Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Swim Trek Lakes Weekender

Earlier this year I booked a weekend trip to the Lake District with Swim Trek, the aim being to finish off the summer (if you can call the recent weather a summer!) with some cold open water swims in different bodies of water, as both a confidence building exercise as well as the physical/acclimatisation benefits as oppose to the pool at the gym, (which at times bores me rigid). As well as an obvious break from the routine. We made the short trip of about 90 miles across Country on Friday and met with the other guests and Swim Trek guides at the Smallwood Hotel in Ambleside, made our introductions, had the itinerary explained then settled down for the night.

Following breakfast we drove the hour or so to Buttermere for the first swim of the day, there was about sixteen swimmers, the ages and abilities within the group varied greatly, but only two of us were to swim without wetsuits, we were grouped and began the swim at intervals according to the predicted swim times. We swam the length of the lake in what was around 15.5 degree water, the weather was OK, it was dry and only a slight breeze it felt great to be swimming without the need to turn every 25 metres, knowing we had boat support if we needed it. And what’s more it was weed and craft free. It was silent but for the splash of our group….....Bliss! After the swim and lunch, we walked for about 90 minutes to the next lake...Crummock Water, a much bigger, more scenic and impressive lake . Here there was a choice of swims, a shorter width section or a triangular swim of just over three and half km. Kelly (who by her own admission is not a swimmer) was brave enough to get in and tackled the shorter swim with breaststroke ease. I was well impressed. This was the best swim of the weekend, we really got moving and felt great at the end after 55 minutes again at 15.5 degrees.
Another drive… back the Hotel, a meal attended by almost all the guests and a late night of socialising.

Next morning and slightly delicate! A shorter drive to Coniston, where we swam over and back in another triangular route, probably only 2km or less at what was a degree warmer than the previous day. Another trek/walk through the picturesque Grizedale Forest and onto Lake Windermere for the final swim of the weekend. Here we swam for about 45 minutes in almost constant weedy water. It was a grouped swim again and we managed to get our heads down and before we knew it were back at the shore for food . Where again Kelly took on the Mother role and made sure we were all loaded with hot drinks, food and were wrapped up dry and warm. Thank you Kelly. It made a big difference you being there not only to support me as usual but also for the benefit of the others in the group.

Overall it was a great weekend and I would recommend it without hesitation. Hats off and special thanks to Lesley and Brad our guides for making the break so enjoyable in every aspect.

Granted the distances were not massive (about 11km in total) but it was another step forward and another piece of the jigsaw en route to my dream of Swimming The English Channel in 2008.

Over 23,000 metres this week , the shoulder is holding up…just......on we go.

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