By: Blonde Two

Thanks to some lovely photography of the area by fellow Get Outside Champion Jason Rawles I have been longing for a swim in one of Snowdonia’s many lakes for some time now. Which is why I was thrilled that almost as soon as I arrived on the train from Torquay last week I was whisked away up to Pen-y-Pas to join Sean Conway (also an OS Champion) and Lukasz Warzecha and the crew from LWimages who were on their way up the Miners’ track to film Sean doing a bit of wild swimming.

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

We didn’t have far to walk and indeed the first section of the Miners’ track has been adapted to be wheelchair friendly. As I was still a bit post-operation Jason was the perfect gentleman and carried my rucksack for me. He also loaded it up with coffee-making equipment and warm clothes for chilly swimmers, filmers and OS observers, most of whom had been engaged in similar activities all day.

I have to confess to being a teeny-weeny bit proud of the fact that only Sean and I swam and that whilst he (who has, along with his jellyfish defending beard, swum the length of Britain) was clad in a wetsuit, I got into the water in ‘skins’. For those of you who are now panicking about my lack of modesty, ‘skins’ is actually a misnomer because in outdoor swimming circles it means ‘wearing a swimsuit’.

The water was amazingly warm down at the shallow end (it is deep enough to have its own contour lines at the deep end) and I did gentle, ladylike paddling around whilst Sean engaged in more macho diving and swimming type activities. He also did a slightly less macho but most excellent impression of a Timotei shampoo advert (other beard colours are available) and I was fascinated by the way his mass of ginger beard and hair repelled the water.

One of the guys was kind enough to lend me a GoPro camera (we Blondes so need one of those!) and I spent a happy half hour trying to film that lovely line between misty mountain view and underwater visage. I will share the footage with you when it arrives, the water was so clear that it was fascinating trying to swim along and process both images at once.

I love lake swimming, for a start, you can swallow the water without gagging, lakes are often in amazing mountainous locations and there is something about the stillness and depth of the water that is truly mesmerising. You only have to glance at the Ordnance Survey map of Snowdonia to see that any wild swimmer would be spoilt for choice. Mind you they would need a map, compass and guide to safely find some of the lakes!

My gentle walk along the Miners’ track (I am reliably informed and contour lines confirm that it is not so gentle further along) and my relaxed swim in Llyn Lydaw were my first proper step back into Get Outside(ness) since my operation. What a great way to start again, I emerged feeling more like me than I had in a long time!