The Great North Swim & How I Didn’t Drown!

So, I am writing this to you extremely sore and tired as yesterday I swam the Great North Swim in Lake Windermere. I’ve always loved fresh water swimming but if I am totally honest, I didn’t train nearly enough. No, really – I didn’t train, pretty much at all. The week of the swim I went swimming twice; once in fresh water and once in the swimming pool at my local gym – never once completing the full mile distance that I would be swimming. I was not nervous at all until the night before when I had a near sleepless night thinking that I would drown halfway around the lake and never be seen again by anyone other than fish people deep down below. There were not quite tears, but there was certainly a lot of stress as I considered the fact that I had never made a will and hoped mother bear would get the very little I have in the world, and my little fluff bags would be looked after!


The day arrived and I woke up early, actually ate breakfast (which is something that I never do!) and drove over to my Mum and Step Dads house as they were going to be giving me a lift. When we got there, I signed in and went to get changed in a huge changing tent where everyone had to get into their wetsuits together. Some people were hiding away in the corners trying to cover their modesty, but I am far from beyond being bothered by that kind of thing after a lifetime in the theatre and changing backstage. So I stood centre of said tent and attempted to cram my overly chubby self into a wetsuit in 21 degree heat!  Suffice to say – there was talc involved!


When you participate in the swim you go in “waves” and I was in the orange wave. So me and my orange hatted buddies all wandered down to lake for our initial warm up swim and safety briefing. We were told that if we were to get into trouble then just get onto our back and wave to one of the safety kayaks along the way. Which to be honest, the idea of someone getting a serious cramp or injury and trying to wave for help and stay afloat is in itself, hilarious! When the starting buzzer went off I had a moment where I was about to cry but told myself to stop being stupid as we had a race to swim and we would have plenty of time to cry about it afterwards!


Getting in? Turns out natural water is not warm(!) and the first few steps were bloody freezing! I jumped down and crawled until i could no longer reach the floor so that I would get used to the temperature quicker and could soon swim without much trouble. It was such a nice race and everybody was so damn lovely, we all had a chat as we were swimming about people that had done it before and the reasons that we were all competing. I was not swimming with a time in mind as all I wanted to do was to finish as I honestly did not think that I was strong enough to complete it, and so just wanted to take my time and enjoy the experience.


I was around ¾ of the way around the circuit when I got the worst pain in my life, I had never experienced cramp in my life before this point but holy mother of God did that hurt! I tried to tread water or try another stroke to carry on going but it wasn’t happening so I just accepted that this was going to slow me down a bit and to try and drag my ass home with one working leg! I completed the race in an hour and fifteen minutes and honestly I am very happy with this time considering my complete lack of training. Next year I am determined to do it in 45 minutes or less!


I completed this swim for Marie Curie who deal with terminal illness all across the country. As my Dad has just been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, I wanted to do my bit to help to fundraise those people who can help him along his journey to recovery. Although the event is complete there is still time to donate if you would like to! Please click here to be directed to my GoFundMe page, even just a couple of pounds would be massively appreciated if you can afford it! Thanks so much for your continued support guys throughout my absence of late, I’m sure you can appreciate that with this recent news, we have been a little preoccupied and so my blog and channel has had to take a back seat. Hopefully I can ease myself back into it soon. Hope you all have a wonderful day – oh and I certainly recommend participating in the Great North Swim!


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