Scuba divers will be able to explore the shallows of Rutland Water for the first time ever as part of the National Watersports Festival this weekend.
Instructors from Dive Rutland will be hosting Try Dive sessions for those who would like to have a go at scuba and find out more about the sport.
It’s the first year that the festival has been held at Rutland Water, having previously taken place on the south coast and businesses from the county, including its only dive centre, are supporting it.
Organiser Allan Cross said: “We moved the event inland to encourage more stand-up paddle (SUP) boarders as the conditions on the water are more favourable, but to be able to work with divers as well is amazing.
“As Rutland Water is a working reservoir, it’s not been possible to dive in it before but we’re working with Anglian Water to make as many sports accessible as possible. It’s a world first.”
The event is being held at Sykes Lane, Rutland Water, from tomorrow at midday to Sunday afternoon and is supported by Anglian Water and The Grainstore Brewery.
There will be family-friendly taster sessions in wind-surfing, SUP, kayaking and scuba diving, along with an extensive trade show, plenty of great food and the event’s legendary party nights on Friday and Saturday.
Among the entertainment on the Saturday night will be another first for Rutland-AeroSPARX’s pyrotechnic, aerobatic display from a pair of gliders, with wingtip fireworks and 20,000 LEDs reflecting across the reservoir.
Peter Atkinson from The Grainstore Brewery in Oakham, which is sponsoring the party nights, said: “We’re really excited as this is the first time a proper festival has been held at Rutland Water.
“It’s a family event with loads to see and do and live music from local bands The Atlantics on Friday and The Houndogs on Saturday, with Rutland Water as a backdrop.
“It’s going to be a fantastic start to the Summer in the county.”
Full weekend tickets, including camping, are available along with day and evening entry tickets, so you can pick and choose which parts of the festival to attend.
Anglian Water has organised an array of food vendors, from burgers to piri piri chicken as well as a small fun fair and regular attractions such as cycling and Bugtopia, which are easily accessible from Sykes Lane car park.
Theresa Finley, events and marketing manager at Rutland Water, said: “Anglian Water are very excited to be hosting this event on behalf of the National Watersports Festival and working with local businesses such as the Grainstore to create what will be a fabulous event not only for locals but bringing new people to the area too.
“It gives the fantastic team here at Rutland Water the opportunity to showcase what we have to offer and hopefully to get more people participating in and enjoying watersports.”
A day ticket costs just £7.50 and includes parking, a taster session, launch fee (if you are taking part), entry to the trade area and full access to the best watersports festival in the UK. Under 16s get in free.
Party night tickets cost £10 for the Friday and £15 for the Saturday and are available from www.grainstorebrewery.com in advance or on the door.
Try dives can also be booked in advance for £15 from www.diverutland.com and everyone who takes part will be entered into a prize draw to win a full open water course worth £500.