The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Cover Story -

The English Chan­nel is the Mount Ever­est of out­door swim­ming: longer than its 21miles as the cod swims, be­cause of tidal flows; cold; and be­set by ships, jel­ly­fish and oc­ca­sional planks of wood. It’s also ex­pen­sive: you won’t see much change from £4,000 af­ter regis­tra­tion with the Chan­nel Swim­ming As­so­ci­a­tion, hire of an of­fi­cial es­cort boat, ac­com­mo­da­tion, food and travel. So, for a more man­age­able en­durance swim, go to Win­der­mere.

Eng­land’s long­est lake is around half the length of the Chan­nel, at 11 miles, but that doesn’t make it the lightweight’s op­tion. Swim­mers can ex­pect choppy waves, plea­sure boats and wa­ter that can be colder than the Chan­nel (it’s deeper). Nor, given the temp­ta­tion to bail out on to the banks in a nar­row lake, is the psy­cho­log­i­cal chal­lenge of go­ing the dis­tance much less de­mand­ing. There are also the sur­round­ings to con­sider. A swim among wooded hills and rounded peaks, or in Chan­nel wa­ter that stretches to in­fin­ity? Your choice. I know which I’d pre­fer. ● Next event: the or­gan­ised Win­der­mere One Way on Sun­day Septem­ber 3; from £150 (01257 251217; win­der­mere­oneway. co.uk); or the Great North Swim in June 2018 (0191 272 7033; greatrun.org/ great-swim).

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