Report by Penny Hickson – 11 September 2016 –
As the sole representative of GMSC I made my way up to the lake district to attempt my first (non-tide assisted) 10k swim. I did a ‘recccie’ of the area first – which was just as well as I hadn’t realised that it would take so long to drive through the very narrow lanes to the event from my first overnight accommodation.
The location was fabulous – idyllic in fact – and water looked beautiful and calm. See accompanying photo……
The water temperature felt OK when I dipped a hand in – one of the staff setting up told me it was 16-17 degrees which cheered me up no end as I am a wimp in the cold!
The day of Sept 11th dawned and I made my way up to the event. To start with the weather looked great – it was sunny and slightly breezy – but to my horror the water temperature was definitely NOT 16-17 – more like 12–13!
The first lap of 5k went OK (ish) despite feeling very cold – and I made it in a reasonable time to be on target for my estimated 3 and a half hour finish. However upon starting the second lap I realised something was amiss – it started to blow up a storm – white peaked waves and howling wind made swimming incredibly difficult – especially when my tow float was towing me at one point – or bashing me on the head! Not to mention the fact that several of the marker buoys went AWOL! Myself and the remaining unhappy band of back-markers battled on and finally all made it safely back – although not in the times we had hoped for I’m sure. I finally limped in at 3 hours 56 minutes. The hardest open water swim I have ever done – I think the picture says it all!
Thank goodness I had booked a room that night at the Bridge Hotel just 500metres from the finish…..