Remember when I asked you to vote on which you liked so I could narrow it down a bit. Ah… so, small admission: I did narrow it down, but only a very tiny bit, from 5 to 4. My favouite came in 4th, there were different views on the blog to in the swimming groups on Facebook and then I didn’t dare ask everyone what colour I thought they should be!
I have left the hard part up to you, choosing which you like now out of a total of 16 variations! Don’t see why I should do all the work. One thing I have made sure is there are plenty of bright ones because visibility is often an issue for open water swimming, but there are a couple of luscious darker colours too, for when you don’t have such requirements. Have fun choosing!
You can try pausing to admire the beautiful morning, the misty view as the lake snakes its glimmering way up to Pooley Bridge at the other end, the tranquillity of the scene, the lovely unspoilt Cumbrian fells… sooner or later you are going to have to get all the way in. And this is Ullswater, where it is always colder.
Drawing inspired by a swim when I was up there the week before last, at Glencoyne Bay with Francine, Rosie and Margaret. There may have been a little bit of squealing, but if there was, there was nobody else around to hear it.
On Friday it was Mary’s Birthday. There being an icy blast coming straight from Siberia, and the water 3.5 degrees and dropping, she dressed appropriately for the occasion of a birthday swim. A bikini with tassels, of course!
The Birthday Suit
To those unfamiliar with the place, this is of course Clevedon Marine Lake. The water isn’t often this green, it’s generally muddier, but on this occasion it was even clear enough for underwater photos.
“Many years ago, a very wise young man, Owen O’Keefe, a.k.a. Fermoy Fish, said to me, always remember if you’re the first to do a swim, nobody can ever take that from you, no matter how long it takes you to do it” Maeve Mulcahy
Some time last Autumn I was honoured that Maeve asked me to draw a picture commemorating her achievement, the first woman to swim Fastnet to Baltimore, a 10h 45m marathon completed on 1st September 2017. Her friends: fellow swimmers and crew, Anne and Eoin were important characters in the drawing, and although the water looks calm, and I gather it was for much of the time, the account which you can read here is of a long hard swim.
So this is Maeve, her crew, the Fastnet Rock and lighthouse in the background, and their Myrtle Turtle flag flying from Radiance.
There’s also a short video of the swim here.
On Sunday I swam at Clevedon. If you’re not an open water swimmer you may be unaware that the subject of Tow-Floats amongst swimmers is a bit like Marmite amongst toast-eaters. But when there’s a stiff wind blowing up the channel against the tide, this is what it’s like to swim here. In the mess of confused waves you can barely see another swimmer yards away, but for a brightly-coloured bobbing float. And this is one reason why most of us at Clevedon like our floats: it’s always reassuring to know that you’re not alone out there, that there are some other nutters with you who think this is a good idea.
I’m told by Channel swimmers that these conditions are good practice for the English Channel. It is not something I ever intend to put to the test, but my three fellow swimmers are waiting for their tide window, having twice got as far as Dover, once even got out on the pilot boat, but the weather’s being uncooperative. So please cross your fingers for the BCH Relay team. You can follow them here: https://twitter.com/BchChannel?s=04. They are a team of ‘mad doctors’ and if you follow the link you can also donate to their cause to fund a specialist bereavement cubicle at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
At high tide Ladye Bay has almost no beach. When we arrived, Sue sat on a handy boulder, perched like a stylish rubber-clad mermaid on this tiny ornamental beach. I am sure I added to this charming scene with my elegant re-entry into the water.
It’s been a bit of a summer for swimming hat commissions, here are two designs that I was asked to create.
The Chilly McFillies are a relay team of four crazy lovely ladies swimming from one end of Loch Lomond to the other… and BACK AGAIN! 70k of non stop swimming all in aid of cancer research UK. Their facebook page is here if you’d like to read more and donate: https://www.facebook.com/Chillymcfillies/
And then there is Kate Mason, who coaches swimmers from beginner to channel swimmer. I designed a new logo for her, complete with mermaid swimming front crawl – unusual stroke for a mermaid, but this is an unusual mermaid, sensibly kitted out in goggles and swimming hat. Kate’s website is katemasoncoaching.co.uk
Enquiries into commissions are always welcome. I have put up some very vague guidelines on prices on a new Prices & info page, but the best thing really is to just email me, because it all depends on what you want.