A very cold dip in Windermere

As last summer was so wet, I thought this summer, which is bound to be just as wet, I would take advantage of the many lakes on my doorstep and do some open water swimming.

Not wanting to be on my own, I googled for local groups and found ActiveBlu, run by Emma Brunning. She runs a regular Thursday night training session in Windermere, but recommends first timers to come on the Intro to Open Swimming course first. Now, I know how to swim, and I’ve messed about plenty outdoors, I’m not sure I actually want to ‘train’ for anything, so why would I want to pay someone to tell me about open water swimming? However, I decided it was probably a good idea, and it would be a good way to meet some people, and it would be a safe environment to venture into the water.

It was really good, and I’m so glad I went. Emma is lovely. She’s full of life and really enthusiastic. Her base is at Brockhole, The Lake Distict Visitor Centre on Windermere.

There were 9 of us altogether, of varying abilities, and varying goals. Four people had entered for the Great North Swim in 4 weeks time, and this was their first dip into open water swimming. Hmmmm, seems a bit late to me, but better late than never.

After a brief classroom talk about anxiety, acclimatisation, some skills to think about, like swimming in a straight line!, we wetsuited up and headed down to the lake. I was able to borrow a suitable wetsuit and she gave good advice about what to look for in fit.

We slowly walked into the water and started to acclimatise. My body was fine, thanks to the wetsuit, but my hands and feet were in agony. I couldn’t believe I was doing this, it was so cold. Apparently, the temperature in the lakes doesn’t vary too much throughout the year. It starts cold and stays cold. Today it was 11.5 degrees. Emma said, legally she cannot take people out if the temperature is below 11 degrees. So yes, it was very, very cold.

Once we started swimming I started to warm up. We were closely watched by Emma, and another guy whose name I just don’t remember, which is very bad of me because he’s someone really important in the world of Triathlon. Ooops!

I was very pleased when Emma said my style was really good. All those years of training, all those years ago…. very happy face. The swimming was wonderful, the wetsuit making it feel so much easier. I am conscious that I get tired quickly, so now I have to work on my stamina…. sounds like I might be starting to think about ‘training’!?!?!

I’m not sure how long we were in the water, my brain went dead and I even lost the ability to speak coherently – it was time for me to get out. I actually got out a few minutes before everyone else – ever conscious of how quickly I deteriorate when I get too cold and I started to get bad cramps in my legs.

But apart from that, it was brilliant. Now I’ve got to think about buying a wetsuit.

Sorry no pictures. If I get a wetsuit and start going regularly, I’ll get Pete to come along to take some piccys.

4 thoughts on “A very cold dip in Windermere”

  1. So you can team up with Rachel and come to Hungary for the annual Lake Balaton cross swimming on July 6! 🙂 You swim 5.2 K from the Northern bank to the Southern one. The water may be too hot for you though as it’s usually 22-24 C at that time of the year, or even warmer!

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