In my previous blog, I explained the motivation for taking on my Lake Windermere swim, the personal challenge it presented and how my training was proving to be a rich metaphor for life.
On Sunday the 1st September, at 7:15am, I entered the cold water of the lake at Fell Foot and put all my preparation into practice.
Each swimmer is accompanied by a kayaker, from the start, who looks after their safety and feeds them on a regular basis to make up for the energy used in swimming and keeping warm in the cold lake.
My friend Garin very kindly volunteered to support me as my kayaker and did an amazing job of steering a straight line down the lake and feeding me every forty minutes during the swim. During training, I had discovered that while swimming I’m very partial to giant chocolate buttons, which very much amused and delighted my daughters when they could share in the leftovers, when there were some.
We had amazingly beautiful conditions at the start of the swim, with a flat lake, sunshine and powered on by my chocolate buttons the first 5kms of my swim were a delight, even swimming against the current. Then, we turned into the more exposed section of the lake and the next 5kms were a battle of swimmer and kayaker against the elements. We were battered with wind, waves and a very, very strong current. We were consistently blown from left to right across the lake towards the other lake traffic. I thought to myself that this is going to be a very, very long swim.
Mid point and second half
We ploughed on and reached the 10km point in just under 4 hours, where you get out of the water to check you are not getting too cold and enjoy a quick cup of hot coffee and a sarnie. Just before we reached the 10kms point the conditions calmed down again.
After my coffee, I got back in the water and once again really enjoyed the swimming, even though I was tiring.
The conditions for the rest of the swim remained reasonable and I completed the swim in just under seven and a half hours. I did manage a comedy fall over as I got out of the water at Brathay Hall at the end of the swim, you lose the strength in your legs for a few seconds when you stand up after such a long swim.
Never again! But all for a good cause.
I was still smiling and in good humor when I got out of the water, which suggests I got my preparation just about right but my first thoughts were “well I will not be doing that again”!
With the generous support of many, many sponsors my swim raised over £2,200 for Macmillan Cancer support, a wonderful charity who has made a big difference for many individuals and families suffering from the indiscriminate impact of cancer.
If you’d like to support their work you can still sponsor my swim via this link.