Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Windermere workouts..

Sunday 14th October 2007, just before noon, we attended Darlington Railway Station in order to collect Loraine Verghese (who we new had been on nights and was quite likely to sleep straight though the stop and awake in deepest Scotland), much to our surprise she was in fact awake and arrived bang on time, after brief intros, we grabbed coffee and headed for the A66 to drive around 100 miles cross Country. This passed uneventful, we quickly checked in to our house hotel (The Smallwood Ambleside where we stayed with Swim Trek).

No sooner had we ditched the bags, we motored off to Windermere only a stones throw away, the weather was fresh, not raining and the water was 13 degrees. We had decided to swim as soon as possible before dark to let Loraine check out the conditions on this her visit to the Lake District, we swam from the North End of Windermere in a kind triangular route.. out to Seamew Crag, the water was almost flat though it was cloudy with the amount of recent rain, however the weeds and underwater plant life sometimes reaching the surface were something completely new to Loraine, she was quite spooked at first but soon got over the initial shock....Honest!
We swam the same route back and were greeted by Kelly with the warm towels and hot chocolate drinks. Round about 45 minutes just short of 3km.

We more or less headed straight back to the Hotel, got changed once we had warmed through and spent the night talking about Loraine's Swim and My future Channel swim whilst re hydrating on the usual Irish beverage...Back to the hotel for more gossip and more socialising before hitting the pillow.

Saturday we awoke to the sound of heavy rain on the windows, a peep outside showed it to be typical Lakes weather, it was misty, rainy and cold. After breakfast we drove to a couple of nearby lakes (Rydal and Grassmere) but decided we would stick with 'Big W'. Kelly then hired a sit on Kayak and became our safety boat, which as it happened was just as well, the lake was as rough as the sea, with waves and big swells, let alone the wash created by the passing steamers. As Kelly battled the elements on the kayak we swam from the east side of the lake across to the crag again and returned via the same route, well..we tried to go the same route... but we were pushed well of course by the conditions. At the outset I had planned to swim for at least a couple of hours, but Loraine was sure that the mental gains and acclimatisation would be greater if we split the swim in two parts. Thus warming up after swim number 1. Once we more or less stopped shivering we headed back to the waters edge from the comfort of the Lakeside cafe, to do mental battle and force ourselves back into the water. By now the conditions were worse still, it was tough going and was definitely like being at sea but for the salt water in the mouth, we fought against the wind and currents again out to the crag and followed Kelly back to shore. Between us we had the temperature at 12.5 to 13 degrees. The prospect of returning for the second swim was not nice but once submerged the worst was over. I was glad we had done the swims this way and felt that I had won a psychological battle. Though I doubt either of would have returned without our safety kayaker.

Sunday morning after another late night of forced alcohol (Loraine you are a bad influence) we returned to Lake Windermere in what was quite the opposite conditions, yes the water was the same temperature but it was pan flat and the sun even began to shine, another swim out to the crag and back to shore, a really nice refreshing swim compared to that of yesterday.

To summarise we had four swims over a 48 hour period, in around 12 to 13 degrees in various conditions, had a great time with our guest, and seemed to laugh non stop for the whole duration. A very worthwhile trip indeed...Loraine was great company for us. To the point that on the journey home I asked Loraine if she would consider being my support swimmer next year. She was delighted to accept. We had big hugs at the station and headed or separate ways.

Above: that is infact Loraines head not a lettuce or a football next to me at the end of our final swim.


Anonymous said...

Lake District adventures with Mark and Kel will remain in my memory with me for a lifetime!!!!!: ) .I had a wonderful time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was honoured to be asked by MARK and accepted it with no moment of doubt as I think Mark is a focussed individual who will give the channel and the elements of nature during his swim the most he has ever endured and hence his best shot at making history for himself.
Having Andy King as his skipper is a very good thing as I already know how dedicated Andy is to getting his swimmers across and the encouragement that he gives to his swimmers goes a long way ...
and will help MARK at the time of his successful swim
I wish Mark the best of luck and will support him every step of the way ...........Loraine Verghese
P.s Like the football shot it almost looks like it !!! : )
Good luck to all the 2008 channel swimmers !!!!!!

Michelle said...

Be careful in that temperature it is getting quite cold and hypothermia can come unexpectedly. Some days 13 will feel fine and another it will do you in. Be safe. Congrats on your accomplishment.