By Helen Liddle – 24th June 2015
Almost 2 years ago, I emerged from swimming the length of Lake Windermere to hear stories of a guy who had appeared on the beach at Waterhead, who had also swum the lake that day. But it wasn’t until a week later that I actually met Jason. A lovely sunny day, we were sat by the river Cam talking swimmy talk when he mentioned a challenge that he had come up with. Helen G and myself both showed an interest and the seed was sown!
So 2 years and a few epic swims and some fun in and out of the water later, we are a few weeks away from our challenge. Somehow, I’m not sure how it happened, I got the job of organiser, so the first thing was to find two more swimmers. One drunken evening after Chillswim and Debbie Taylor and Sam Plum were persuaded that they would like to join us and so we had our team. 5 accomplished swimmers with swims such as Ice K’s, Channel relays, Channel solos, Windermere solos and 2Swim4Life to mention but a few! I then set about the logistics of the challenge.
‘So what is this challenge?’, I hear you cry. Well, you’ve heard of the 3 Peaks Challenge, where hill walkers scale the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in a single weekend? Well we will be swimming the 3 longest lakes in Scotland, England and Wales in relay format. Standard Channel rules apply, only a single non-insulating swimsuit, cap and goggles. We are attempting to do this in under 48 hours including traveling time between lakes.
JB was pretty sure that this was the first time this had been attempted and much excitement ensued about the prospect. A few calls later and it was confirmed – we would in fact be the first team to attempt the challenge.
On the 3rd of July, we will start in Loch Awe in Bonny Scotland. It is the longest freshwater loch in Scotland, measuring 41 kilometres (25 miles) from end to end with an average width of 1-kilometre (0.62 mile). Loch Awe is not the deepest or the largest surface area of Scotland’s lochs, nor does it contain the most water, but it is the longest, beating Lochs Lomond and Ness.
We will then drive to Lake Windermere, 16.9 kilometres (10.5 mi). The lake varies in width up to a maximum of 1.49 kilometres (0.93 mile), and covers an area of 14.73 square kilometres.
Finally, the third lake will be Llyn Tegid in Wales, or Bala as its better known. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) long by 1 mile (1.6 km) wide.
And there you have it ‘the 3 lakes challenge’ or ‘Loch, Lake, Llyn’. We will be supported by Sam’s husband Roger and Levi the dog! When we get closer to the time, we will circulate a tracker link! The challenge will take place on 3rd and 4th July.