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Friday, 24 October 2014



Just a quick picture to tempt you ....from a recent trip to Iceland swimming. Picture by Shane Wasik of Basking Shark Scotland.....writing the blog as we speak......!!!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014



Extremely special friends Jonty and Penny, the former of International Ice mile fame being the worlds only disabled ice mile swimmer, have a very special addition to their family - Norfolk terrier Roscoe.

Roscoe when he first appeared was a tiny bundle of cuddly fun. Fluffy and simply the sweetest of natures....the perfect pooch, definitely winner the hearts of everyone he comes into contact with.

Roscoe is a regular at Ellerton Lake in North Yorkshire where he has been known to take a dip or  two under the watchful eye of 'mum' Penny from the jetty, from a quick acclimatisation dip to completing his 10m badge (as issued by us!!!) he seems to be taking to his aquatic adventures as much as his 'dad does.

As this amazing little pup has grown in both age and maturity he has become quite a character and holds close to my heart, his greetings are amazing and his love of life is brilliant, he is fearless (nesting swans earn nothing more than a cursory glance before being barked at as close as we dared let him get...there was a wire fence in-between but the male swan was making the type of no- nonsense noises that scare a female let alone a pup!!!) and as cheeky as can be.....just ask him mum ....he appears to love her slippers!!!!

The little man also has his share of famous admirers - Cassie Patten, Bronze medal winner at the Beijing Olympics amongst a host of other successful medals to add to her wealth of experience and success, whom not only stunning in the flesh ( as they say) but is as gorgeous on the inside as she looks on the outside. Taking an instant liking to little Roscoe she carefully clasped him to her, sat down and wrapped in my Dryrobe, proceeded to cuddle Roscoe into a deep and comfortable sleep, where he stayed while dad Jonty and I swam, got changed and then joined in the chat, what an utter privilege to spend time in her company.....fingers crossed one day i will get to attend her swim clinic too!!!

 Not that the wonderpup confines himself to merely staying in one place.....he was recently on the Isle of Bute to meet some of the most incredible swimmers, for example Ram Barkai founder of the International Ice Swimming Association, Mike Read - king of the channel, a host of international attendees from countries such as Russia and the wonderful Shelley Taylor Smith who had travelled from Australia.....he lapped up the attention but ever the open water pup he was looking out for water

 Need to be near water satisfied it was time for mum Pen and I to take him for a longer walk and the perfect setting of the Mount Stuart Castle (  grounds seemed perfect, and they proved to be every bit the young pup dream ( who knew pups could wee so much!!!).

For a pooch with such tiny legs he certainly put in the mileage that day!!!

And after all that aquatic excitement, walking and adoration, what is left to do.....that's right, as dad says.....recharge the 'fun batteries'!!!!

Many more adventures from the open water pup to come i am sure, find him  on facebook so see  more pictures and hear of his fun and adventures!!!!!

Monday, 13 October 2014



11th April.....every year!

For most if not all of you that read my blog you have a love of the aquatic lifestyle and all that can be associated with it, its only seemed fair that we set up a day where all of us can come together globally and celebrate our love of the water. 

And so after a bit of discussion it was decided that i would create and International Day of Swimming, its open to one and all, no barriers of age, gender or ability, you can swim for as little or as long as you want to, on minute or one day, it does not matter as long as you enjoy it. Set on the day that swimming was introduced to the Olympics in 1896, it seemed fitting to show that we were able to enjoy water as much now as people did then, and look at how much swimming has changed over the years. 

If the date falls on a week day, feel free to do your swim on the weekend before or after and do take pictures, we love to see them. Here are a selection from this years swims from around the globe. 

So if you have a love of swimming and all things aquatic and feel like celebrating set up a swim in your local swim spot, invite as many as you can and enjoy....oh and make sure you get some pics, as you can see from this years New Zealand swimmers they really loved it... lets take the aquatic joy global....and where can you post your happy swim pics -



Friday, 26 September 2014



A meeting of the greats they have advertised it as - the good and great of open water swimming will be merging on the Isle of Bute for the WOWSA (World Open Water Swimming Association) conference and i am one of the lucky ones to get to go. Originally booked to be held in Edinburgh the organiser realised late on that the venue needed changing and so the Isle of Bute was picked, far better attraction i feel and a more beautiful location although a tad prohibitive for those that needed a more viable travel infrastructure to attend. Nice that it is held in Scotland, a place of great love to myself but possibly limiting the numbers that can attend due to the remoteness of the the location...we shall see. Regardless it will be wonderful to meet up with 'Facebook, linked-in and twitter' friends for the first time as well as those with whom i already know!

Arriving on the island late on the Friday night, it was merely a case of unpacking, our accommodation on the Castle Stuart estate as organised by Penny Warneken was superb, fully equipped and spacious too (just as well as you will find out!!!) Once unpacked Open water swimming pup Roscoe was free to explore his new territory whilst his human admirers opened a bottle of red and relaxed. We were joined later that evening by our other companion Ram Barkai who is the owner of the the International Ice Swimming Association who had spent an enjoyable evening with others that would be attending the conference.

Rising early the next day, sleep evading me most of the night, the sun shining bright already promising a day of warmth to the festivities. Heading to the conference, pup in tow loving the sights and sounds and clearly prepared to meet his new audience, we headed to the newly changed venue, having been promised the castle on Mount Stuart, we were now to be in a visitors centre, the wave of disappointment was clear to see but as i stated on the day it will be the participants that would make the event and sure enough they did.

The good and the great arrived, around 90 of them, all ego's aside as they met and greeted each other, the tone of 'wow i have admired you and always wanted to meet you' abounded in the warm fresh air. The head of the International Marathon Swiming Hall of Fame ( had also arrived along with the head of the World Open Water Swimming Association ( Steven Munatones, the client base was vast and the experience and knowledge insurmountable. Swimmers from all over the globe were here, the amazing Shelley Taylor-Smith having travelled the furthest from Australia, the Irish with their amazing sense of humour and thirst for fun, Ger Kennedy, Allen Evans, Nuala Moore, Alan Ryan...could you ever want for a better more experienced group of people to mingle with....i was close to popping.

The venue itself, although hastily arranged was convenient for those exiting the ferry, but lacked the grandeur of the magnificent halls that had been promised, with delegated seated in a cinema, i can only liken this to placing the worlds greatest swimmers in a windowless room for two day to caging a tiger and poking it every two minutes! Speeches were made, one after the other, the superb to the almost barmy swims, the torture and the successes relived for all to hear, amazing power point presentations showing pictures of such swim feats that it strains the mind in awe and wonder of the human limit for endurance, the mental strength to complete such glorious tasks is phenomenal.

The good and the great showcased their experiences and how they work to inspire others to work hard, train hard and to do the same, inspirational to those that have never had such valuable information laid out before them. 

As stated this was a celebration of swimming and to that end awards and certificates were given over a conference luncheon in recognition of such feats, the awards themselves beautifully crafted, the certificates housed in a protective and formal outer covering as befitted the event. 

Out in daylight was finally a good time for one and all to socialise and network and they got straight to it after all this is part of the reason why they came. 

With so many great swimmers and great minds it was only a matter of time before new and wonderful swims were dreampt up, Jonty Warenken (the world ONLY disabled ice mile swimmer) coming up with the Para Five swim, five iconic swims around the globe for disabled swimmers ( and idea swiftly agreed with by Shelley and looks like we are good to go as they say!!!

For those that have been to conferences and possibly be bored stiff throughout this is one of those on the highly recommended list, gone are the ego's, the meeting of the good and the great is a fascinating time, old friendships reignited, new ones formed, meeting people who achievements you have followed on social media and read about in magazines and newspapers, Ned Denison for example, who geographically is so close but at times so far, a tall rather grand looking man who has a glint in his eye for the water. 

As to be expected group photos are a must, how to get so many in one shot...and in time as this devolving sport grows how to fit them all in one room!

The evenings were the time for true socialising and networking with more awards issued, and mutual admiral clubs being formed (quite rightly too), swimmers choosing to leave the enclosed formal room for wider spaces, you can not confine a swimmer after all even those non-swimmers were soon included in conversation and several times the words 'i have always wanted to have a go at that' where heard to be said...their inspiration knows no boundaries. 

Being on such a stunning location and not one to be inside for too long it was time to make use of the glorious weather and the scenery, Penny and super pup Roscoe and i went off exploring the Mount Stuart estate, and what an amazing location it is, the grounds are lovingly cared for as is the building itself. For such tiny legs that pup can walk and walk he did until he had had enough. 

The last day of the conference brought about more talks, more awards and a whole load more smiles with those that had been indoctrinated into the Halls of Fames quite rightly proud of themselves, it was an honour to be amongst such exalted people. Some had to head off and it was jigsaw of pure genius that saw our Irish friends fit so much luggage and so many people into one car....i am sure the journey back to the emerald isle was an interesting one for them. 

The conference finished with a swim.....well it would be rude not to...the organiser perhaps had not done any research into the caliber of swimmer in attendance set up a short loop course (These are people who swim from Russia to the USA) which again was disappointing as it would have been a privalige to have swam a longer distance with such a swimmer but  alas it was not to be. 

The evening saw us left to our own devices....well what to do....a social get together perhaps....and that is exactly what we did, our Russian friends, with Penny and Jonty providing food fit for a king,, as normal the dancing was started off by Jackie Cobell with Jonty's amazing voice joining in the festivities, a wonderful end to a fab weekend.

 Packing the next day was seemed a shame to be leaving such a wonderful location with Mount Stuart estate more than delivering its promise of peace and tranquillity, the last farewell was said at the airport before we continued our journey home. Steven you were right, it was a Celebration of Swimming, ...looking forward to the next one already!!!

Photos as taken my myself and given by the wonderful Steven Munatones