Winter Open Water Swimming – remind me why this was a good idea?

Low Wood Bay has hosted many open water swim events from its enviable lakeside location in the Lake District. Events include the Great North Swim - an open water summer swim in the great outdoors, or for those brave enough to tackle the cold, The Chill Swim which recently attracted 570 brave souls in 2014. We have also cheered on Davina McCall as she completed the open water section of her Beyond Breaking Point Sport Relief challenge.

As a result, open-water fever has gripped a number of English Lakes employees who have taken to the water as a personal challenge including David Neale, English Lakes Commercial Director.

The joys of open water swimming

Ian Woods and David Neale

Ian Woods and David Neale

I discovered the joys of open water swimming about 3 years ago as I took on the challenge of the Great North Swim in Lake Windermere. Continue reading

Highlights from Chillswim 2014

Ben Berry after his 450m swim

Ben Berry after his 450m swim

The cold water does phenomenal things to your body and I certainly felt it as my bottom lip went numb after around 60 metres of my 450 metre event. Trawling the lake with my bottom lip as I powered through the cold gave me time to not only taste the finest water in the Lake District but to think about how wonderful this event is.

The reason I was in the Lake, wearing far too little and at its coldest time of year, was because I was having a whale of a time at the second Chill Swim event, hosted by Low Wood Bay. The event doubled in size with this year attracting 570 swimmers including the Estonian ice swimming champion that I was competing against, the Lake District National Park relay team and people dressed as smurfs in a 30 metre “Penguin Dip”.

Of course, getting cold is only half the story and the reasons for jumping in differ greatly between competitors. Hundreds of people raised money for charity; swimming teams from across the UK and the world entered just for the friendly competition; and people like myself did it simply for the fun. Regardless of the reasons for entering I am certain everyone had a massive amount of enjoyment – the camaraderie, atmosphere, awesome venue and warmth of the day more than displaced any short lived cold.

Was doing an endurance race hard? Yes. Would I do it again? Without a doubt! Continue reading

Hundreds set to take part in Big Chill Swim at Low Wood Bay

Over 570 hardy swimmers from around the world will be braving the icy waters of Low Wood Bay Marina, Windermere this weekend for the 2014 Big Chill Swim.

Dive in to the chilly waters

Diving in to the chilly waters of Windermere

The swimmers are not allowed to wear wetsuits and will race over distances of 30, 50 and 450 metres, enduring water temperatures of below 5 degrees. There will also be relay races, and a 1000 metre extreme event for very experienced cold water swimmers. Continue reading