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Christmas Presents

AUTUMN PERFECTION

As the tourists leave and the water temperature starts to drop, it is a perfect time to visit the Lakes, says Pete Kelly

TALES FROM UP NORTH

I’m writing this on the rocky and dramatic shoreline of my favourite lake, a few deciduous trees are approaching full autumn colour here among our highest fells and the heather is at its brightest up above The Screes, gleaming in the sunlight.

I have the whole lake to myself, it is crystal clear and the sunlight is cutting right down into the water, illuminating the slate cobbles beneath. I can’t hold back the urge to drink – it tastes sweet and cool, and to swim in it seems indulgent but of course I’m not holding myself back and I’m enjoying one of the most wonderful swims of the season. All the wayfarers have gone, this place is perhaps too remote for the weekenders and daytrippers and yet I am amazed to have the place to myself.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

To paraphrase Ethel Merman, everything in the world of outdoor swimming is coming up roses. There may be thorns (such as FINA’s wrongheaded wetsuit rules), but we are undergoing a period of exciting growth with more and more people swimming outdoors and distance records being smashed around the world. One of the trailblazers in the world of marathon swimming is Sarah Thomas. In ‘Century Swim’ we meet her to talk about her mind-blowing 104-mile world record swim. For many outdoor swimmers, autumn is time to hang up wetsuits and swimming costumes until spring next year. With that in mind this issue is a pool training special, including a beginners’ guide to swim training aids. But your swimming season needn’t end now – in ‘Extend your Season’ I look at how and why you should swim outdoors all year round. If you’re anything like me, a lot of your time is spent procrastinating about getting into cold water. Our competition this month is to win the ‘Outdoor Swimmer’s Guide to Faffing’ calendar (and a snowflake swimming hat) by artist and outdoor swimmer Nancy Farmer. Check out the competition on page 23. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming. Jonathan Cowie Editor
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