Lake Windermere: Fell Foot to Wray Castle

10 miles. 9 hours. One huge mental challenge.

As we set off into the mist we had no idea how hard it would be…

windermere swim  12

It was without doubt the hardest thing we have EVER done. 

I think both of us doubted whether we would make it and I don’t think we could have done it for any other reason.

The first few miles were chilly, but it seemed like an adventure…

After a few hours, despite the amazing scenery and the fly past from the Red Arrows, it began to seem less fun… actually it began to feel like a hellish nightmare! All I wanted was to lie down on firm ground… At the halfway point I was dizzy and shivering uncontrollably! But Alice and I both knew (and Luke kindly reminded her at regular intervals) “if you don’t swim, you won’t get there”! So we kept going. Actually it was too cold to rest so slow and steady seemed the only way. I tried to deceive my body that it was warm by imagining that I was swimming in a huge vat of chicken stew… it actually kind of helped 🙂

Miles 7, 8 and 9 were the hardest as the wind had picked up and there was a lot of boat traffic so it felt like we kept swimming, but weren’t making any progress and as the water was at it’s deepest I was terrified that i was going to freeze to death! I think I had three mars bars in the space of an hour! Helpfully my paddler thought it would be motivational to lie about the distances – so when I had done nearly 8 miles I was told I had done only 6… Possibly the most demotivating lie I have ever heard!! I was NOT happy!!

Finally the red balloons came into sight and it seemed like we would make it. But the actual finish was around the corner and it took what felt like an age to get there… Mummy was waiting and both Alice and I were sobbing as she helped us scramble out of the water and collapse onto the matting provided for exactly that purpose! I have never felt such relief.

To be honest I think the day was almost hardest for Mummy – she must have been so worried and she had to rush around the lake from side to side to watch us as we struggled along. It actually takes well over half an hour to drive from Newby Bridge to Ambleside, which is some indication of the distance we’re talking about!

It certainly felt like Daddy was watching over us and giving us the strength that we needed. I don’t think we would have made it under any other circumstances…

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There are so many people we would like to thank and so much more to say… but perhaps that is for another day.

For now it is still hard to believe that it is over and we made it… As Clint Eastwood would say

“Let’s not go and ruin it by thinking too much”

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4 thoughts on “Lake Windermere: Fell Foot to Wray Castle

  1. Suzie Hall

    Words fail us girls – what an incredible and awesome achievement. You are not your father’s daughters for nothing – you can now conquer the world. What a remarkable legacy. His spirit drove you on and you must and should be so very proud. Congratulations, well done and fondest love.
    Suzie and Ian

  2. Massive congrats – well done.

  3. Graeme Weston

    A mental challenge indeed – wow! Your words and pictures bring the Windermere swim to life as completely as I imagine possible. Although it’s hard to know everything you must have been thinking and feeling as you swam – tired and cold and seemingly in an ‘other worldly’ state – your account was totally captivating and inspiring. As you said, the spirit and guidance of your Dad must have felt very close to get you through this. And well done Sarah for keeping the girls in your sights – and well done Luke for all your encouragement! I wish I was there in person to see you finish but it is great to read about your extraordinary achievement yesterday – and indeed to have been able to follow the whole journey. Well done, congratulations and sending all my love, Graeme

  4. Super amazing achievement, dear Westons. 9 hours swimming in a cold English lake takes guts and fierce mental focus. Running around the shorelines making sure your babies are safe is likely every bit as exhausting. Well done. It’s so impressive. Your Dad’s achievements continue to grow through the scope and power of your lives, so well imagined. What a beautiful narrative you are writing. Sending you all love. In hearty admiration. Douglas

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