I KNOW THAT INSIDE EVERY DIVER there is an adventurer, a pioneer, an explorer, simply bursting to get out. This is entirely logical, of course, as our sport still requires that element of derring-do, that ability to go against your most base instincts and lower your trembling frame into water too deep in which to stand.
We may scoff at the concept, but it is always worth remembering that a part of you was scared when you undertook those first faltering steps in dive kit. It might have been a small part, it might have been a large part, it might have been every quivering fibre of your being, but nonetheless fear was present.
And what did you do You pitched forward, you took your first breath under water, and you conquered it. So, even if you are slightly uncomfortable with the analogy, you were (and are) an explorer.
The naturally reticent oh-it-was-nothing-really-blushing-Brit approach demands that we underplay this sort of thing.
Well, some of us do. I, on the other hand, love to bang on about it, and surround myself with the accoutrements of the explorer’s trade.
The Land Rover is obviously the centrepiece, all knobbly tyres, whining winch and snorting differential, but there are lots of other odds and bobs as well.

I HAVE FOUND OVER MANY, many years of research that (in the immortal words of Wallace and Gromit) the right trousers are key.
They need to have pockets – many, many pockets. This inevitably leads to the bizarre leg-slapping dance beloved of the absent-minded, as you try to find your keys / phone / wallet, but their presence is essential for the modern pioneer.
A floppy hat is good too. Better is a bandana, although even I have to grudgingly admit that it makes you look like a complete tool.
But can you really explore nowadays Can you really do something that is worthy of the moniker “expedition” in Britain, in the 21st century
The answer, it would seem, is yes, yes, and yes.
Bizarrely, the idea of the Great British Diving Expedition was born when I was using the
Landy to tow a delivery truck out of the ditch that runs alongside the precipitous track that leads to our house.
This manoeuvre required considerable rigging of strops and rope, much revving of engines, much bellowing of “Little bit more, little bit more, WHOAH!”, loads of standing round with hands on hips, and three cups of tea.
In short, the delivery driver and I had a brilliant time.
It dawned on me as I packed the kit away that we all want to do this – we all want to have to overcome obstacles, to use our initiative, to get muddy, tired, and happy.
So why not get muddy, tired and happy trying to find the remote dive sites in the UK

IT SEEMS THAT I’M NOT ALONE IN THIS. Having mooted the concept online, the response was universally enthusiastic.
There was a mighty, stentorian bellow from the British diving public – find the sites, and we will come along and dive them.
The really interesting thing here is that there’s a chance that the diving itself will be… ahem… crap. We have identified high-altitude glacial lakes for surveying, pools beneath waterfalls, ancient gullies with deep, still water and, of course, we don’t know what the actual diving itself will be like.
What we do know is that to get there we’ll have to drive off-road, yomp prodigious distances, abseil, jumar, set up base camps, and generally be fairly intrepid.
It is this that has seized everyone’s imagination, the idea of pushing into those remote regions, of challenging ourselves, of having to use every ounce of determination to explore the sites that have defeated others.
Who knows, we may find dragons and mermaids, but if we don’t, by jingo we’ll have fun trying.

AND SO THE GREAT BRITISH DIVING Expedition was born. It’ll run next year – five separate projects in spring and autumn – and of course I’ll keep you posted.
It’s a truly exciting prospect, to push deep into the whispering wilderness of our own island, to don dive kit, and to fall forward into a world that has never been explored.
I might even wear a bandana.

The expeditions will fill up fast, if interest at the recent DIVE 2013 show is anything to go by.