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Ready, steady, dive for the Windermere North Swim

The Great North Swim on Lake Windermere became another victim of the Great Summer Washout this year, when torrential rain forced organisers to reduce the length of the annual event from three days to one.

Scheduled to start on 22 June, it had been feared that the hugely popular event would have to be cancelled altogether – which would have been a massive disappointment for the 5,000-plus swimmers who flocked to the Windermere hotels to take part. The heavy rain and high winds made conditions simply too risky for the swimmers and their accompanying safety kayakers.

Windermere North Swim/Great North Swim

Wetsuits at the ready for the Great North Swim

Luckily Sunday’s swim still went ahead, with swimmers of all ages and abilities from across the world plunging into Windermere for races of half mile, one mile or two mile distances.

The Great North Swim, also known as the Windermere North Swim, has been a fixture of the Lake District’s largest lake since 2008, Taking its inspiration from the world’s biggest half marathon, the Great North Run.

The swim has grown rapidly – last year, some 10,000 people took part, compared to the 2,200 in its first year, donning goggles and wetsuits to brave the icy waters of Lake Windermere. The event has been a major boon for not only Windermere hotels, but also a range of mid-priced and hostel accommodation, as the event attracts all kinds of swimmers.

The reasons for taking part in the swim vary just as widely, with some participants swimming to raise money for charity – such as soul diva Carleen Anderson – others in memory of departed friends and family. Of course many swim merely for the challenge of open water swimming, the competition and the opportunity to take part in such a mass health and fitness event.

Entries have yet to open for the Great North Swim 2013, but you can easily sign up to an email reminder service operated by the organisers which will let you know as soon as they do. In the meantime, why not book your place early at one of the best hotels in the Lake District – there are plenty of hotels in the Windermere area – because the region offers plenty to do in its own right!

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