The real story of NORFED started back in 1955, when leaders of the Huddersfield Branch suggested that there might be a closer affiliation between Club Branches in the North West-North East and Yorkshire BSAC Branches, apart from the joint expeditions that were taking place. One good point would be that the “Northern Branches” might hold an annual dinner which could be organised for the benefit of those Northern Branch members who now find it difficult as well as impractical and expensive to keep going to London.
So, on dull overcast day 45 divers from Northern branches got together and met at Devils Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale for the largest “Underwater Meet” free-diving meeting ever held in the North of England. In the Devil’s Pool, the visibility was surprisingly very good, and they swam up river over fresh water ells and through shoals of trout to the base of the rapids. Some of the branches represented were; Merseyside-Blackpool-Leeds-Sunderland-Huddersfield were all in the party.
Whitson in the North
More than 65 members from 8 Northern Branch clubs met at Trearddur Bay Anglesey for a joint meet. Most of the organisation was done by Vernon Peake secretary of East Lancs Branch. Alan Broadhurst Chief Diving Officer was present.
Branches Present were:
Blackpool-Bradford-East Lancs-Harrogate-Huddersfield-Merseyside and North Staffs.
(Reported in Triton Magazine July-August)
(Chairman (Alan Broadhurst)
Northern plans! Branches present:
Bradford-Halifax-Huddersfield-Harrogate-Mexborough-Darwen-Sheffield-York-Hull and Teesside.
Apologies from: Blackpool & Fylde-East Lancs-Grimsby and Merseyside.
These were the chief items on the agenda when delegates from 10 Branches in the North of England met in Bradford for the second annual meeting of the Northern Region of Branches. Alan Broadhurst Club Diving Officer Chaired the meeting.
Delegates unanimously agreed to continue the joint diving projects initiated on Anglesey in 1957 and will be called “Windive” and it was decided to be more ambitious this year starting with an Easter dive and another “Windive” but this time on the East Coast and with a third in the Autumn in the Lake District and to be combined with a Northern Region dinner/dance.
Other subjects discussed were Foreign Holidays, air supplies, transport and inter club co-operation. To heap paperwork and committee work to a wieldy minimum organisation of the Regions activities is now in the hands of two liaison officers, Herbert Fendley, Chairman of Hull Branch and Richard Wharldall of Teesside Branches. They have both done valuable work to keep the Regions thriving and their expenses to be defrayed by an annual subscription of £1.00 from each Member Branch.
(Reported in Triton Magazine May-June edition)
NORFED was officially founded in 1958.
With the first meeting at Trearddur Bay Anglesey Easter 1958. It is a federation of sport divers and diving clubs (not necessarily all branch of the BSAC) in the area covered by the Northern, North West, North East -Yorkshire & Humberside Port Council Regions which are the BSAC Coaching Regions for the areas.
“NORFED will represent the interests of its members and liaise and negotiate on their behalf, locally and nationally with such bodies as Local and Water Authorities, the Sports Council, Landowners and the National Trust and BSAC Headquarters.
Secondly to promote diving activities outside the scope of normal branch diving whilst encouraging good and safe diving practice. This includes activities such as advanced diving, underwater photography and archaeological and marine biology diving.
Finally, NORFED can encourage inter-branch activity bringing divers into a wider social sphere throughout the area by such activities as inter-branch dives, conferences, water sports and dances.”
Muldive was the planned Whitson meeting of the Northern Federation of Branches, was held at Port Mulgrave and Runswick Bay. About 50 members and their families and friends were there.
Branches represented were:
Bradford-Darwen-Grimsby-Halifax-Harrogate-Mexborough-Sheffield-Teesside and York.
Headquarters were established in the Runswick Bay Hotel by Richard Wharldall, one of the Norther Branch liaison officers who planned the meeting. Many members camped on the cricket field behind the H/Q (some pitching their tents in gale force eight to nine) but those who preferred a over their heads spread themselves from Hinder-well to Whitby. This dispersal made it extremely difficult to organise dives, the final details of which had to be decided shortly beforehand in view of changing conditions.
On Sunday, a snorkel party went down the cliffs North of Runswick Bay to Cobble Dump, led by Gerald Farnsworth and included two hardies, “skin” men of York. They found visibility poor and only 14 feet depth some 400 yards out. Entry and exit were made more difficult by the number of boulders. In view of this, it was decided to try and obtain boats for a later dive but none of the Runswick cobbles was in service, so a large party set off by car for an organised dive off Kettle Ness. Again, visibility was poor, and a current was running. After the dive when lungs had been humped up the 250-foot cliff, there was much support for the suggestion to appoint a club mountaineering instructor.
Monday saw 24 divers and supporters embark at Whitby in the cobbles Whitby Lass and Sea Harvester. Under the direction of Alan Broadhurst Club Diving Officer and Richard Wharldall, dives were made to a 30-foot bottom of black rock which was well populated with Sea urchins. Even a local fisherman was at last prevailed upon to sample the roe and they came back for more. In the afternoon at Whitby open air baths the club demonstrated snorkelling and the use of aqualungs.
Tuesday most folk had left, but Sheffield and Mexborough joined forces to repeat Monday’s successful dive off Upgang, this time in much deeper water with better visibility of eight -to-ten feet. One diving party negotiated tunnels in the rock bottom.
Messrs. Andrews & Dalton laid on an expensive display of sub-aqua equipment of all types. Members were able to inspect recent additions to the vast range of equipment and books now available.
Harry Durkin of the Runswick Bay Hotel provided the camp site and was most co-operative in all ways. He became a proud father during the meet, which led to the unusual sight of members working hard on both sides of the bar while Harry performed upon it.
Air cylinders oversaw by, Don McKinlay and Ray Ayres. These were stored at the hotel where it was happily possible to both fill and empty a “bottle” at the same time.
Alan Broadhurst, the Club Diving Officer,
Jamboree in the Far North.
Wild and Woolly Northerners are holding a king-sized jamboree over the weekend of 4th – 5th October 1958. Richard Wharldall and Northern Branches Liaison Officer has issued a general invitation to the Club “Windive”. He says it will be the Social and Dive climax to the Northern year (B.S.-A.C. Northern Divers, “NORFED”. The first time this tittle mentioned.
1st Annual Convention and Dinner Dance also sports to be held at the Hydro and Hill of Oaks, Bowness-on-Windermere. Tickets £1.1s Dress for dinner and dance informal).
The programme includes a dinner, dancing, diving, conference, film show, sub-aqua sports and a mystery event, about which everybody is being very cagy. Alan Broadbent has promised to find a Guest of Honour of “some repute” for the Dinner. Although this is a “Northern Federation” NORFED stunt we do not wish to appear insular about it. The meet is open to anyone in the BSAC and we will be only too pleased to welcome members from the Midlands and the South of England both as individuals or BSAC Branches to join us.
“WINDIVE” This was the inaugurated Watersports event held.
Windermere Hydro Hotel
The Hill of Oaks
Saturday 4th- Sunday 5th October
Watersports “Lake Windermere”
Barracuda Trophy Sheffield Branch
The weekend was the high spot of this year’s activities. Being held on the shores of the Lake Windermere, the gathering of branch members for meeting, dinner / dance, diving and sub-aqua sports under the code name “Windive” marking a further progressive step in NORFED Northern Branches Clubs activities.
Windive officially opened after lunch on Saturday the 4th, with a meeting of delegates from the sixteen branches of the Northern Region. Among matters discussed were plans for 1959, aims and objects of the Region, the inevitable problems of finances and the election of a progress group to advance the plans of the Region.
Alan V Broadhurst, Chairman; Richard B. Wharldall, secretary / treasurer: Jack Wallace, diving officer; John Lawton, log officer; and Douglas Balaam, public relations officer.
It was agreed that activities for 1959 should include joint Easter and Whitson diving meetings, and an Autumn dinner / dance on the lines Windive. Further activities to be investigated were a February baths gala and a Mediterranean holiday. Also agreed was a per capita levy on all members of the branches in the region to provide funds for the aim of a permanent fully equipped diving base in the North with accommodation, compressor and boat.
Interested onlookers at the meeting (fortunately not entirely silent!) were the Club Chairman, George Brookes and Vice-President, Oscar Gugen. They heard the delegates present declare their solidarity of support for the Region, and their determination to further its progress within the framework of the Club.
Meanwhile in another room of the hotel, Douglas Balaam was showing a selection from his diving films to a large, appreciative, and as far as his Palinuro film was concerned. Goggle-eyed audience.
At 6-30, freshly bathed, shaved, powdered and perfumed some 130 members, their ladies and guests went into dinner.
Sunday morning dawned damp and dull – for some we suspect it never dawned at all until lunchtime. Despite the teeming rain, Jack Wallace and his band of diving marshals, including Peter Gill and Geoff Caldwell, soon had the compressor pumping away out of the wet and the diving parties teeing off from the small island 50 yards from the Hill of Oaks diving base. Here the water is dark but clear and goes down almost sheer to 130 feet. Visibility was poorer than usual owing to the inflow of fresh rain water, but most diving parties were quite happy to go to 50 feet and some ventured farther, to 80 and 100 feet. Meanwhile Douglas Balaam and his helpers were putting some novice divers through their paces in the 30 feet depth. Safety boat cover was most efficiently organised by Dick White.
One dive had the distinction of being led by George Brookes as dive leader. It was reliably reported that for a youngster he did quite well!
After lunch came the sub-aqua sports, planned and organised by Bob and Dora Newett, Phil Baker and Vera Whitehead.
Prizegiving was an exciting affair – largely due to the generosity of the prize donors and the fact that they were presented by Mrs. George Brookes-but also the ultimate winners of both branch and individual awards were still being frantically worked out on a point gained basis until the actual moment of presentation, Dora Newett indeed reported to have swallowed a pencil, but it turned out to be indigestion.
Individual prize winner was T. Doran of the newly formed Furness Branch. He received a new non-zip Typhoon suit, generously donated by E. T. Skinner and Co. Top Branch was Sheffield who won a Neptune depth gauge and compass donated by J. G. Fenn. Among other prize donors who so magnificently supported Windive in this way were; C. E. Heinke & Co, Lillywhites, Siebe Gorman, Dunlop Rubber Co, Club Mediterranee, Peter F. Hobson, Andrews and Dalton, Underwater Sports, Cogswell & Harrison and Richard Wharldall.
Closing Windive, Alan V. Broadhurst thanked all those who had worked so hard to make it a success, the members who had joined so wholeheartedly into the spirit of the occasion, and the guests, some of whom had travelled long distances to be present. The Northern Region was in being, it was working and thriving, it would go on to bigger and better things.
(Recordings made during the diving and sports on Sunday by Alan Dixon were broadcast in the B.B.C. series “Thrills for a Living” on October 21st, 1958)
Chairman (Alan Broadhurst)
Windermere Hydro Hotel
The Hill of Oaks
Saturday 4th- Sunday 5th October
Watersports “Lake Windermere”
Barracuda Trophy Furness Branch
Chairman (Alan Broadhurst)
This was the first 1st National Fin-swimming Championships
Fin-swimming A Lister Huddersfield Branch
Barracuda Trophy Huddersfield Branch
Chairman (Douglas Balaam)
The salvage of the Ullswater Steamship.
The Dolly in Ullswater:
Reported by Gerry Jackson. 1st Class Diver Furnace Branch, B.S.A.C. Chairman of the NORFED Salvage Committee.
The wreck was discovered accidentally in Ullswater early in 1961 by Bradford Branch during a diving expedition. After several exploratory dives on the vessel, it became obvious that, even though she was buried in the mud from the stern forward to the cabin, and she lay in some 45 feet of chilly water, a steamer of immense importance and interest had been discovered.
At a diving council meeting in early 1962 the Furnace Branch representative present the first survey report and suggested that the salvage operation be undertaken by one group. It was pointed out that some branches, having great distances to travel, may not regularly be able to work upon the project. NORFED Council asked Furnace Branch, under the chairmanship of Gerry Jackson, to undertake this responsibility. This undertaking was made on 11th February 1962.
The project went ahead with much anticipation and eagerness. Many dives were undertaken, many calculations made as to centres of major weight, methods of lifting, points of strongest lift and counterbalance. Some weekends amid snow and ice, conditions were such that progress was made almost impossible. One weekend only two divers manged to reach Ullswater, the rest being cut off by a blizzard at the top of the Kirkstone Pass. After quite a battle, the party made it back to Ambleside and safety. As time passed there was a great deal of material compiled and the following report was presented to NORFED Council 27th March 1962.
Ullswater Salvage Committee.
Initial Survey Report, Facts and Figures. (14th May 1962
“During the winter of 1961/62, the Salvage Committee, which consists of the Furness Branch BSAC, have carried out a careful and comprehensive programme of diving and enquiry on the vessel submerged adjacent to the Hotel Annexe (Glenridding). The correct position of the boat is clearly shown on the bearing sheet contained herewith and carefully taken on the 18th March 1962, (unfortunately 2017 this is not available).
“The vessel is some 45ft. in length and of 7ft. beam, the draught at the bow is 3ft. The complete boat is of timber construction, the main ribs are 10.5 inches apart and the finished section of each member is 2 in. x 1.1/2 in. The ribs seem soft to a depth of ¼ inch. But the rib cores are quite sound. The propulsion unit was steam driven and both boiler and main engine are just abaft of amidships and seem rather large and heavy as stated.
The funnel from the fire box was found alongside the hull resting on the mud. After consultation with Mr Pattinson of Ambleside it was decided to remove this item and give it into his safe keeping and care.
After many dives and periods of consultation upon methods of attempted salvage it was decided to construct a frame and secured at the gunwales level and projecting some 3-4 ft. beyond; ropes passed under the hull and tightened around the frame beams; some of the netting or screen be secured over the side and lifting vessels be placed under and secured. Also, it was further suggested that lifting vessels be secured to the engine room machinery and boiler to take some of the weight off the hull. The cabin may also accommodate buoyancy vessels or bags.
It is strongly recommended that no unplanned or indiscriminate diving or handling of the vessel be allowed at this time since the Salvage Committee have still further observations to make. Many calculation tallies are screwed in position and must not be removed. Quite a good liaison has been built up between Mr Pattinson of Ambleside and the Salvage Committee and several lines of approach have been undertaken after discussions with him. Amongst other things, careful search for nameplates has been undertaken and examination of machinery parts for identification and characteristics in engine design. To date (1962), no clear item has been discovered of major interest about identification of the submerged vessel, except for the funnel. Further letters of enquiry, however, are being printed by the magazine “Cumbria” at the request of the Sub-Committee.
The committee have also patiently and carefully searched through the local reference library for information, but so far with little success. However, much material is slowly accumulating and so many new facts are coming to light that no doubt in the near future we shall have the name of this intriguing vessel.
The Chairman of the Sub-Committee would like to record his most grateful thanks to all members of NORFED who have contributed in any way so far with this survey. Also recorded, is the persistence of all with water work undertaken when conditions were sometimes such that lesser men would have given up in desperation and despair, particularly during the periods of snow and ice”.
After the Report was accepted. It was recommended that the raising of the wreck should be the highlight of “Windive V.” The Diving Council confirmed quote: “that they had full confidence in Furness Branch in this matter and delegated all responsibility to Gerry Jackson” unquote.
Now the salvage attack was to be made in earnest. We commenced by working ropes under the forward end and slowly working them back as far as the cabin, somewhat forward of midships. It was impossible at this time to work further aft of this point on account of the position of the after end in the mud, mud which on most occasions reduced visibility almost to zero as it was very easily stirred up.
It had been decided to build a cradle forward of the cabin, secure lifting vessels and raise the prow to allow ropes to be fed under the hull aft of the engine room. Work progressed favourably and by the 1st August 1962, ropes were under the keel amidships and the cradle built and secured forward. After many hours of diving and much hard work the lifting vessels were secured and on the 22nd August 1962, we carried cylinders of compressed air down and started to inflate the flexible buoyancy bags and blow the oil drums; the forward lift commenced. Flexible vessels were made secure to the main engine and boiler to remove any strain from the hull. By the following day the forward end was raised about 12 inches. Whilst all the work was taking place our film makers and producer had been recording the progress on cine film for the complete film record, he hoped to make of the salvage operation.
By 29th August 1962, further timbers were secured and a tie rope affixed port and starboard of the cradle and anchored around the stern under the mud. This was to prevent the cradle sliding forward when the forward lift was increased. Forty-gallon oil drums were flooded, guided down and secured with wires and shackles to the timbers we had placed in position. High pressure air was taken down and the drums blown. Slowly the prow began to move; we were delighted to observe that she was now two feet above the mud.
We surfaced and swam ashore to recharge our cylinders. As we were about to congratulate ourselves; tragedy; the largest buoyance vessel burst like a a depth charge with precisely the same surface disturbance (it was found afterwards that the relief valve was jammed, shut.)
After diving again, we inspected the damage and were bitterly disappointed to see that all the timbers were adrift forward. Sadly, we proceeded to remove and rebuild the cradle during the next dives. About this time visibility in the Lake generally began to worsen; it had never been very good anyway. On one occasion it was down to only inches and although we had firm bearings and assumed we could find the wreck blindfolded, it took us some considerable time to locate her.
On the following expedition we secured more beams athwartships, fixed forty-gallon drums in calculated, predetermined positions and many five-gallon drums port and starboard. Air was fed into these and more and more weight was taken. Looking through one’s Log for this period, the comments about the cold, dark water are in almost every entry. However, we worked hard and steadily until Sunday 2nd September 1962, the prow was lifted to within 6 ft. of the surface; we were delighted.
Ropes were quickly passed under the keel aft of the engine room and secured ready to prepare for the final lift. The writer drove away from the site this day very pleased indeed. Success was in sight but the old enemy; time was running short. If we were to carry out the final lift when planned, much was yet to be done. During the next expedition, timbers were sunk, oil drums flooded and secured aft, the complete cradle positioned, and all made ready to go. Finally, 14-00 hrs, 29th September 1962 we blue air into the last forty-gallon drum aft of the engine room, when slowly the entire ship began to move!
Gently, oh so very gentle, she extracted herself from the mud of ages and gracefully glided to the surface taking me with her. A most thrilling moment. She settled on an even keel with the cabin deck head just below the surface. It was 67 years since she was here last and slowly moved to the lakeside under human tow and moored to await the fixing of safety factor vessels ready for the long tow to Glenridding pier to prepare for beaching.
During the next two weeks forty-gallon drums were removed from the superstructure and secured below the gunwale level and filled with air; the ship rode higher in the water. Unwanted timbers and equipment were removed, all drums and vessels topped up and the beautiful hull was towed by hand around to the pier and secured alongside the jetty ready for pumping out and beaching.
The concluding chapter of this magnificent salvage operation was written on Thursday 8th November 9162. The ship now floated under her own buoyance and all salvage equipment was removed (the writers dog, Mike, assisting by swimming ashore with sundry items of gear as instructed; much to the amusement of the small gathering of onlookers). She was pumped out, several tons of mud removed and slowly coaxed on to the trailer previously winched into the Lake.
Slowly and carefully the trailer was hauled out bringing the ship ashore for the first time in almost a hundred years. She looked beautiful and everyone was agreeably surprised that she had been salvaged in such lovely condition. The original gold leaf lines were still to be seen and the rudder worked perfectly. Just as darkness was falling the ship was finally secured and towed away over Kirkstone Pass to Ambleside where Mr. G. Patterson hopes to rebuild her as new.
One cannot conclude without expressing grateful thanks to all who have assisted in any way during the entire operation; members of NORFED, particularly Darwen Branch for the loan of the compressor; Mr Lane of the Ullswater Hotel, his co-operation was most appreciated; Mr Pattinson for his valuable technical advice and his practical work during the final phase and many others. Finally, the Furnace Branch for uncomplaining devotion to duty and work under arduous conditions. To everyone, the writer extends his gratitude.
As a summary of all the stories put forward regarding the history of the wreck, we think the most likely one is that the ship was built for Mr R Bowness; original owner of the Ullswater Hotel. Her hull timbers were sprung during the severe frost of the 1894-1895 winter. At the thaw she shipped water and sank at her moorings to remain there until discovered some 62 years later.
The salvage operation was completed in November 1962. After conservation, DOLLY was finally first steamed in August 1965.
(Full report in NORFED DIVER Magazine page 22 August 1963)
Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th September 1961
(This was the first presentation of Diver of the Year).
Diver of the Year A Lister & G Brown Huddersfield Branch
It will start with a gathering for Cocktails from 9pm – 10pm om one of the two steamers. With cost per person being 15/- each which includes all you drink.
Saturday morning: starting with unrestricted branch diving in the Lake, solo visitors will be provided with a partner by contacting the Federation Diving Officer on site.
Saturday afternoon: 2.00pm British National Open Swimming Championships.
The various events are open to either sex and juniors of any nationality.
Men: 8000 -1500 – 800 and 400 metres
Ladies: 1500 – 800 and 400 also 8000 metres.
Juniors: 800 and 400 metres.
One of the steamers will follow the 8000-metre race and the cost will be 3/- per passenger. The steamer will leave the pier at 2.300pm prompt. A marquee will be provided for changing accommodation for the various competitors.
Trade Exhibition: This will be held as last year in a marquee on site.
Refreshments: This year refreshments tea, soup, ice-cream and sandwiches will be on sale at the pier head for the whole of the two days.
Saturday Evening: NORFED and Branch Officers Dinner. The reception is at 6-30 p.m. for dinner 7-oo p.m. in the Ullswater Hotel; entrance is by invitation and ticket only (Ticket 12/6d).
Boat Dance: This will be held on the two steamers which will be lashed together for the purpose. The dance, which will include a, bar and refreshments will commence at 8.00 p.m. and the steamers will cast off from the pier at 9.00 p.m. The cost of tickets for the dance is 10/- each and those will be bought at the gang plank or may be obtained from the “Information Tent” during the course of the day. As he steamers will cast off at 9.00 p.m. anyone who arrives after that time will have to swim for it.
Dress for both dinner and dance is informal (wet or dry suites, inside or out as suites).
Note: – The dance will not be held out in the open.
Sunday morning: Unrestricted Branch diving as on Saturday morning.
Sunday afternoon: NORFED Sports. These will commence at 2.00 p.m. prompt, entries will be accepted up to the start of each race. The events will be similar to those held in previous tears i.e. individual, relay, tug-o-war,
Fin-swimming Championships: Entries will be for the various events until 12.00 noon on the day of the event. 8000 metres for safety reasons due to the number of cover boats that are available so the number of entries for this event may have to be limited. If an entrant is able to provide their own cover boat and team, they cannot be excluded from the race.
Car Park and Pier Head Area Entrance Fee: As last year an admission fee will be charged for entry to the sports area, this will be a single charge for the whole weekend. The tickets issued to visitors will permit re-entry at any time without further payment. Be sure that you don’t lose your ticket, or you will have to pay again.
Charges: Car and driver 2/6d Passenger or pedestrian 2/0deach.
School children 1/0d each. Children under school age free.
Camping: Camping is not permitted under any circumstances on the car park or anywhere in the pier area. There are plenty of adequate sites in the or along the side of the lake towards Pooley Bridge and all within easy access of the scene of events.
Information Tent: This year there will be an information tent stationed at the entrance to the pier head area and this will be manned for the whole of the two days. Dance tickets will be on sale, entry forms available and information in any form as required.
AGM and Annual Dinner Dance: Those of you who have been to previous Windive will note that the AGM and Dinner Dance have not been included in the weekend this year. This entirely due to the lack of suitable accommodation for the Dinner and Dance. These two events have not been overlooked and will be held later in the year as a one-day event, Saturday after and evening at either Harrogate, Bradford or Huddersfield.
Chairman (Douglas Balaam)
(This was the first presentation of Diver of the Year).
Diver of the Year Derek Bacon Wakefield Branch
Barracuda Trophy Halifax Branch
May-June 1962 There was an interesting article Page 25; by M.A. Ockwell, West-Lancs Branch; (Claustrophobia – a risky test). Recently I read of an activity of the Blackpool and Fylde Branch of the BSAC. It was reported in the local press and the headline was: “The Word Cold is Taboo”
Type up later 5th Sep 2017
Saturday 29th Sunday 30th September 1962
Organised by Blackpool Branch
(This was the first presentation of Diver of the Year).
Diver of the Year Derek Bacon Wakefield Branch
Barracuda Trophy Halifax Branch
Friday 28th arrived and the Blackpool Branch Ambulance loaded to the gunwales with lungs, buoys, tents and assorted diving impedimenta not to mention the crowning glory of a Tannoy speaker and the advance party was duly collected. At last we arrived at Ullswater, and it was unanimously agreed that before setting things up we would meet members of the other club branches in the bar of the Glenridding Hotel. That was as far as we got. Work was forsaken – manana and the more virile searched for partners for the following night’s dance. Indeed, there is tale of the Branch Chairman who offered three of his young female club members for a pint of bitter! However, thirsts were quenched, acquaintances made, and sleep was contemplated.
The sleeping accommodation people have chosen are as varied as the people who are present. The Glenridding was full, the Patterdale was full, the Ullswater had its share and the more spartan camped out. Several of the more impecunious of the Blackpool Branch camped and even the ambulance was used for its original intention of housing semi-conscious bodies.
Internally happy, everyone went to bed. The Blackpool campers agreed to rise early to lay things out. Early, was understood by one and all to mean “about 08-00 hrs” and sleep stilled the advanced party’s tent …
“Good morning, campers” boomed over the Tannoy. A certain intellectual had decided that we really ought to be up early. Radio Hong Long issued early morning music along with a news summary in fluent Chinese. I chanced a glance at my watch and the worst was confirmed … 04-45! The old maxim of “If you can’t beat them, join them” prevailed and brought all from their beds. Breakfasts of all sorts were soon made and consumed; work commence.
The rural serenity of the lake and the mountains was broken by the chatter of activity. Divers struggled into wetsuits; mathematicians toyed with sines and radians to calculate courses; layabouts rigged up aqualungs and the dingy; the lazier members just cursed. At 07-15 hrs,
a suited diver arrived from the comfort of the Glenridding (he should have been there a 06-30 hrs) and diving commenced. Buoys were laid precisely to instructions shouted from behind a sextant on the shore; after an hour or so theses instructions were more vehement and replies more pointed. However, by 10-00 hrs the courses were all laid out, and minor adjustments of buoys and equipment took us to dinnertime.
During this preparation time others were far from idle; an underwater Lake Survey had been carried out by Darwen Branch and to best of our knowledge this was taking place. Throughout the morning divers, spectators, argumentative water skiers and sundry layabouts all arrived at the lakeside; by this time the ambulance had been transformed into an information centre and its occupants abstracted the admission fee from all-comers.
By lunch time all was set, introductions made, acquaintances re-acquainted the “inner-man” re-vitalised with liquid refreshment. The Tannoy boomed out once again over the buzz of conversation, “would competitors report to the information centre” races are about to commence.
The Windive Watersports
The first race was the men’s 100 metres (Chris Parkinson will swear the buoy was 50 metres from the shore). The competitors waded in to the start line, the gun cracked, and they were off. No sooner was that race decided than the women’s event was announced. Four Amazons took to water (two stalwarts without wetsuits – weaker sex?) and mind and muscle were again taxed. Then followed the brawn with the first heat of the Tug-of-War. Encouragement was yelled from the shore and eyes were glued on the white rag in the middle of the rope. Finally, strength showed, and the rag moved over the line. This was followed by the 250 metres ladies and gents race. With the results of these, the afternoon’s sports concluded. The piece-de-resistance was to follow; the dance.
Everyone disappeared to have a meal and titivate themselves for the evening’s festivities. According to the ticket, the dance started at 8-00pm and the cruise started at 8-30 pm. As folk rolled up the weather clerk turned against us; this was the first disappointment of the weekend. Due to the weather, it was announced that it would be unwise to leave the pier, so the dance would be held on the stationary boat. Although the weather tried its hardest, nobody’s spirit (both kinds) were dampened. Tarpaulins were rigged around the deck and the “dance floor” made semi-waterproof. The band arrived to desolate scene; the boat was apparently deserted. However, by following their ears and noses they soon found that the bar was crowded to twice its capacity. Arming themselves with Dutch courage to face the open air on deck, they quickly set up their stands. The first chorus of Dixieland music soon brought the more energetic out from the subterranean orgy to demonstrate their various interpretations of the Twist. Within minutes everyone had forgotten the inclement weather and settled for serious dancing or serious drinking (There were even one or two diehards who managed to combine both). The night passed all to quickly and soon the dreaded call of “Time” was heard at the bar. Within the next hour the barmaids had finally convinced the revellers that they really couldn’t serve any more, so those who could still stand made for the dance floor. All too soon Midnight came and, like Cinderella, we all parted. Some just couldn’t say no and re-installed themselves in the bars of their respective hotels or someone else’s hotels for that matter. Toasts were wholeheartedly drunk to the makers of the new Licensing Laws and, the imbibing continued. The time had to come when either the drinker or the licence had had enough. This was around 2-30 a.m. so the sober saw the drunks home and the boys saw the girls home. Despite the fact that the weather clerk had pulled out all the stops, sleep once again brought tranquillity to Ullswater.
At the more respectable hour of 8-30 a.m. the information centre disgorged umpteen bodies (the elements had put paid to the tent-poles; its inhabitants were too “tired” to care, so they piled in on top of their colleagues who were of a similar frame of mind). When eyes were accustomed to daylight and heads returned to the right size, the full damage of the storm was appreciated. A new river isolated the car park, the buoys were all over the place and the Lake had risen about two feet.
Difficulties were made to be overcome and, with slight amendments to the programme, mid-day saw the afternoon sports ready for the off.
During the Sunday morning a General Committee Meeting of Northern Federation was held in the Village Hall. We were privileged by the presence of our President, Sir Wavell Wakefield, who again showed interest in NORFED. The meeting was well attended and, gave members a sight into the organisation and the intentions behind NORFED.
By lunchtime mild chaos reigned. Due to the lack of car parking spaces, the Sunday visitors had to fit in where they could. The information centre, instead of dominating the proceedings was slowly hemmed in, until Tannoy instructions from the sea of vehicles were all that identified it.
The first race was the 1000 metres. Although it was intended to be round the 500-metre buoy, it had to be a “Round the Island” race to the fact that the buoy was AWOL. Despite the rough water, people entered the water and the winner showed cross-channel endurance by the way he covered the course.
The individual races were now completed, and the tug-of-war finals were held. Blackpool (who somehow managed to get a bye in the first round) challenged Halifax. Halifax emerged winners; Blackpool pleaded they were exhausted with the work they had already done. The starting line for the next event was the island; Underwater Navigation. Four teams of two and their snorkel covers were strung out behind a little outboard. The teams submerged at two-minute intervals and aimed in their best, bee-lines for a fixed point on the shore. No sooner had the last team surfaced than the underwater equipment changed began. This involved submarine activities by the side of the pier. The stalwarts who had entered for a lot of the events were now beginning to feel the strain. However, there only remained two events. The “Cross lake relay” was soon underway. It was decided that instead of going across the Lake and back, the small bay on the shore would be used. Although the distance was shorter, (which was welcomed by the competitors) it was better for the spectators, who could see the race in front of them instead of figures disappearing in to the distance. The three teams entered the water and the final gun cracked. The fins cut a wake through the water, the change-overs made, and the winner ploughed home to victory.
The only event now left was the Underwater Treasure Hunt. Here for once brain and skill were more important than brawn. However, the organiser was a little too optimistic for the competitors gave up at the first clue. The team which had made the most progress was declared the winner.
So, Windive V had come to an end. The spectators had gone; the competitors struggled out of their wet suits. Equipment was loaded into vehicles and farewells were made. Soon all that remained was the Blackpool ambulance, by six o’clock that was packed up and ready for the off. As we left Ullswater to return to its unruffled self, we thought, as indeed must everyone as they return home, of the indelible memories of Windive V. Memories, tales and rumours were inseparable. Most of the tales resulted from the Dance in one way or another; like a chap who drank whisky until he fell off his chair; two 16-year olds who had their first taste of rum and had to be carried home; one of these who aired rude words and had to be reprimanded in no uncertain manner; equally rude suggestions as to how the tentpoles were broken. These are just a few which stick in my mind, all aspects of Windive V.
Chairman (Ian Watson)
The Launch of NORFED’s new magazine Volume 1. No.1 March 1963
Now that the Second World Congress is behind us and the leading personalities in the diving world have yet again shown us the shape of things to come, they are already forging ahead in an endeavour to let us see their visions as realities.
The Norther Federation of the British Sub-Aqua Club can, through the medium of its own magazine, emulate in smaller way by enlightening its members and their contemporaries, as to what each individual Branch and NORFED as a whole are trying to achieve as their own ambitions.
The magazine is to reflect the spirit and effectiveness of the body which it represents and I (Ed) would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed articles for the launch issue. Further, I would appeal to them to continue their efforts as an example that others may follow, so that Norfed Diver, once launched, will never come to the surface gasping.
NORFED Committee have agreed to reward all subscribers of material for future articles, photographers, etc., and the magazine will be organised as an efficient venture. In closing I should like to point out that all material for the second issue should be forwarded to me on or before 30th April 1963.
Read on and write in.
On behalf of the members of NORFED, the editor is grateful for the kindness expressed in the following send-off messages which have been received from the editors of the other diving magazines: –
“It would be impossible to have edited TRITON for over two years without being aware of NORFED. We have commented more than once on the tremendous success of Windive for which you have set a very high standard of administration and organisation. If you are launching this new magazine with as much enthusiasm and enterprise, then it surely cannot fail. TRITON wishes you every possible success in this new venture.
With every good wish,
Gordon Ross, Editor, Triton
SKIN DIVER MAGAZINE
May I take this opportunity to wish the NORFED of the BSAC great success in the launching of its new magazine. Every time a new magazine starts, regardless of its size, it is an indication that our sport is growing and that is what we all want to see. If Skin Diver Magazine can be of any assistance in helping this new publication get started, feel free to call upon us. I will look forward to seeing your first edition and will assume that when your publication is underway, we can arrange a regular monthly trade between the NORFED publication an Skin Diver Magazine.
Ross R. Olney
Skin Diver Magazine.
THE SCOTTISH DIVER
We in Scotland are very interested to learn that our friends and neighbours in the Northern Federation are launching their new magazine soon. May I as Editor of the Scottish Diver, wish your Editor and his committee every success in this ambitious venture. To the NORFED members I would add: “Support your own magazine, give your Editor every encouragement you can and see that he publishes your news. Happy, successful and safe diving.”
The Scottish Diver
UNDERWATER YEARBOOK 1962
An exciting and vibrant spirit is sweeping the globe, offering a grand challenge to the Diving Fraternity. Divers the world over are actively participating in the intellectual and sophisticated aspects of the undersea, and it is good.
No longer can we be content being the casual sport diver, for a new horizon looms ahead; an aura of scientific and technical achievement that will overshadow all scientific advances made heretofore. We have attempted to record some of these advances in our “Underwater Yearbook, 1962”.
In view of your outstanding achievements with the Underwater World Federation, I am confident that your organisation will be one of the pacesetters of this dynamic movement.
On behalf of the editorial staff of the “Underwater Yearbook, 1962”, please accept our sincere best wishes fo a complete and resounding success of you inaugural issue of the NORFED magazine. Best Regards
Joseph G. Strykowski,
Underwater Yearbook, 1962.
As this was an important article in the launch issue of “NORFED DIVER” we had a little consortium to plan it. The first snag was the title. The article was to be about NORFED, what it is, what it does, what it means, so obviously the word “NORFED” would have to figure in the title. We considered and rejected “The Norfed Saga”; The Norfed Story”; “Whither Norfed”; “Norfed – right or Wrong”; “Norfed – an experiment in co-operative respiration”. As you will observe, the title of the article is simply “NORFED”.
NORFED’s first occasion was at Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, at Ester, 1958.
Its initial purpose is to bring together on joint diving expeditions, divers from various Branches situated in the North of England and to provide them with the opportunity of diving companionship, interchanges of ideas, establishment of friendships and social intercourse.
Despite the progress of NORFED from small beginnings to the powerful, corporate and representative body it is today, those basic principles remain. They are, in fact, the foundation and cornerstone of the organisation.
It is fatally easy, when an enterprise has been accomplished, when an idea has been translated into working facts, to forget the beginnings and even what it was like before the beginning. Before NORFED existed, branches were like little islands, isolated from their neighbours with an almost complete lack of contact. This was a thoroughly dreadful thing. For each Branch Committee, struggling with its administrative and training problems it sometimes seemed that they were the only diving club in the world, that their problems and tasks were unique and insurmountable. In fact, all Branches have the same difficulties and problems and therefore the more sharing of them makes them less mountainous, cuts them down to size.
If, therefore, one looks at NORFED from the point of view of what it has done for divers in the North, the first credit mark must go to this establishment of free contact between Branches and Branch Divers and provision of many happy and enjoyable occasions for each contact.
In such matters as insurance, finance, negotiation of diving sites and rights it is undoubtedly true that a corporate, representative body has far greater authority than an individual Branches. NORFED is such a body, representing the Branches of the North, and has been able to resolve many problems and provide many facilities beyond the capabilities of single Branches.
Thirdly, in the matter of major credits must be the facilities provided by NORFED for open discussion of diving matters and for the consideration of diving techniques and policy which come from the National body BSAC. Those are not invariably capable of implementation by individual Branches, or may not be understood or correctly interpreted. NORFED stands in the position of interpreting such matters for its Branches, without necessarily rubber-stamping them.
Finally, NORFED, in turn, stands in the position of representing its Branches in BSAC National affairs and watching their interests. Here again it must be stressed that NORFED is a powerful, representative body with a voice that can, if necessary, be loud and authoritative. This may all seem a bit top heavy, perhaps; “top brassy” would be the better term. To the average Branch member those matters are sometimes remote, so let’s boil it all down a little. What does NORFED mean to the ordinary (no disrespect intended) Branch member?
Well in the first place if they have any regional pride in themselves they will be glad to be called a NORFED DIVER and to know that what NORFED does this week, the rest of the country may get around to a few years later, e.g. The “Windive”, National fin-swimming, Re-compression Airlift, etc.
Secondly, they will be pleased that many diving sites, which by now might well have been closed to them, are still open and available. When they get there, they may again meet friends from another Branch who will be as pleased to see them as they will be to see them. They will probably be able to say to them; “See you at Windive”, or “See you at the next dinner at Harrogate”. They will get the points of contacts, occasions of mutual interest to look back on and to look forward to. Then it comes to summer holidays the contact is even more useful, many expeditions to the Mediterranean are joint ones composed of members from members from several NORFED Branches.
What of the future? Well, the first issue of “NORFED DIVER” is a further big stride ahead in co-operation and communication. As with most NORFED projects it will expand and develop into the best there is.
The dive meetings and occasions that have proved so popular as part of NORFED activities will continue into the coming years and, other projects will undoubtedly be launched. NORFED’s biggest task ahead is, without question, the preservation of diving sites and the right of divers to use them. We have got to realise that the novelty of “frogmen” has worn off. No longer do people welcome us merely because of our curiosity value. We’ve got to show and prove, that we are responsible people, with responsible standards of conduct and behaviour, otherwise we stand to lose all that we’ve worked hard for. NORFED, as a united body, can do this; providing it is backed and supported by its member Branches.
That is the crux of the whole matter. NORFED is composed of its member Branches. It is not some detached, disinterested power-hungry combine. It’s actions and projects are on behalf of and in the name of, its member Branches. It exists only for them and for their good. In return it asks for support; support in forming opinions, launching projects, considering facts and cases. Every NORFED Branch is encouraged and is entitled to have an officer representative with full voting power on the committee at every meeting and all decision should, therefore, reflect the wishes of the member Branches.
Finally, now that “NORFED DIVER” is in existence, we ask you to support it. With your opinions, comments, articles, experiences and with your good will. It’s your magazine, established because your wanted it. Make sure it’s a success.
Article written in 1963 by
C. D. Balaam
BSAC Honorary Life Member
To Spain… Olez!
£20 for a fortnights holiday on the Costa Brava coast – never a fantastic dream, but in Blackpool’s case the dream became a reality.
All the praise for the original idea and indeed stimulus, for it took a good deal of promoting to persuade our small Branch to venture upon such a scheme, it came from our enterprising Chairman who undoubtedly, as we might put it, has “his head well screwed on.”
Exhibition man ship
Furness Branch, BSAC
Gerry Jackson on duty at the stand erected and equipped by Furness Branch at a Hobbies Exhibition sponsored by Ulverston Rotary Club.
The exhibition was a remarkable success and the sub-aqua stand aroused considerable interest. On show was a fine collection of underwater photographs were on show, also an illustrated lecture was given at various times throughout the day Alan Ogden gave several showings of the fin underwear cine-film in colour h had taken on several of the Branches diving expeditions.
Many archaeological and geological specimens were on view collected from various local sites by club members. In fact, all aspects of underwater activities were presented, from photography to salvage, training to rescue, etc. Life size model divers, fully equipped, were on show. All members took turns in manning the stand and answering the hundreds of enquiries.
A nice letter of appreciation was received from the exhibition organisers afterwards and Furnace Branch were to be congratulated on a first-class show. G.J.
The Launch of NORFED’s new magazine Volume 1. No.2 August 1963
Since the first issue Cousteau has done it; he has shown that two men can live on the sea bed for a week with no apparent after-effects. Siebe-Heinke have done it, they created the first “Day of the Diver” and presented 300 guineas in cash prizes. We in our humble way have also done it, we have improved the presentation of “NORFED DIVER”
June – July article Titled
Underwater Photography Dr Horace Dobbs, Oxford Underwater Research Group
NORFED ANNUAL DINNER DANCE
St. George Hotel
The presentations were again by our President Sir Wavell Wakefield.
The AGM Sunday morning, (Partial report page 26 NORFED DIVER August 1963)
Chairman (Peter Carter)
Annual Dinner Dance and AGM
1st November 1964
The Lakeside Hotel
Chairman P. Carter
Vice Chair H. Howard
Secretary C. Balaam
Treasurer C. Dickenson
Minutes Secretary Miss G S Wilson
Diving Officer G. Farnworth
Medical Officer Dr. T. Baker
NORFED Committee Meeting
1st November 1964
Lakeside Hotel, Newby Bridge
Blackpool-Bradford-Bolton-Burnley- Darwen- Halifax- Harrogate-Furness and Sheffield.
There were about 20 members at the and it was noted that several members took the opportunity to have a joint dive in the morning, and others were still diving in the afternoon. It is not the intention that the full minutes of the meeting should be given here, as three copies of these do, as a matter of course, go out to every branch, with the agenda for the next meeting.
The presentations were again by our President Lord Wavell Wakefield. Diver of the Year was given to A F Ogden – Furness
Spitfire in the Lock Doon: Amongst our crowning achievements has been the raising of a Spitfire in the Scotland in the 1970’s.
The Dolly in Ullswater: The Dolly was discovered by accident early in 1960, during a diving expedition. After several exploratory dives on the vessel, it became obvious that, even though she was buried in the mud from the stern forward to the cabin, and she lay in some 45 feet of chilly water, a steamer of great importance and interest had been discovered. The salvage operation was completed in November 1962. After conservation, DOLLY was finally first steamed in August 1965.
We are a very friendly group and we would welcome new members either as individuals or Clubs. The one thing I can guarantee is you will be given a very warm welcome.
To join simply contact our membership secretary Barbara Findlow at email@example.com OR Robin Hoods Cottage, Wakefield Road, Mirfield WF14 0BU