Paddlers make a splash

It was great to meet some of the WOW paddlers a few  weekends ago at the finish location Brathay Hall.

With the tutoring from Francis and John everyone successfully passed the SESA. Practicing land based skills and water skills, with questions regarding the swim being answered. Kayak hire was provided by Windermere Canoe and Kayak, which did avoid the carry and walk down to the water base area, where the otters were playing the night before.

Paddlers make a splash

Have you talked to your swimmer? Do you know the best position to be in to support and guide your swimmer?

Paddlers make a splash


Update your estimated 10km swim time

With the swim edging closer we are now planning to group the swimmers into briefing and start groups. Please visit your si entry and make any additional changed to your est aimed 10km swim time by Wednesday 8th August.


Swim Event Safety Award – SESA

SESA Saturday 21st July Brathay

Various courses are held around the country but we would like to welcome you and your paddler to Brathay on Saturday 21st July to meet with the swim team and enable your paddler to obtain this award, whilst gaining familiarity with the site.

The course – for paddlers only, will ensure paddlers are confident in supporting swimmers on this challenge, looking for common distress signs and being able to act appropriately. To find out more about what is required take a look at the course syllabus.

Course Syllabus

Registration costs £35.

The course will start at 09:00 and is expected to take 8 hours. Both theory and practical sessions will take place. Register for the course here

You will need to provide a kayak and appropriate equipment a full kit list will be issued by the instructor nearer the time. Kayak hire is available through Windermere Canoe and Kayak.

Swimmers we have something for you too…

Come along on Friday evening at Fell Foot. Christine Johnson, Sleeker Swim has a training session which we are all welcome too.

The group often has a social chat after so bring those BBQs and flasks and catch up with swimming adventures.

On Sunday 22nd July Sleeker Swimmer has a 1500m or 3.8k event an ideal water tester to the Windermere Swim. Sleeker Swim Events


Fell Foot National Trust update

A site visit this week to Fell Foot, Windermere enabled a starting plan to be finalised with the NT staff. The lottery grant awarded September last year has enabled repairs and improvements to be made to the historic site. Undergoing a revamp Fell Foot is in the process of building a new club house, meeting room, shower and changing facilities catering for all water sports. The five historic boat houses are being restored as is the arboretum.

Fell Foot National Trust update

Old jetty’s are to be replaced with a new water front enabling easier water access.

Fell Foot National Trust update

Fell Foot National Trust update

Repairing and restoring historic buildings /landmarks and making them flood proof will enable these beautiful buildings to be seen for generations to come.

#WOW beginnings

#WOW beginnings

You’re index finger hovers over the enter button and an urge of excitement wells as you lower and hear the click.

You’ve entered the #WOW swim, you’re committed, mind and body. This is where the journey starts. For many swimmers this will be a bucket list challenge, a swim which has been on the radar for some time, possibly years. Everything is now in the right place to commit to the training and prepare for this iconic distance swim.

Some swimmers will be aiming to complete this challenge for the first time, others maybe returning to complete the adventure again and some might even be returning to better their past unsuccessful efforts. Others could well be using this as a qualifying swim for the Channel. Whatever your beginnings you will all be traveling in the same waters and experiencing similar challenges, the Epic Team look forward to sharing this with you, your friends and families.

Before we start to think of training plans and preparation for the swim it is nice to look at the geographical area and the history of swimming Windermere.

Geography lesson

Known for its beauty and tranquillity The Lakes remains a popular tourist destination, people are drawn to it, the water and the hills. It’s a well known play ground for outdoor adventurists. Famous names spring to mind, my favourite, author and conservationist, Beatrix Potter. Britain’s most famous poet, William Wordsworth and guide book and illustrator walker Alfred Wainwright. These all draw tourists from afar to the area.  Last year, 2017, it was recognised as a World Heritage Site protecting it for future generations.

21 bodies of water can be found on the map but only one is truly named a Lake, Bassenthwaite Lake. All the others such as Windermere, Coniston Water,  Ullswater and Buttermere are meres, tarns and waters.

Windermere village isn’t by Windermere. Confused?  It is in fact Bowness-On-Winderemere that sits on the lakeside with Windermere village being about one and a half miles away. This was because the railway line ended at Birthaite named after a nearby farm and the village grew around the railway station which many opposed running directly to the lakeside. The name Birthaite was eventually changed to Windermere to reflect the name of the water much to the disgust of Bowness locals.

Windermere is iconic, no argument there, Britain’s longest natural body of water, long and narrow measures officially 11.23 miles. Swimmers tend to recognise the distance as being 10.5 miles measuring from Lakeside, just under the arch at FellFoot to Waterhead. The distance you swim will depend largely on your ability to spot and swim straight and of course the accuracy of your paddler guide.  Our mapping has measured the route as 11 miles. The width of the water varies up to 0.93 miles, with the maximum depth being 66.7 meters.

The Water would have been formed thousands of years ago during the last major ice age.  The huge glacier carved the softer rock out leaving basins which were in turn filled with melt water from the Troutbeck glacier and the Fairfield Horseshoe glacier. The Water has two very distinct basins a north and south. Split at the narrowest point, where the chains of the car ferry can be heard rattling underwater.

The Water is fed by many tributaries along its shores, the main being to the north, River Rothay and River Brathay, you’ll see these at the finish by Brathay Hall.  Flowing out at the south via River Leven past the Swan Hotel.  Having so many tributaries the Water can fluctuate in temperature throughout the length, the year temperatures range from 4oC to 16oC . Temperatures for the September swim are estimated to be around 16oC.  The Low Wood Hotel situated on the shore of Windermere is a good point of reference when looking at water temperatures.

After particular heavy rain fall the current at Fellfoot can be quite strong, good fun if your experienced in the endless pool swimming technique!

The water quality is “excellent” and last year four individual areas along the lake, Lakeside YMCA, Millerground, Rayrigg Meadow and FellFoot were awarded the status by the Environmental Agency. The South Lakes District Council conducts checks though out the year mainly in the summer months and we will keep you posted on these. Blue green algae has been common along the shores, usually in isolated places in the months from June to November.  #WOW works closely with South Lakes Rivers Trust to help prevent the spread of non-native invasive species and we ask that you pay particular attention to your kit when making the journey to the water. Check – Clean – Dry

The water does have a few islands, the largest being Belle Isle, a privately owned island which you’ll pass at the half way mark.  Other islands you’ll use as reference points, such as Blake Holme and Silver Holme at which point you’ll be crossing the lake to stay out of the ferries way.


History of swimming Windermere

The first swimmer known to have swam the length was Joseph Foster in September 1911. Since then numerous people have taken on the challenge.

From 1964 to 1990 the British Long Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA) held an event taking place every four years, named Windermere International.  The programs linked on their site make fascinating reading, swimmers from all over the globe attending, age ranging from 17 years to 43. And the distance stating a whopping 16 ½ miles.

Many swimmers could be recognised for their achievements, but I feel compelled to mention the “King of the Channel”, Michael Read MBE. In the summer of 1973 he was the first person to swim the length of the water 3 times and then continued for a 4th!!! In his life time he swam the length of the water a total of 39 times. Something to think about whilst your completing your effort.

Swimmers have come in groups, taken part in record breaking relays and some have completed the distance swimming butterfly. #WOW began small in 2013 with 36 friends swimming for charity, profits being split between Cancer Care and Wasdale Mountain Rescue. Joe Beaumount was the push behind the swim and event organisers MyTriEvents helped with the logistics.  The swim took the tradional route starting at FellFoot and finished at Waterhead.  The 100% success rate was a credit to those swimmers in that first year. The following years have seen a rise in participants and a change of finish venue to make the swim safer avoiding the ferries and other water traffic. The National Trust, Windermere Canoe and Kayak, Zone3, Robie Robes, Storrs Hall and Frank Water have supported the event from the beginning, enabling a total of 391 to complete the challenge. For 2018 we have continued support from Zone3, Frank Water and welcome new relationships with Brathay Hall, Swim Secure and Help The Heroes.

Happy swimming everyone

For now chlorine is my perfume but it won’t be long until those warmer waters come!

Windermere One Way 2017

With thanks to Robert Hudson. Past #WOW swimmer
#WOW is delighted to announce next years event will take place on 2nd September 2018.

Starting at Fell Foot National Park and finishing at Brathay Hall, the 2018 event will be just as impressive as last year, with 300 heroic swimmers benefiting from a truly unforgettable endurance swimming experience.

  • Official
  • Zone3
  • National Trust
  • Frank Water
  • Swim Secure
  • James Kirby