Archive for December, 2022

Swimming lakes

Saturday, December 31st, 2022 | Life

Since I took up triathlon, I have swum in a range of lakes. I’ve tried to list them below with my favourite ones at the top and getting “less favourite” down towards the bottom. I haven’t included sea swims (but in summary Redcar and Sunderland were cold, Weymouth and St Ives were nice) but I have included rivers. Also, I haven’t included lake swims in Finland which are lovely but I’ve never done a “proper” swim there.

Roundhay Park

It’s lovely. Deep. Not too hot or too cold. The water is relatively clear. It is free of plant life. Just watch out for the swans.


The scenery is the most beautiful of any lake I’ve swum in. Great if you’re doing heads-up breaststroke. If you’re not, well, you’re just looking at the water. And that water gets distributed by other lake users, i.e. boats, otherwise, it would probably have the top spot.

Llyn Padarn

Another lake with beautiful scenery. Freezing cold though, even in a heatwave. And the slippery slate makes getting in and out difficult.

Blue Lagoon

You have to love the Blue Lagoon just for Bev & Morg alone. It is a bit murky, though, and sometimes difficult to see when you’re about to hit a shallow bit.

Leeds Dock

Despite what you might think, it is a lovely place to swim. The water feels fresh. It is cold, though.


So shallow you can walk half of the swim course. It is also too small when once you put several hundred triathletes in there. Warms up well, though, and lakes plant life.

Ripon race course

Clear water. So weedy, though. Unbelievably weedy. Some of the swim is literally grabbing handfuls of weeds and pulling yourself along.

Bowers Lake

Also known as Caroline’ Lake at RSPB St Aiden’s, it has a lot of reeds but once you get out into the centre it is not too bad.

River Ure

I did my first full-distance triathlon here which was traumatic but not because of the water quality. That said, there was a hidden concrete block or wooden post or something that I kicked and it really hurt my foot.

Thoresby Hall

Outlaw X said they had cut a path through the weeds. If they had, it was impossible to tell.

Holme Pierrepont rowing course

Weedy, but also just a rowing lake and therefore incredibly boring.

Castle Howard

Shallow, even after you have sunk through the half a metre of mud underfoot. This also makes the water super-muddy. And there is a lot of plant life floating around on the surface.

Manvers Lake

Shallow, weedy, muddy. It has everything you don’t want in a lake.

River Wharfe

After completing Wetherby Triathlon I was throwing my guts up and by all accounts, I wasn’t the only one. Which is a shame because it wasn’t too cold.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Friday, December 30th, 2022 | Books

Man’s Search for Meaning is a book by Viktor Frankl. The majority of the book talks about his experience as a Nazi prisoner of war and his experience in the concentration camps.

The second part of the book discusses logotherapy, which is Frankl’s own form of therapy. It is similar to existential therapy and looks to find meaning in life. Life is suffering but if you can find meaning in the suffering, it becomes bearable.

One of the techniques, paradoxical intention encourages clients to do the opposite of what they fear. For example, if you are worried about blushing in public, go out into public and try to blush as much as possible. Similar experiments are often described in modern CBT textbooks.

Chevin Chase

Thursday, December 29th, 2022 | Sport

The Chevin Chase is an 11k trail race that takes place on Boxing Day each year. it is notoriously hilly but not as hilly as I expected: there were clearly some flat bits in it!

The race is now split across two waves and there were around 19 Harriers in each. It rained as we waited for the start but lightened up slightly once the gun went off and we began our climb up the first long hill. With hundreds of people around it was a timid start as there was nowhere to go.

After the first three or four kilometres, it thinned out. I got to the 2k point and thought “I’m glad I weren’t for leggings and long sleeves because I’m still cold”. It wasn’t until the long climb at the 9k point that I started to get too hot.

The course was in good condition, mostly. My feet were dry until the water dip at 9k, which was then followed by some deep slippy mud. But the trails through Chevin Forest Park were very runnable. I made the decision to run through the water dip.

There was plenty of n course support including JP and Anne who took this lovely photo:

The final part is downhill with one little kick up. Luckily I had heard Lou’s warning about the kick and was prepared for it! Nobody had told James, so I managed to catch him up and we crossed the line together.

It was a beautiful race and I didn’t mind the hills. The weather was miserable. But whereas do you get the chance to catch up with so many Harriers in one spot over Christmas? Would do again.

World Cup 2022

Monday, December 19th, 2022 | Sport

Had France in the family sweepstake. So close.

The mixed reactions to Gareth Southgate’s management are silly. England made it to the semi-finals in 2018, the final of Euro 2020 and only just fell to France in this World Cup. It’s the most consistent England team we’ve had in my lifetime.

Marlay junior parkrun

Monday, December 5th, 2022 | Family & Parenting

Yesterday, Venla set a new PB at Marlay junior parkrun: 15:15. The big shift, though, was that she ran the whole thing for the first time (with me, at least).

I don’t encourage pacing because that is a boring adult thing to do. Sprinting a bit and then walking a bit is usually much more fun. But Venla spontaneously decided halfway around the course that she wanted to try and run all the way to the end. And she managed it!