As I am sat here writing this all I can think is, as the title suggests, there is Another place I would rather be. Let me explain......
This week I have been up in the beautiful Ullswater in the Lake District, working with open water royalty Colin Hill on our first ever joint swim camp.
We stayed at the most magnificent Another Place hotel (I hope you liked what I did there with the title!) If you have not been there before it is simply a slice of heaven in the shape of a hotel. The hotel sits on the lakes edge with the breathtaking views up Ullswater into the Fells beyond. The hotel has an Indoor pool and spa, guests can also book onto various different outdoor activities.
The view of the hotel from the car park.
Upon checking in, after taking a moment to appreciate how comfy the bed is and admiring the view.....
My room and its view.
I met up with Colin, who was just finishing a cross lake swim with two of the hotel's guests. We headed back to the hotel to go over the itinerary. I was excited already just in anticipation of all the activities we had planned. The camp started at 8pm that night with a Star Gazing swim, I don't know how I have never swam in the dark before but this was my first ever night swim. Picture this..... owls hooting their evening calls over head, a still and tranquil lake quietly lapping upon its shores, the stars breaking though the clouds to grace us with their stately presence and 9 swimmers walking to the lake fizzing with anticipation and nervous energy carrying SwimSecure tow floats with safety lights in..... it looked a little like this.
I Loved it so much, it was just amazing. We bobbed around in the black water with the vastness of space over head, it was just incredible.
Each morning of the camp started with a skins dunk, an invigoration swim to set us up for the day to come. The other swimmers and especially Colin and Hillary, our guide, found my wimpishness at getting in to the water hilarious! I have never really swam head up breaststroke before- I have a new found respect of swimmers who do as I did find it very difficult, however It made a huge difference to my over all temperature. I wore my trusty and very warm Charlie McLeod hat which was a dream as my head stayed toasty. After the long drawn out process of me getting in the the water I didn't actually feel cold at all, it was more like a warm glow which permeated my body and made me feel fantastic!
Each day after a hearty breakfast we split into two groups, one went with Colin to swim the width of the Ullswater and the other group had 1-2-1 sessions with me. I really loved the chance to assist the swimmers in becoming more efficient in the water whilst reducing any drag they might have. I was assisted by the fantastic Salka who was a wizz on the iPads and got all the video lined up ready for me. The feedback I received from all the swimmers was the 1-2-1's and the lake crossings were the highlight of the camp, as regardless of prior ability they left with areas to work on from the endless pool and left glowing with pride from their endeavours in the lake.
Thanks to the Ullswater Swim Place's fantastic set up, all the swimmers received multiple annotated videos with a full commentary of our dialog straight into their inbox after the session.
Swimmers in the Endless pool.
Post lake swim jubilation, proudly showing off their new medals.
On the 3rd day I told the swimmers 'my story' a potted history of my swimming career from armbands to Olympic Medals. I really love sharing this as often people do not realise the trials and tribulations it takes to become an Olympian. The venue for this was the new Glasshouse, a fantastic pizza restaurant nestled in the grounds of the hotel. After my talk was complete I treated myself to one of those pizzas, was it good I hear you ask..... well lets put it this way, my mouth is watering just thinking of that pizza!!!!!!
For our final morning Colin treated us! We met up on a hill side carpark and he took us into the river for a dip and a play. One of the reasons I really enjoy working with Colin is his sense of fun and adventure, this swim was the epitome of those characteristics. We were taken to a gorge and had a swim in the pool made by the waterfalls, Colin showed us where it was safe to jump in. It was great, I love having fun and this was definitely fun! Without exception we all laughed and hooted whist jumping in. (Thank you Colin for the joy you brought us all that morning!)
After the biggest breakfast of the week, for we all had worked up a hearty appetite, we packed our bags and bid each other a fond farewell.
I am not sure what I was expecting from that camp but it was better than I had imagined, one thing is for certain I can not wait to start planing the next one!
A couple of thank yous, firstly to Another Place Hotel Ullswater for hosting the camp and to their friendly and helpful happy staff. Secondly to Colin, who is the biggest Legend and who's positive attitude is infectious!
Thank you to Hillary and Salka you Stars! Your input into my sessions in the lake and the pool was invaluable!
Finally THANK YOU to our swimmers, your positive approach and willingness to learn and improve made my job really pleasurable, thank you!
Until next time....