A day off today and a drive up the M6 to Cumbria. A drive that is largely uneventful, which by M6 standards is exactly how you want it. As we drive past the Low Wood Bay Hotel and Marina near Ambleside at around 1.30pm it is clear that the Great North Swim is Blue Green Algae free and going ahead, as preparations seems to be in full swing and folks are even heading to the start already for the first two mile swim at 3pm. We pitch camp in our usual spot on the Great Langdale National Trust campsite and head back to Low Wood Bay, a very nervous looking L is off at 4pm. She’ll be fine.
There are just three waves today in the two mile event totalling around 600 swimmers, so it’s much more relaxed than it usually is on a Saturday or a Sunday when they’ll be around 3000 each day.
‘Typical’ Lake District weather of sunshine and showers with a gusting wind has been predicted. Waterproofs are recommended, for those who aren’t donning a wetsuit for a dip in the choppy looking lake.
Actually, the weather stays fine and I get to spectate in my shirt sleeves, my Great North Swim 2010 T-shirt, kindly donated to me by L. Well no one can say I didn’t do it because the whole race was cancelled so no one did. The boys and I settle into watch from the veranda of the Low Wood Bay bar.
Disappointingly there’s no ale in the main bar but I dig a bit deeper and find the local Hawkshead Bitter in the hotel lounge, that’s better. A snip at £3.90 a pint, ouch. That’s for a 3.7% ale. So I won’t be having a second.
An hour and half later, L surfaces from the water with part one of her three part weekend challenge complete but with only two miles added to her total for 90 minutes effort. She should get a bike, it would help her clock up her 500 miles in a much quicker time.
We head back to base camp and the Sticklebarn Inn, where the Snecklifter is a reasonable £3.30 a pint, which for a 5.1% ale is much better value.
(Friday 17th June)