2016 Arrived in style

2016 Arrived in style
2016 Arrived in style

Happy New Year to All my readers.

A little bit late I know, but there was a good reason for it. After christmas 2015, We flew out to South Africa for Audras’ Nephews Wedding. This was on the 31st December and it was a wonderful affair At Cranford Country lodge. An Idyllic part of South Africa with lodges for 60 people, so most of the guests for the wedding stayed here for two or three days. Great way to get to meet people and also wile away the hours in the surrounding gardens.

Another Great Vantage point

Another Great Vantage point

YOU SEE! I do have some clothes

YOU SEE! I do have some clothes

A perfect place to sit and contemplate the year

A perfect place to sit and contemplate the year

Our Own perfect little cottage

Our Own perfect little cottage

As you can see, Idyllic! Another plus side for me, but not for Audra, sadly, Audra picked up a throat infection when we flew out there and by new years, it had gone into her chest so she was unable to speak so any reprimand me for my silly antics was NOT going to happen. Like a real trooper, she just carried on and I think had a great evening, Even having the local drug Lord – aka – Pharmacist, as a sister, did not prevent a trip to the doctors for some more powerful drugs.

There was a bit of swimming done in the pool but not my normal type of swimming. More Frollicking than swimming, with the youngsters of the occasion. by the end of it, bravado was growing and there was an attempt to use the Groom as a base platform for a tower of people. We nearly succeeded

david Shoulder Girls Shoulder James Shoulder Water tower

Not much endurance or cold water training but a bit of weights was involved. With regards to Cold water, there was not going to be a lot of this in this part of the world where the daytime temperatures – at midday – was about 38 degrees celsius. The water temp did not drop much below 26 degrees.

After a great wedding it was back to Hillcrest for a few days of doctors visits, catching up with family and shopping – I could see Audras eyes light up at the prospect. Granted, prices are expensive for the locals and have doubled in the last two years. For us, travelling with the British Pound made things a LOT cheaper than they were in the UK so Audra had a field day.

Lake Naverone

After a few days of recovery, it was time to head out to the Drakensburg Mountains, to Lake Naverone Resort. Yet another idyllic location surrounding a lake that is nestled in the valleys of the Drakensburg Mountains. By now, Audra was well on the way to recovery and her voice was coming back. As soon as we arrived and had found our lodges, it was head for the lakes and, again, they were not much respite from the heat of the day but we still managed to get out for a bit more frolics in the lakes. Our cottages were located on the edge of the lake and Again, scenery was amazing apart from the mountains that obscured the view.


All cottages had a row-boat so we could get onto the lakes but mostly, we just towed them around with us whilst we swam. the only real use was to get us to the middle of the lake where the fun cold begin.

BoatBow AudsGumps Swim AudraSwim1 gumpsfall AudraSwim3

I did rise at 4 am and went out for a lovely swim around the edge of the lake. I did not venture too much into the middle on these occasions as I did not want to upset the fisher people that were out at that time of the morning trying to catch trout. They did succeed – on occasion – As I was swimming closer to the edge, The bugs did have a field day with my body and by the end of the day it looked a bit like I had Chicken pox.  So it was back to frolicking in the middle during the heat of the day and it was great fun,

Even though Audra was adamant that she wanted at least one lie in whilst on holiday, sadly, she did not get it and I even managed to get her out to look for otters one morning where we went off and sat on the water IN the boat whilst watching the world go by. other mornings, she was out walking with her sisters around the lake. he second last day, we were treated to an amazing storm. it started out as a most spectacular Electrical and thunderstorm and slowly but surely built up to a pretty amazing hail storm which saw us being battered by hail stones about half the size of a golf ball. All in all pretty spectacular and also offere some respite from the heat by bringing the temperature down a few degrees.

The last day saw us rising early for a paddle around the lake and then a drive back to hillcrest in, what is possibly, the worst fog i have ever had the luxury of driving in, At some points you could only see three lines on the road in front.

IMG_5133 IMG_5149

So, all in all, I did not get a lot of swim training in so when we finally arrived back in the Uk, it was Back to the pool at the gym and get my fitness up again before I unleash this completely unfit chassis onto the Swim Circuit again.

What is in store for 2016 then?

As mentioned above, I am back in the pool trying to salvage some – if any – fitness that I have left and will keep this going through the winter. I am also planning the year ahead with regards to swims that I would like to do. This in part, is going alright. I say in part as it seems that Henley bridge to bridge is already fully subscribed for the non wetsuit category. However, it does seem that they give a lot of these places to Charities. Sadly, on that basis I will not be doing it as I raise money for my own charities with my swims so to ask my supporters to support two charities is a bit much.

On a plus side, it seems that the organisers of the Oceanman Lago D Orta swim, in Italy, will be introducing a 27km marathon event so I have been in touch with the organisers and that will be my big swim for the year. It will also give Audra an opportunity to focus on some kayaking again as I will need to have my support crew in place. This swim will take place in July.

Other swims that I will be looking at are the Jubilee River swim again. I have done this twice and I love it so this year, I have been proactive and already booked onto it. This one will be a 10 km in June. I will also try to do a few other 10Km swims that I have done before and I will be looking at the BLDSA to see what swims they have on offer. There will also be the odd 3 and 5km swims that need to be done

On the basis of giving back to this amazing community, I will again be helping out at the Champion of Champions in Dover harbour this year. This is a Swim I have tried and Failed and figured out that it is much more fun to support it rather than do it.

I have also renewed my membership with the South London Swim masters to if you need me between 6 am and 9am on Saturday mornings, I will either be in the car or in the pool getting my backside whipped by those speed freaks.

I hope you all have a great year and I can see that some of my swim buddies have some pretty big adventures planned. I can only look on in awe at some of the schedules that some of these people have and still manage to juggle life, family, training and work.

About the author

Ameteur Endurance athlete and marathon swimmer Having taken up marathon swimmng in 2008 with the challenge of the English Channel, I then continued on to Cycle up Britain, Kayak across Scotland and run a few marathons. None of those held the draw that marathon swimming held so in 2014 I was back in the water to Swim one of Switzerlands iconic endurance swims, lake Zurich. In 2015 I opted to take on my biggest swim to date. SCAR challenge.- 4 lakes in 4 days with distances Ranging from 6 miles to 18 miles.

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