The Swim in The Lake
Lake Windermere is England’s longest over 10 miles or so long and deepest 200 feet in parts of the lake. The countryside around it is breathtaking so you haven’t been then definitely you should go.
We collected the boats at 0600 hrs and began the swim at about 0720 hrs. My crew led by my lovely wife – Captain Helen Tong, boat driving experience approx an hour the day before on a flat calm lake and my swim buddy the very lovely Dawn Mcfarlane.
As you can see from the pictures at 6 am we had very calm conditions, then the rain began so much so, Captain Tong couldn’t see where she was going as the there were no windscreen wipers apparently!!! Who would have thought that on a boat.
At about 7.20am an hour and 20 mins later we were at the swim start where I was informed that I had to jump off the boat to start the swim, the surface water temperature was around 17 degrees however once you go down 2 or 3 feet that changes fairly quickly to around 15 degrees or so – so back to the surface and off we go.
The rain got heavier and a gale blew in from the south which was quite handy as we were swimming South from Fell Foot to the North at Low Wray Camp Site!! The extremely windy conditions lasted for about 2 and a half hours, gusting up to 30mph, I think this helped in part as it really helped to blow me along at fair old rate. The only problem was feeding from the boat I had to tread water, the girls had to turn the engine off this meant they had no control so the boat would then turn across the waves get pushed about and drift away so eating and drinking was really hard and on a couple of occasions almost Dawn was nearly tipped out of the boat while she was handing me my food. During the swim I had hot ribena, coffee, jam sandwiches, bananas, nuts and after 7 miles I had a big piece of Kendal Mint Cake that stuff is incredible – like putting jet fuel into a car and I swam the last three miles at a very good pace.
By half way the sun had popped out and just a bit of warmth made a big difference – think the air temp was around 15 or 16 – the water temp was 17 or so – chilly but doable as long as you didn’t stop, when eating and drinking, swimming for more than a couple of mins else the cold set in and started to shiver due to losing heat quickly. I soon warmed up again when I got on my way swimming. I did 99.9percent front crawl with the odd bit of breast stroke thrown in during the 6 hours 32 mins and some seconds, we finished around 1350 hours, that it took to complete the swim. I was extremely pleased to complete the swim without wearing a wetsuit too which was my ultimate goal.
Here are some pictures from the start. Unfortunately there are no pictures from the end of the swim as we were so tired and a bit emotional we forgot to take any.
I felt very humble at the finish by what Amy has managed in her recovery so far, and also by what we had achieved on the day, so there were a few tears shed by both the crew and the swimmer (me).
Alan has received marvellous support from many people, including, as he tells us the following who he would like to mention –
“A couple of weeks before the swim we had a fundraising BBQ at our home that Kat came to with a raffle – the raffle was really well supported and I sold a whole book 250 at a pound each of tickets at work, at home to swim friends and family.
The Golf Ladies amount came from my wife’s golf friends on a weekend away she took a sponsor form with her and they were very good to sponsor me too.
Fund raising BBQ £450.00
Raffle tickets £250.00 (drawn at BBQ)
Golf Ladies £110.00
Main sponsor form £605.00
M Tong donation. £65.00
(This £65.00 was raised at my brothers 50th birthday boys golf outing – where I persuaded the players to part with some cash)
Main sponsor form – the figure is fantastic most from work mates but a good bit from friends and relatives – four of us from my work also donated our share of the work lottery syndicate winnings which was about £8.56 each roughly.”
I would like to say thank you to everyone who has sponsored me to do the swim and I hope the money will help to keep Amy comfortable.