grandson to check out the underwater attractions. Having successfully navigated with the help of the underwater guide ropes (very useful) I was happy to take Jai James, our next Junior Open Water candidate into the lake!
We were blessed with two days of beautiful weather as well as being treated to some really nice fish in the water - Jai in particular fell in love with a tiny perch we nicknamed "Nemo" who seemed to live under the steps were we entered the water. The visibility wasn't great but with the guide ropes this doesn't present too much of a problem. For Junior Divers the pool table and bus are nice attractions to visit - the pool table is blessed with plenty of crayfish and if you're lucky you'll find a pike hanging out in the bus. The diving passed without a hitch on both days and by the close of day two Jai was a fully qualified Junior Open Water diver.
Well done Jai - Junior Open Water Diver! Thanks to Den Cook for assisting and his grandson Jack for an enjoyable exploratory visit!