Search

Swimmers complain water is too warm at unheated Parliament Hill Lido’s first ‘ice swimming’ contest

14:40 21 January 2014

Parliament Hill Ice Swim Hootenanny at the Lido

Parliament Hill Ice Swim Hootenanny at the Lido

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

For most people, a dip in Hampstead Heath’s lido is bracing enough in summertime.

Parliament Hill Ice Swim Hootenanny at the LidoParliament Hill Ice Swim Hootenanny at the Lido

But now a growing band of swimmers are travelling from far and wide to sample the Parliament Hill Lido’s chilly water in the winter months.

The unheated outdoor pool has become one of the most popular places to practise the fledgling sport of ice swimming – and this week it hosted its first ever competition.

The first The Parliament Hill Ice Swim Hootenanny attracted about 120 hardy souls from as far afield as Italy, Switzerland and Newcastle on Saturday.

Proudly organised “by swimmers, for swimmers”, it featured individual races, relays and a “super hardcore endurance challenge” of more than one kilometre.

Parliament Hill Ice Swim Hootenanny at the LidoParliament Hill Ice Swim Hootenanny at the Lido

The organisers declared afterwards that it “all went swimmingly”, saying the only downside was the temperature of the water – it was far too hot for their liking.

Ella Foote, 30, who travels from Berkshire to use the lido in winter, said: “It was really good, but everyone was really disappointed it wasn’t colder!

“They were hoping for five degrees or less, which technically would be ‘ice swimming’, but it was seven degrees – which was fine for me.”

A decree issued by the International Ice Swimming Association, founded in 2009, states that an ice swim must be conducted at under five degrees Celsius to be officially recognised.

Ms Foote, who works for Waitrose, said cold water swimming is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

“It is the most amazing feeling,” she said. “After the initial pins and needles it’s a really exhilarating, alive feeling that you get.”

The event’s main organiser John Donald, 45, who runs roofing and life coaching businesses, travels from Watford to swim at the lido every weekend.

“We’re trying to raise the profile of ice swimming and it’s been getting more popular,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a thrill and a bit of challenge.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:33
The teenager was found collapsed near one of the ponds on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Polly Hancock

A pair of Camden police officers have been praised as “life-savers” after a desperate midnight hunt for a teenage girl who had taken an overdose of pills on Hampstead Heath.

Yesterday, 11:59
Raymond Simonson (third from left) and Paul Perkins (fourth from left) take part in the commemoration walk. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Community figures today walked to remember those who lost their lives in the 7/7 terrorist attacks exactly 10 years ago.

Yesterday, 15:44
Staff who treated 7/7 victims at the Royal Free attend the memorial event at St Paul's Cathedral today. (L-R) Oliver Greengrass, Ashley Baruah, Dr Andres Izquierdo-Martin, Nick Vincent, James Mealey, Sarah Edwards, Melissa Brackley.

In the hours following London’s July 7 2005 bombings, the Royal Free was one of the hospitals to receive those injured in the attacks.

Yesterday, 13:40
The motorbike destroyed the bus stop outside Chalk Farm tube station. Picture: @andi_falNZ

A man has escaped with minor injuries after his motorbike smashed into a busy bus stop outside Chalk Farm tube station.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our monthly newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder