This was an event that I’d entered last year but due to COVID had been postponed  from July to September then cancelled due to adverse weather conditions on the day so I had my entry deferred to 2021.

Despite my successful completion of the Summer Solstice 10K back in June, a bad final training swim left me feeling less than confident.

Ullswater has always been reputed to be one of the colder lakes in the Lake District, with temperatures rarely getting above 16/17 degrees so in the run up to the event, I had been quite indecisive over what to wear to swim in.  My wetsuit was out as having not worn it for over two years when I struggled into it, it felt like I was wearing a straight jacket, there was no way I was going to manage 4 hours+ of swimming so that left me with the choice of shortie (swimming cozzie with some neoprene panels) or just a swimming cozzie.  In the end I needn’t have worried as the weather couldn’t have been better.  My new concern was getting sunburnt.

So that I wasn’t rushing in the morning I decided to register and pick up my race entry pack consisting off timing chip, ID bands, race number and swim hat on the Friday evening.  This gave me a chance to take one final look at the lake and realise how far it actually was. I was due to enter the water at 9.40am and had to catch the bus to the start line at 9.00am.

After a good healthy breakfast I made my way to the waiting buses. We were being ferried from the Race Village at the finish of the course up to the start point at Glenridding. 

Once at Glenridding we were checked into the Start area to wait for our wave to start.  We all waited eagerly, exchanging nervous chatter with our fellow swimmers.  When we were given the signal to start we made our way down and calmly entered the water.  We had to swim past the Ullswater Steamers Ferry Pier and across the bay towards the North Western shore before heading along the left-hand side of the lake towards Pooley Bridge and the finish line.

There were 7 large triangular buoys with numbers on to indicate each mile and 7 smaller triangular buoys at every half mile. At every mile there were also feed stations with a choice of water, energy drink and good old jelly babies.

Knowing it was a long way to swim, I started off quite steady and soon got into my rhythm, the water felt gorgeous, it was 20.4 degrees (unheard of for Ullswater) but deliciously cool to swim in with the sun on my back.  Every time I turned my head to breathe I would take in the beautiful landscape - the mountains one side and woodlands the other.  The water was beautifully clear at times I could even see the stones on the bottom.

The buoys actually proved quite hard to see amongst all the orange tow floats and the first mile seemed to take ages but when I got to the first feed station I decided that since I was swimming so well I would carry on to feed station 2 and then stop at every alternate one.  This plan worked well, although coming up to the last feed station my watch stopped recording the distance which was most annoying as it continued to time me.

After the last buoy there was a large yellow duck at the finish to help guide us across the bay.  This last half mile proved to be the hardest part of the swim, it was very choppy probably because we were swimming across rather than down the lake? but it gave me the last opportunity to try and overtake swimmers on the way to the finish (yes I’m competitive right to the end) so I found myself doing a sort of sprint finish.

It was lovely to get out of the water to applause from the awaiting crowd.  I’d done it, another lake conquered and onto my next challenge, whatever that may be.

This entry was posted on July 19, 2021

start of quote Success isn't overnight. It's when every day you get a little better than before. It all adds up end of quote
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson