at Cragwood Hotel, Windermere. Organised by Head to the HillsHead to the Hills officially launched their  Utterly Buttermere Swim this week by taking the local press swimming in Windermere. 

I’ve spent the last few weeks with my eye on the thermometer after our regular weekly, winter swims, painfully aware that we promised to show the cream of our North West journos a good time in Windermere at the launch of the Utterly Buttermere Swim.
It wasn’t getting any warmer, and although they would be kitted out with the latest wetsuits from BlueSeventy, it would still be a shock to the system for anyone new to the joys of open water swimming. I was beginning to wonder… would they even turn up?

As the blue skies of yesterday were replaced by leaden skies and a stiff westerly wind, we held our breath and watched the white horses build up to a gallop on Windermere. This was going to be some introduction to open water swimming for our guests, and certainly not for the faint hearted.

We needn’t have worried, everyone made it, no one heckled during our presentation and after literally being thrown in at the deep end, everyone charged out into the water with wide eyes and smiling faces. What absolute stars!

at Cragwood Hotel, Windermere. Organised by Head to the Hills

Surely this is the only way of understanding why we prefer to swim outdoors? It certainly gets everyone’s attention when the water temperature had just risen above 6 degrees. We were very impressed with Sue from Lancashire Life who remained smiling and composed throughout, and Tom, Paul and Anthony who went off like rockets!

Alan Hinkes OBE

Our guest star Hinksy brought up the rear in style, muttering something about ‘the South Col of Everest being easier than this’. We were there to highlight this year’s Utterly Buttermere Swim event and to promote our open water swimming courses and guided wild swims. It was also an important opportunity for us to share the spotlight with our event sponsors and supporters, who share a love of swimming here in the Lake District.

Journalists first dip into Windermere

Big thanks to:

  • Eileen Jones of Cumbria PR who pulled it all out of the bag and made it happen. You are amazing!
  • Tom from BlueSeventy wetsuits one of our Utterly Buttermere sponsors.
  • Alan Hinkes OBE for being our ‘Swimming Celebrity’ from the world of extreme mountaineering (Yorkshireman of the Year and the first British mountaineer to summit all 14 8,000m peaks), and for keeping us entertained all morning and showed genuine enthusiasm for being trussed up in rubber for the day.
  • Steve Tonkin from Truncator for providing help in the water as well as our dedicated website at and as many pre-cut logs as we can burn
  • Jayne and Mark from Impact who joined our water safety team – you can swim with us anytime!
  • Cragwood Country House Hotel for putting on a great spread and making us all welcome in their lovely hotel
  • Amanda and Liz from Windermere Reflections for their support, and for striving to keep our river and lakes clean and healthy.
  • And finally, Dayve Ward for some great photography.

Pete Kelly (Course Director)

Related Articles:

Tom Murphy’s Article from the Westmorland Gazette: Swimming with your socks on.

Watch the YouTube Video: Awesome Open Water Swimming in Windermere