Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Clear water Capenwray - published in Swim Shawmethod
Clear Water Capenwray
Open water swimming could not be more different from pool swimming. The pool, solid, straight sided, lined bottomed, laned and always filled with chlorine. Lakes, rivers and oceans – no lanes, colours ranging from yellow through to black, weed, fish, temperatures, often you cannot even see your hand in the water let alone the bottom or sides, couple this with wind, rain and sunshine and its easy to see why so many are drawn to its attractions. However all of the above can wreak havoc with your style, speed and the distance you can swim.
So with that in mind, I am permanently on the hunt for new venues to try (and hopefully fall in love with). Last year I found just that venue, through a series of spring water races organised by Davy Newell from Adventure Challenge solutions, (www.adventure-challenge-solutions.co.uk). Races, OW clinics, and open afternoons take place in the stunning setting of a limestone quarry, which could sound ominous but let me let you the water is spring fed and crystal clear, the temperature are consistently warm throughout the summer and autumn, lengthening the season. The height of the quarries walls mean that there is virtually no breeze, no current or tides. In short it is the closest replication of pool conditions you could achieve. The series and conditions are perfect for all abilities and levels of swimmer. Events held are extremely family orientated, and for those wanting to introduce children to open water you could not get a more perfect introduction. Swimming at whatever speed you choose, you will not only see the beautiful fish (I have yet to see the elusive Sturgeon!) but also a variety of interesting objects placed for the divers and swimmers alike, such as numerous boats in varying sizes several helicopters and fairground horses and even gnomes.
Adults and children will relish the clean clear water, (I’ve swallowed loads with no ill effects). Water temperature, visibility and quality are rigorously checked and posted on the website so swimmers can check before they travel. For those requiring a break before ‘double dipping’ there is no requirement to change out of your wetsuit as the club house welcomes one and all. Families and friends can have a bird’s eye view from the club house or come down to the water to cheer on and get those essential photos as us swimmers literally pass right by you. Entry into and out of the water is by way of a natural gentle pebbled slope and having had several foot injuries whilst attempting to get out of lakes at speed it can only be seen as another bonus. The wonderful temperatures really do aid with maintaining your ‘pool’ speed and style so for those like me who are always seeking a new PB this could be the place for you, everyone however gets a round of applause and a congratulatory cheer on exiting the water. Swimmers then head to hot showers (for once only to wash off the smell ) and immaculate changing rooms. You can even extend your season by doing the ‘Dip in the Dark’ glow sticks at the ready the hardy (or just plain mad!) jump in for a lap of the quarry, follows by fireworks, hot food and drinks, and as with all events there is never any hurry to leave as swimmers proceed with post swim analysis and families sit around to congratulate. A truly magical experience each and every time in an amazing setting, highly recommended and well worth the trip...once you have been once you will return and bring your friends.