The weather forecast for today was for sunny and warm so I decided to take the opportunity to do a bigger swim. The drive over was lovely, sunny and warm with beautiful, hazy views over the fells. We stopped on the way to buy a new tow-float as mine has started to go down a bit over the course of a swim. I’ll still use it but it seemed like a good idea to have two, especially for when there are lots of us swimming. Tess enjoyed using mine so much when we did Ullswater that she decided to buy one for herself, so we actually had three today.
I didn’t quite have enough room for everyone in my car, so I dropped Tess, Sam, Izi and Katy at the starting spot and went back to collect Angela. As I was waiting for her the sky started to turn rather grey and it started to get a bit breezy. I tried not to let it bother me too much and we soon joined the others on the shore and started to get changed. At that moment the rain started to hammer down ferociously and we had a mad panic to get everything back into the car before our towels and dry clothes became soaked. Izi had decided not to swim, so she hid from the downpour in the car the rest of us took the plunge. We were getting in from some rocks so there was no real opportunity for a slow, gentle entry – you were just our one moment and in the next. Sam took this to extremes, jumping straight in from one of the rocks, while the rest of us opted for a sort of graceless slither into the 16 degrees C water. At this point I should probably also mention the hat. I was given a shark-style swimming cap for Christmas last year, complete with sticky-up shark fin on top, but this was the first time I’d remembered to wear it. My reputation as a style icon is now confirmed.
As we got in the rain was churning up the surface of the water but within a few minutes it had stopped and to our left the sky started to clear. For a while if we looked to our left we could see beautiful blue sky with a few fluffy white clouds bobbing in the blue and to our right we could see dark, heavy clouds with grey streaks of rain smearing down towards the far end of the lake.
I was surprised at how fast we got across the lake (it took us well under 20 minutes) but we had the wind well behind us so that probably helped a lot. By now it was so warm that we all clambered out of the water onto the rocks and sat in the sun for about 20 minutes, chatting and enjoying the sun.
Getting back into the water to do the return swim was not fun – it felt much colder than before! And now, of course, we didn’t have the wind at our backs – we had it in out faces. It whipped up the waves straight into our faces, so although it was now nice and sunny the second swim was not as nice as the first. It felt like much more effort to make progress and it took us nearly half and hour to get back which just shows how much difference the wind can make.
Katy and Angela got straight out but I stayed in for a few minutes with Tess and Sam and we took the compulsory underwater selfie and spent a few minutes jumping in from the rocks. By now though I was really starting to feel the cold so we scrambled back out and had the usual fight with clothes, cold fingers, damp skin and towels that don’t quite go all the way around…