A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have entertained the idea of setting a 6.30 alarm for a mid-November lake swim. Now I’m in on the secret. A couple of weeks ago, heading north for the Kendal Mountain Festival, and with a place booked on the outdoor swimming film session, I was already inspired to swim.
I contacted a Kendalian friend who gathered some of her local swim buddies and we hatched a plan to head to Windermere. With dawn breaking, and armed with a sense of humour and a box of flapjack we met at Millerground, home to an informal swimming club called Buoy 13.
The madness of the early rise rewarded us with a magical blue light. There was no wind, the lake totally still blending with the sky in layers of blue and grey. Hauntingly beautiful.
We enter the water, each with our own personal goals; a first-time dip with just a cossie, a focussed swim out to the Buoy and back or just a few brilliantly breathtaking strokes. Whatever we do we share a collective sense of wonder and a feeling of being a little crazy. Back on shore warming up with flasks of hot coffee we feel elated and alive. We wish everyone was in on the secret.
Words: Kirsty Atkinson. Photos: Sarah Douglas