Tuesday 22 August 2017

Ellerton Park

We're away in Pickering for a few days and an online search revealed Ellerton Park to be a relatively nearby open water venue. Sure, Gomire Lake at the base of Sutton Bank was closer but the reviews aren't all that favourable. Ellerton is actually quite a drive from Pickering and not open road so not suitable for nipping back and forth to!

The venue isn't very well signed but following 'lakeside parking' was the right thing to do. The opening times online are basically all day which imply little safety cover and that seems to be the case. The owner, Mr Thompson was in the car park in his pickup collecting the fee and checking for comings and goings. He had binoculars but I suspect they were to monitor the carpark from afar rather than mount a rescue, although I'm sure he'd help if he spotted a problem!

There's a smallish changing block with showers in the carpark. There were 4 of us arriving at a similar time and so there was some company in the water. Three buoys mark out a 500m loop but when the numbers are low there's no compulsion to do a particular loop, although I chose to follow around anti-clockwise to avoid impacts! I was told that some sunny days there have been 100 swimmers, which would be fine in the water, but might make the land-based facilities a bit crowded.

The lake is claimed to be clean and clear, subjectively it was although I can't vouch for it's quality. Naturally there are weeds around the edge and a few trailing branches if you get too close to the bank. Entry and exit is via a wooden jetty and this didn't give me much opportunity to acclimatise as a kayak group were needing to use the steps too. I was told that that water is typically around 16 degrees in the summer.

Swimming is restricted to the eastern offshoot of the lake usually
I swam a leisurely 3 loops to complete around 1 mile. One of the 4 initial swimmers was still in the water as I left, keeping up a good pace.

The casual, open-ended timing is the lake's greatest asset that I can see, so long as you don't need close supervision. To that end, wetsuits are compulsory which reduces the risk somewhat.

Saturday 12 August 2017

Back to back

This morning's Hatfield swim felt a bit harder than previously, I'd expected that since I swam yesterday afternoon too. Good to do a back to back swim though in view of my October commitment. I did manage 3 laps, which is more than I might have achieved. The second felt good, with a good rhythm and stroke length but the third was scrappy and hard work. Basically I was tired by then.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Derwent Valley Hike

Today had the best weather forecast of the week so it seemed a perfect opportunity to use up a day of annual leave. I didn't want to walk too far, especially as I'd found it a struggle to get out of bed. Using Viewranger it was quite easy to decide that the length of the Derwent Valley was far too much, but a loop to Fairholmes would be perfect.

The combination of sun, heather and verdant moors made for some spectacular views which are impossible to capture on camera. I've tried here though.

On the descent from Alport Castles I missed the path and was sent back by the less than happy farmer. It didn't help that there was no clear signage on the farm and the yard was less than welcoming due to the chorus of barking dogs. Of course, the correct path was evident eventually, although a little detour was needed.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

More 66m intervals

Saturday's 'long' swim at Hatfield was a success; further and faster than previously. I suspect that a goodly proportion of the improved pace was due to more controlled sighting and the rest was having more confidence to complete the third lap without taking (unnecessary) breaks at the buoys.

Today I returned to the Cofield pool after it's enforced weekend closure and completed a set of 66m intervals. The first few were within my 40s/length goal but I faded after half a dozen or so. In-between I tired doing breathing every fourth stroke, that seemed long time to keep breathing out for! Then, to break the rhythm I tried bilateral breathing again. Part of the reason for this was that at Hatfield I've suffered with the sun in my eyes a couple of weeks. This sounds rather feeble, but it has been very strong and even with tinted goggles it's been almost painful and certainly made me try to swim away from it! So, if I could look and breathe the other way it would be useful. Anyway, to make the breath last I worked comfortably but with focus. Then, to finish off I did 4 lengths.

I'm sure there must be a mistake somewhere as a pace of 1:44min/100m would be amazing for me. The lengths didn't record properly on my watch so I had to split them but it was certainly an even number and I know it was more than 2!