Tag Archives: Derwentwater

I’m Back…

… sort of!

A lot has changed since my last couple of posts last year. Things have improved with my health (physical and mental), things have improved professionally and things have improved A LOT personally.

As part of that improvement, I had my first open water swim of the year last week. Then my second and my third.

None of the swims were very far, but the very fact I did them, felt comfortable in the water and even enjoyed them, felt like a big step forward.

I was on holiday with my fiancee (yes, that is the big personal change!) and our kids in the Lake District last week and we were so lucky with the weather that Derwentwater looked positively inviting to swim in. Within about 2 hours of arriving we went down to the lake and into the water.

At first I splashed around with the kids for a bit. Then I swam a few strokes and it felt good. So I swam a few more. It still felt good. I decided to swim to the island, but it was feeling so good that I decided to swim all the way round it. It wasn’t far, but it’s a lot further than I’ve been for a long, long time.

Derwentwater – and *my* island circled!

We enjoyed that swim so much, that we made special plans to get in a swim again on two other days. It was lovely!

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Ullswater done, Derwentwater done

Yesterday I swam the 7 mile length of Ullswater with the BLDSA.

It was chilly, windy and all in all a bloody tough swim. It split into three very distinct sections for me.

Part 1 – horrible, cold and really not much fun. I knew I wouldn’t finish and would be getting out “soon” (it was never now, but always “soon”). I took my first feed after an hour and then every 45 minutes from then and the second feed seemed to be an age away. I really didn’t enjoy this section of the swim.

Part 2 – it started soon after he second feed and was probably timed with the sun coming out a bit, but I suddenly felt ‘in the zone’ and really enjoyed it. From being desperate for my second feed to happen I pushed the third one back five minutes as I did t want to break my rhythm. For about two hours I actually enjoyed myself and was swimming well.

Part 3 – was when the shoulders began to ache and the cold got into me a little bit. At this point the end couldn’t come soon enough.

But the end arrived. I touched the buoy and turned round to thank my kayaker. Then burst out laughing.

A wave had caught her against a jetty (that she had positioned herself against so I wouldn’t swim into it) and flipped the kayak over. So she joined me for a swim for the last 50m. I rescued the paddle, hence this photo.


So in summary a cold swim (13.8 degrees), a long swim (7 miles), a tough swim, but almost an enjoyable one.

Today was Derwentwater and a little easier. The water was fractionally warmer (14.3 degrees), the weather was calmer and nicer and it was shorter (5.25 miles). But the main thing that made it easier for me was that I was kayaking and not swimming.

That said I was kayaking for an amazing swimmer and a very fast one. She covered the 5.25 mile course in a little over 2 1/4 hours and swam brilliantly throughout.

As a kayaker it was my job to be there as safety support if needed (I wasn’t), but also guide the route and feed when needed. The speed she swam at meant that I was kept pretty busy with both of those.

She was the first swimmer home, so I’m going to take some credit for that (I’m not really, but it was amazing to watch a proper swimmer).


A good weekend so far.

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Update – I also swam 6km in Coniston on Monday – you know, just for fun!

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