Search

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

PUBLISHED: 14:40 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:20 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 Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

A mother-of-nine and her nephew became innocent victims of a “vendetta of violence” when they were shot dead in their own home in East Finchley, the Old Bailey has heard.

Fire crews tackled a blaze that tore through a three-storey terraced house in Kentish Town.

12:18

The future of a family centre which is battling a lack of funding is closer to being secured after 127 children took part in a fun run.

The Whittington Hospital’s fertility centre is opening its own sperm bank and calling for men between 18 and 40 to donate.

10:52

A man was subjected to a “disgraceful and prolonged” sexual assault on a busy Victoria Line train between Finsbury Park and King’s Cross.

10:19

Police are searching for a man after presents were stolen from a Primrose Hill home on Christmas Eve.

07:00

The tragic death of nine-year-old chess champion Michael Uriely from an asthma attack is hearbreaking enough.

Yesterday, 14:09

The Alternative Clothes Show returned to Crouch End last Saturday, March 25, where students from City and Islington College joined local models to showcase a range of dazzling outfits crafted using recycled materials.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now