Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Windermere Swim

Last year I was lucky enough to stay at Ambleside Youth Hostel on the banks of Lake Windermere at Waterhead (see Windermere Map for location). There is a fantastic view from the grounds YHA right across the lake to the western shore. After my evening meal on the our day of arrival there were a number of fellow guests swimming - some practicing for Windermere's Great Northern Swim that was due to be held later on in the summer.

Since the grounds of the Youth Hostel bordered the Lake I descided to take a swim in Windermere myself. My main concern was how cold it was going to be, but once I was in and started to swim it didn't feel too bad at all - although I wasn't complacent about the possibility of getting cramp due to the waters temperature. The water seemed very still and calm as I set out towards the center of the Lake, much easier to swim in than a crowded swimming pool where water splashes up into my face. Being able to swim at my own pace seemed really relaxing.

Towards the centre of the Lake I passed relatively close to a man in a rowing boat stood up fishing. Further on I floated on my back to rest my arms. I could see the Fairfield Horseshoe over to my left. Normally I only get to see it from this view point when I am comming back to Ambleside on the Windermere Ferry. It seemed much more satisfying seeing it from in the water! I pressed on untill I reached the far side of the Lake, not far from where the River Rothay enters Windermere.

I climbed half way out onto the rock before pushing myself off for the return journey. I could hear voices travelling across the Lake from the Youth Hostel and from the pub gardens at Waterhead. It was a warm still summers evening and everything seemed very peaceful. As I pressed on the Hostel got closer and I could hear some music being played by a group of people in the grounds. Eventually I arrived back. It had been a remarkable experience. I hope I will be lucky enough to do it again one day soon.

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