For those who don't know much about it.
Stoney Cove, Leicestershire - probably the most dived site in the UK is some 145 miles from East Grinstead, and well worth the trip.
Stoney has several layers at varying depths (6m, 20m & 35m). There are a number of entry/exit points. A slipway you can stride/roll-in, The recently re furbished bus stop, or anywhere along the waters edge.
With 100,000 divers visiting the site each year, the platform must have been the most used dive point in the UK, if not the world. I've been here in the past at the weekend when its been very busy with 6-8 divers doing final buddy checks and others exiting at the same time.
It can obviously be very crowded but there is plenty of room, and once you are away from the 6m area where the novices are fin pivoting and hovering it is very good. The visibility can be excellent but like any inland lake it is affected by an alga bloom during the summer.
There are plenty of things to see and explore, they have recently added another sunken tug (oct 2009) and they are about to add an other. More information can be found by following this link
The facilities are reasonable with a snack bar, toilets and showers, and a bar. There is also a shop that has recently been re furbished at vast expense, but I don't expect many of you will go in there :-) We now have our own tea urn which means that a ready supply of teas and coffees are always available
Stoney really is an excellent dive site. There are a lot of different dives to do and you can get some reasonable depth. It is also excellent site to brush up on your navigation as you are given a map with compass bearings for most of the attractions
We originally started going to Stoney so that students could complete the Advanced Open Water as it is one of the few places where we can get the depth required. The trip became so popular that we opened it up to club members, and it has proved to be extremely successful - we regularly take 24+ people and as a result we are one of the biggest schools there.
As a result there are always a wide range of activities taking place, from Advanced Open Water, Deep, Wreck and Buoyancy specialties, as well as club members exploring the lake, and getting some valuable experience.
There are two optional plans and itineries for the weekend and it is up to the individual to decide. The first is to travel up on Friday evening and spend Friday and Saturday at the hotel; or come up on Saturday morning and have one night at the hotel. If you come up on Saturday morning you will need to plan to be there by 8.00am otherwise you may not get in !!
If you are coming along as a club diver how many dives you do, and what time you finish is really up to you. The courses usually finish around 3.30pm which means we get back to the hotel for around 4-30 to 5.00pm. A few drinks, quick shower and a group dinner at around 7.30pm. On Sunday we can have a bit of a lie in, as most courses have only 2 dives on the second day. Please confirm this when you book a course. At the end of the course there is always paperwork to complete which (obviously) we do in the bar! We plan to get away mid afternoon. Club members are obviously free to plan their own activities and timings but please remember that you need to be there by 8.00 am on Saturday to have any chance of getting in.
The hotel is about 5minutes drive away and is pretty good. It is called the Mill on the Soar. It is a basic motel type place but is very comfortable and clean. It has a bar and restaurant with food at a reasonable price. If any of you have ever eaten at a Hungry Horse Restaurant you will know what to expect!!! There is plenty of choice, and large portions, but it will never win a Michelin star. More information can be found by following this link. The room price is exclusive of breakfast but it is served between 8.00am and 10.00am so it may be a bit too late for us. The cost of the breakfast is £4.95. A continental breakfast is available and that is taken to your room the night before. Alternatively you can get a bacon roll at Stoney though there are usually long queues. The cost of the room is £44.95 but that is for two people - not per person. Entrance fee to Stoney is £15 per day.
Kit will obviously provided to students as part of the standard cost. Club members wishing to rent kit from us can do so subject to availability. The cost of hire for the day is £15 and £8 per tank.
In addition we now also offer a guided service for people not used to diving without a divemaster or guide. This is available at £20 per person per day regardless of the number of dives undertaken
A few pictures of the site