I was recently out wild swimming with guests from Another Place hotel, a very keen family determined to go out in the rain. They were patiently sitting on the rock, waiting their turn to jump in off the crag we had just climbed. Just before I jumped, the father said to me, “You have a great job.” He’s right.
I’ve been swimming competitively since I can remember and after working on the Olympic open water event in London 2012, my wife and I moved up to the Lake District and settled next to my favourite body of water, Ullswater.
Between travelling to overseas open-water swim races (working & racing), organising open-water swim events, guiding swimmers down the 7-mile length of Ullswater swims and of course swimming myself every day, I’m helping Another Place Hotel guests have an enjoyable experience with open-water swimming in Ullswater.
My rescue rib boat is moored to the hotel jetty, which is perfect for guiding swimmers and is used for transporting families 2 miles up the lake to Kailpot crag, for a mini-adventure; a boat ride, trek, swim and rock jumps.
For those wanting a personal achievement I’ve had a busy summer with cross-lake swims, some of these have been quite emotional with mothers & daughters hugging on the shore of the lake as they celebrate a one-mile swim.
Something else I enjoy is helping swimmers improve their stroke, to become more efficient in the water and several triathletes have benefited from a one-on-one coaching sessions where I take the swimmer for a long, linear swim, stopping to brief the swimmer from the support boat to work on one aspect of their swim. Outdoor swimming really is different things for different people, an endurance challenge, a fear to get over, mental wellbeing or just plain fun.
It was a rainy day today and I took my own children out for a swim and rock jump – “best day ever” said my twelve-year-old Zoe and Lola was pleased with herself as she jumped off a higher rock she couldn’t manage only a week ago.
Tomorrow is a little trip to Swindale Valley, a ‘wild swim’ which has a 45-minute trek along a lovely valley to a series of waterfalls cascading down the fellside, with a series of pools, perfect for swimming in. I feel like a big child again as I jump off rocks into the crystal-clear waters and put my head under the waterfalls.
There is still a long way to go with the summer season and I’m looking forward to taking other individuals and families out on the lake to experience nature by being fully immersed in the water. Then after the summer is behind us, there is always winter swimming to enjoy in the lake.