Crummock Water is beautiful, surrounded by classic fells and next to just as, if not more beautiful, Buttermere. It's a good place for a swim as it is clean, easy to access from the roadside, has a gently sloping entrance and is relatively sheltered. My friend Jonathan has recently (after much persuasion) purchased a wetsuit and, after being too hungover and bloated yesterday to try it out, was up for a little swim tonight after work.
After a quick test fit at my house, Jonathan was satisfied that he had the right size wetsuit and we headed off on the short drive to the shores of Crummock Water.
I was able to point out a local Grand Design on the way, a property built by somebody I used to work with.
At the South End of Crummock Water, as you are driving from Loweswater into Buttermere, and before the road goes into the woods, the double yellow lines on the right hand side end and there is a short part of the road where there is space to park. From this point, it is about a ten metre stroll down to the shore where a gently sloping shingle beach makes an ideal spot for a dip. There are also some trees here to hide behind as you are getting changed.
I had an idea to bring my camera into the water, using a plastic waterproof housing (free off the front of a mountain bike magazine). When I tried to use the camera, it didn't like the plastic in front of the lens and I got an error message saying that the lens was obscured. I could have probably used my phone in the housing but I am a bit more worried about that getting ruined than I am about my camera.
So, rather than some action shots of us swimming, I made do with a few shots of us posing (that's me Mobotting again). Both of the pictures show the small island that we swam out level with. We estimated that we swam about 150m but it is very difficult to say. I have heard of someone putting their Garmin 305 under their swim cap to measure swims and this is something that I might try.
Having someone swimming with me definitely gave me more confidence and I was able to swim for quite a bit into the 'black nothingness' that you experience when you put your face in the water when you are swimming in deep water. The water was cold tonight. We did warm up after a while but putting my face in the water became a bit uncomfortable after a number of repeated strokes.
We were both very encouraged by the swim and, after heading to The Fish Hotel to discuss further over a pint, made plans to try further swims and look at building up to a lake crossing, which I think will be delayed due to do with logistics than any reluctance on our parts to give it a go, although we also discussed thermal hats and gloves for winter swims.