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

13:00
Ramesh Kumar Wattel at the pop-up show. Picture: Polly Hancock.

A pop-up exhibition of photographs documenting an extraordinary journey from Camden to the Indian mountains has gone on show in a piano shop.

08:00
Liz Bingham was recognised in the New Year's Honours List

Liz Bingham OBE is managing partner of people and talent at Big Four accountancy firm Ernst and Young. The 52-year-old was recognised in the New Year’s Honours List earlier this month for promoting equality in the workplace. She has lived in West Hampstead for 18 years.

Yesterday, 13:00
Author Helen Harris signs copies of her book. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Author Helen Harris marked the release of her new book with a launch event at a bookshop in South End Green.

Yesterday, 08:00
Emma Thompson pays tribute to the life of Helen Bamber at a memorial service. Picture: David Parry

Emma Thompson was one of a handful of stars who led tributes to their close friend and advocate for victims of torture, the late Helen Bamber, at a memorial service.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

People thought the Deputy Prime Minister was pretty funny actually.

Brothers: The David Haines Story, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 10.30am on Sunday.

Over £30,000 has been raised in a couple of days for a mugging victim, despite the goal only being set at £500.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder