If there’s one thing we’re always talking about here at Hollr, it’s our love for protecting the environment and keeping our local spaces clean and litter-free.
But while we do everything we can to promote not littering and cleaning up after ourselves when in public spaces, there’s always more work to be done and more places to clean up. This is where the community organization Lake District Diving comes in.
Lake District Diving is made up of free diving duo Declan Turner, 20, and Angus Hosking, 21. The duo removes litter from our beautiful lakes and also helps reunite people with lost items like phones, rings, cameras, and even drones.
The pair went to school at The Lakes School in Windermere and are Kendal-based, but travel all across the Lake District to dive and clean up the lakes, waters, and everything in between, including hosting and partaking in dryland litter picks.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Declan and Angus and talk about how they first got into freediving, their strangest find when out diving and their passion for cleaning up the lakes…
How and when did you first get into freediving and what does free diving to clean the lakes mean to you both?
We both started Free Diving 4 years ago when we both worked at Low Wood Water Sports as instructors. It first started when we dropped a kill cord, which is a safety cord that stops the engine when disconnected, into the water. It was too deep to try and fish it out, but it was clear enough to see where it was. We both got some fins and masks and went down. When we dove down, we found lots of awesome and interesting things like sunglasses, old bottles, and even some keys. We both immediately got hooked on being in this ‘other world’. We started to dive in a few select locations like Miller Ground, but when we started diving at these locations, we started to see the destruction that litter was causing to the wildlife. We both started to naturally pull out all the rubbish from the lake and we haven’t stopped since.
Diving to us isn’t just about finding phones, rings, and wallets. It’s about the impact that we humans are doing to the local wildlife, both on land and in the water. To us, our diving also drives the campaign of ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ because people do not realize the impact of littering somewhere where you cannot see the destructive impact it has on the environment.
"When we dove down, we found lots of awesome and interesting things like sunglasses, old bottles, and even some keys. We both immediately got hooked on being in this ‘other world'..."
Tell us, what drives you both to keep cleaning up the lakes?
We both love Free Diving, and our passion for cleaning up the lakes is huge. We are the only group to our knowledge that is dedicated to cleaning the lakebed, we know of a lot of groups that do litter picks on land, but we don’t know any that do litter picks under the water.
The fact that littering is still a huge ongoing problem makes it hard for us to stop, as long as this problem is still happening, we will not stop.
What is the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve found while freediving?
I think the most bizarre thing we have found was when Angus found a horse stirrup from a saddle, which was really strange. We find all kinds of cool and interesting things like phones, wallets, rings, and old bottles.
Broken Glass is a common thing to find, and it’s not just on the lakebed. We find broken glass on the shoreline and it’s so dangerous to everyone! We had to invest in Kevlar gloves to stop our hands from getting cut up, and there have even been a few cases of kids jumping in and cutting their feet on broken glass.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in caring for the environment more, but unsure where to start?
We think the first step is acknowledging the problem of litter in the environment. But in terms of where to start, we think by just going out to your local park or shoreline with a binbag and some litter grabbers is a good way to start. We also would like to point out that there is no finish line in sight sadly, this is a recurring problem that is affecting not just the UK but the world. From Bottles in the grass to microplastics in the sea, so starting litter picking in your local park or on your shoreline is a fantastic way to start to tackle this unjust problem.
If you could say something to people who frequently litter, what would you say?
I think we would properly educate the individual(s) on the environmental issues that are being caused by the litter that people drop. We would also mention that it is an offense to litter under The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and it can leave you with a minimum fine of £100. If it’s in the lake, we would simply educate them on the wildlife that is down there and the impact we have seen first-hand over the last 4 years we have been diving. From fish eggs being stuck to the inside of litter to fish using broken bottles and cans as their homes.
What does the future hold for Lake District Diving?
We would like to think that the future of Lake District Diving will advance in tackling littering and as long as this is a problem, we will strive to do everything we can to make it just that little bit better.
We see the future of Lake District Diving tackling littering through education and action, going into schools and telling students as well as hosting/joining efforts in litter picks and other efforts to clean up the lakes, and hopefully, we will then inspire people to do the same all over the country.
Make sure you check out Lake District Diving on their Instagram.
You can support the great work the duo does by donating to their Go Fund Me, to help towards equipment costs, here.