Swimming in Ullswater

Last weekend we travelled to Patterdale in the Lake District to swim in Ullswater, a lake I’ve read about in my wild swimming book but never been in. I know the area really well as I have run/walked the full Ullswater way around 8 times. Its a beautiful area and I was keen to get a dip. That weekend we got, not one, but two Ullswater swims.

Parking at Patterdale we headed onto the trail towards Howtown, rucksacks packed with snacks, warm clothes and a jet-boil for a well needed post swim brew. After walking for a couple of miles we came to a tiny track through the ferns down towards a small shingle beach next to the lake.

I had a bad wrist (don’t ask…nasty cat bite!) so I braved it in a cossie. In we waded, the water was fresh and clear but felt really cold! Ullswater is known for being a deep, cold body of water. It certainly was. Deep breath and swim…it was fabulous. The scenery, the cold, the freshness of the water, the stillness. Beautiful. People were walking on the trail and waved to us. It was great seeing Ullswater from a different perspective. We got out, dried off in the sheltered cove and after re-fuelling, headed back to the van.

The following day we decided to try a different location so drove towards Aira Force on the other side of the lake. The car park was opposite the lake on the other side of a busy road. We changed and (again, me in my still damp cossie) entered the water. Not as clear over this side and still had the great cold feeling. We swam around a bit until…something touched my leg…cue inner panic

Anyone who swims with me knows I’m scared of jelly fish and generally anything else in the water. After remembering there are no jelly fish in the lakes, I calmed down a bit…just reeds…probably. We swam a bit longer but with the ‘leg touching’ incident and the busy main road very close by, this swim was not as perfect as the first one.

However, two swims in two days in a new lake was great and the sign of a good weekend!

Where to next?…need to get my book out again.

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