cracking the ice picture

Winter Swimming in The Lake District – Ice Safety

*ICE DIPPING * Your beginners guide.

The thrill of cold water might be calling but there is a lot more to consider when winter swimming in The Lake District and beyond. Below are six extra things to consider when you head out into the cold water.

Rydal Water

Photos like this – and many you’ve seen from swimmers recently – looks great fun! What you don’t see is the preparation and control that goes in to these swims.

🧊 Always go with a friend 👯‍♀️ not just someone to take pictures for the gram, but to be your safety, know where the emergency kit is and look out for you. Winter Swimming in The Lake District is a great extreme sport to do with a friend too. Talk freely about each other’s limits, and don’t bother about showing off.

❄️ Know your location 🗺️ I don’t swim somewhere new without checking it out first, or having been there in summer. Everywhere is different in the winter, water levels can be different and bank quality will change. The ice was THICK (6 inches++) in the photos below and consistent across what is a shallow body of water. This was something I checked the day before

🧊 Watch the weather 🌧️ Wind and rain can change how a swim feels, especially after you get out. The weather can also change quickly. Use The Met Office, MWIS  or similar to get up-to-date weather where you are.

❄️ Extra Kit ⛑️ I pack extras like a throw line, Micro-spikes, wetsuit, hand warmers, spare clothes and a flask of warm water. Make sure both you and your swim friend know how to use them and when to use them if you’re to get in trouble.

🧊 Know your limits 🕰️ There’s no ‘law’ for how long your should stay in the water for. If it’s 5 degrees then 5 minutes could be too long for some. Take note of time before getting in and get your buddy to remind you periodically how long it’s been.

❄️ Get out whilst you’re still warm 🍞 Your body will continue to cool after swimming and rather than jumping in a boiling hot shower or car on full blast, warm up slowly.

There are some great people out there sharing more cold water swimming tips like The Outdoor Swimming Society and The Ullswater Swim Place.

Massive inspiration for this from elinamae on Instagram and TikTok 💙💙

Be safe and enjoy the cold water.
Ali x

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