Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Big Chill Swim

Sunrise on race day
Off up to the Lake District this weekend to help some friends out with an open water swim in Lake Windermere. Cold? I'll give you cold! I was in thermals and a down jacket and the icy cold wind was whistling across the lake and going straight through me.

Swim lanes in the marina - 30m across
First off it was the 800m races. It looked okay until the swimmers got out of the water and were too cold to even dress themselves and then shivered for over an hour. And before you ask, no, they don't wear wetsuits, or anything. Just swimming costumes. As the 30m races got under way the wind picked up and the temperature dropped - at this point I was glad I'd chickened out of doing my first ever 'chill swim' event as I'd have frozen to the jetty.

The day dragged on, really, really slowly. Open water swimming isn't the most exciting of spectator sports it has to be said. Finally I'd had enough of standing around being very cold and went to get a nice hot choclate in the rather lovely hotel I was staying in, the Low Wood Bay Hotel.

Huges crowds watching not much going on
The hotel was actually the highlight of the weekend, with some of the best hotel staff I've ever come across. Add to that great beer, great wine, a fantastic breakfast buffet, gorgeous food, cracking views and a superb location right on the shores of Windermere and you've got to go a long way to beat this place.

Low Wood Bay Hotel on the shore of Windermere
The plan to go for a ride on Sunday was scuppered by bad weather so it was time to head back south. Not a complete waste of a weekend, as I say, the hotel was lovely (and paid for), but all that way to do someone a favour, lend them a bunch of equipment to help their event and then don't even get invited to the party on Saturday night. And the whole thing cost me the best part of 200 quid, can't afford to do too many more favours like that.

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