Friday, 12 May 2017

Swimming spots: Early season swimming at Ellerton Park, North Yorkshire.

Keeping warm after a 1.5 km swim in the chilly April water (11 degrees)

Ellerton Lake
This is my first blog post since I left Australia in 2014. Time to get back into it! This post is about swimming in Ellerton Lake near Scorton in North Yorkshire (Scorton, Richmond DL10 6AP). It is a 10-minute drive off the A1 (M). I have had four swims so far this year. The water has been a little chilly but plunging in gets easier each time.  There is a thermometer near the lake entry, this is usually set 1.5 degrees warmer than reality so just deduct 1.5 degrees and you'll know the temperature.

Information about the spot

Ellerton Lake
Ellerton Lake is open to the public from 8 am every day with last entry 6pm during spring and summer.  It is popular with divers and canoeists (fortunately, the canoes are in a separate section). It is also very popular with triathletes as they can swim, bike and run here. The lake is big with a 600-metre course marked out. The water is very clean and usually clear, although it can get a bit weedy at the height of summer.  To swim it costs £5 payable to John, the proprietor. There is a changing room and hot(ish) showers. Swimmers do not need to wear a wetsuit. There is no water safety so it’s swimming at your own risk. But as it’s  a popular spot there is usually someone in or about to go in. I always meet someone when I go. There is ample car parking but dogs are not allowed in the carpark. They are allowed inside your car or can be walked around the lake. The lakeside walk takes about 30 minutes.

The water is clean and clear
Ellerton is the watery home of the North Eastern Open Water Swimmers (NEOWS). This is a very friendly and welcoming group of swimmers. To find out about upcoming swims log into their Facebook page. This is a closed group so you will need to ask to join. Many of the group prefer skins swimming. 

Lake entry deck and socked foot
I’m training for the Thames Marathon Swim so I need to get some mileage in. Ellerton is just the spot for that as the course is a reasonable distance. Each time I go I increase the number of laps. I’m up to seven now.  I’m a wetsuit swimmer and for the earlier swims I had to wear socks and gloves. I’ve ditched the gloves now the water is a balmy 12.6 and going up all the time. My first swim was below 11 degrees - not balmy.  I’m looking forward to my next swim when I might be able to take off my socks.

Oh, and there is a kiosk selling hot food and drinks. A 5-minute walk away there is a cafe. 

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