Swimming in Wastwater

I’ve been to Wasdale a few times and walked the screes and Scafell Pike but had never been in the lake….the deepest lake in England…until this weekend. I’ve carried on swimming at least once a week through the winter, usually in Capernwray but other times in lakes. This weekend I wanted to brave my fears of going in the deep, dark, cold water of Wastwater.

The lake has easy access from laybys on the road. On the Friday the weather was windy and damp, very low cloud over the surrounding mountains, but we thought ‘its now or never’!

Zipping up wetsuits in anticipation we headed down the grassy slope to the water. The wind was blowing hard across the lake and there were sizeable waves! We took a rocky slope which shelved quite steeply into deep water….ooohhhh that cold feeling when the water runs inside your wetsuit… I love it! Swimming was a little difficult whilst being slapped in the face with waves but once we’d stopped yelping we swam towards the middle of the lake. It was amazing. The water felt clean (but looked really dark underneath). I had forgotten to put my goggles on so kept my face above the water (apart from the waves!)

After 15 minutes of swimming around, bobbing about and marvelling at the scenery I swam to shore and got warm. I’ve got that off to a tee now…quick speedy wetsuit removal, dry, dress, coffee, chocolate! 🙂

I loved the swim so much I decided on another one on the Sunday morning before heading home. The water was still this time, no waves, still dark and cold. I had goggles on this time and managed some front crawl and looking down into the dark below was beautiful. I am normally nervous about looking into the depths of a lake but because the water felt so clear it didn’t feel at all spooky. Being weightless, supported by the water, whether looking up at the beautiful mountains or down into the darkness below brings about such a huge feeling of being alive and safe. I absolutely love it.