Tag Archives: canoe

Feeling a bit down

I love the open water swimming and really enjoy the feeling of getting in the water and just swimming. However, I’m trying to enter a couple more events tonight and I need crews for them both and I just feel really uncomfortable asking for favours from my friends for this.

Both of the events are in the Lake District and start early on Saturday, so anyone volunteering to crew has to stay over on the Friday night – so that’s an expense for them, as well as meaning they have to leave work early on Friday to get there, or drive all Friday evening.

I’m happy to do these things, but I’m doing them. I don’t see why I need to ask other people and I don’t like doing it. It doesn’t feel fair and I feel uncomfortable doing it. So I’m having a moan.


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Kayaker Needed

As I’ve mentioned in my posts about the Bala swim and the Coniston swim, the kayakers are an essential part of the event and the effort they put in to support the swimmers cannot ever be over-appreciated.

If anyone would like to feel the immense gratitude of a swimmer, then we are looking for a kayaker for a swim in Ullswater this Sunday (29th July). It’s not for me, but for my cousin. It’s a 7 mile swim that starts early on Sunday morning, but should be finished by lunch time, so you can get home in time for your roast dinner.

If there is anyone that could do it, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll pass on your details – we’d be very grateful.

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Swimming Photos

It turns out that Jon, my canoeist for the Bala swim, is not only an excellent canoeist, but also a pretty good photographer.

I could see him taking the odd photo as I was swimming along and it took all of my will power to not gurn for the camera and give a cheesy smile. Looking at the results, I’m really pleased that I managed that as some of the photos are amazing.

Here’s one of the people entering the water at the start (I’m at the back right).

Getting in

While here are some actions shots:


I’m winning

Close up

And finally, me finishing:

Finished (knackered)

As you can also see, the scenery around Lake Bala is stunning. I obviously don’t get chance to see much more than water though.


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Swimming Lake Bala

Yesterday I swam the two-way Bala swim, organised by the BLDSA.

Lake Bala

It sounds a lot easier when it’s written down like that. In reality it was a six mile swim that took me 4 hrs and 31 minutes and towards the end in particular was agony. My shoulders were burning with every stroke in the last mile or so, but – and this is the good bit – I did it.

I stayed overnight on Friday near Bala, so I had a relaxed morning after a wonderful breakfast at the B&B and I just had time to have a snack before the briefing meeting at midday. Then it was time to get changed, put on some grease and get ready to go in the water ahead of the 1pm start.

The water was cold – 14 degrees – but once we got swimming I didn’t feel it. In fact apart from a couple of sections the cold wasn’t an issue at all.

It all started well and I got into my rhythm quickly and was really enjoying it. We got to the first landmark, the white house (no, not the White House), which is at about 1.25 miles, in about 45 minutes. And then it was time for a quick snack and drink.

At this point I have to praise my wonderful canoeist. I’d never met him before yesterday, I found him through the incredible kindness of strangers who had responded to a Twitter plea and had introduced me to people who could introduce me to people who could help. Anyway Jon agreed to canoe for me and he provided the perfect mix of calm, support, reassurance, guidance (literally and figuratively) and even technical advice. And towards the end he also cleverly appealed to my competitive spirit, but more about that soon.

After the first stop we hit the cold patch, but once through that it felt good and steady and actually felt like I was making good time. Unfortunately what happened then was I became too much of a tourist. I stopped swimming hard and started to look around and enjoy the scenery a bit too much. That meant that instead of making good time I didn’t reach the turn until 2 hours and 22 minutes.

I was disappointed in the halfway time so I put my head down and just swam for the next mile or so. But then things started to get hard. The furthest I’d done in training was 4 1/2 miles, so as I was reaching that distance I could really feel it. For a while I was really concerned that I wouldn’t make it, it just seemed to be going on forever … and ever. But then I saw the white house again – it was tucked around a headland and was an incredibly welcome sight.

It was at this point that Jon started appealing to my competitive nature, telling me that the breast stroke swimmer was gaining on me. This was the tough bit. I was desperate to finish, desperate to beat the breast stroker and I also wanted to beat 4 1/2 hours, so I dug in. For a while I was grunting like a female tennis player with every stroke, fortunately though my head was submerged so it didn’t sound like Centre Court.

Well, I achieved two of those goals.

I didn’t quite beat the time I was aiming for. But then, as predicted I took, almost to the second, the same time as I took to finish my first marathon. In my second marathon I knocked about 20 minutes off my time, so that’s the goal for next year. In the meantime it’s more training for Windermere, starting with a 5 1/4 mile swim next weekend in Coniston Water.


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Need a Canoe …

Can anyone help, I need to borrow a canoe?

I’m signing up to outdoor swims this summer in preparation for swimming Windermere next summer and I’m trying to enter as many of the BLDSA swims as possible (you can see the website here – but be warned, it might hurt your eyes!). However, to enter some of the longer swims you need to provide your own support boat.

The shorter swims, especially those that involve doing laps of a smaller lake, seem to have a number of boats positioned along the course in case of any emergencies. They don’t have a one boat per swimmer ratio, but are obviously working on the assumption that no swimmer will ever be that far away from a safety boat.

However for the longer swims they seem to insist on one boat per swimmer (which seems fair and sensible). For the shorter of the longer swims, if that makes sense, then it’s a canoe that’s needed and for the longer ones a rowing boat is required. All of that seems fair and sensible, yet to make sure that they have one boat per swimmer they ask the swimmer to provide the boat and crew. For a novice swimmer, not a member of a club and not in the swimming “community” yet that’s a big ask.

Fortunately I have a friend (thanks Lucy) that is willing to canoe for me – but that just leaves the small problem of neither of us owning a canoe.

So, can anyone help?

Does anyone have a canoe that I could borrow the weekend of July 21/22?

If you do, please get in touch in the comments, or on Twitter (@patrickjpr).

PS – I think, technically, I’m actually looking for a kayak.


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