First challenge of the year; join me swimming to Pells Pool in Lewes?

high above Oxford Street
Floaty jellyfish like installation above Oxford Street


I have been mulling over which swimming challenge to take on this year. It’s all very well swimming up and down but I need a bit more purpose, something to aim for. Back in September I set myself the goal of swimming outside at the lido, without a wetsuit, for as long as I could into the winter. I thought I’d don a rash vest, but I didn’t. We were blessed with a bizarrely warm end to the year, which helped no end, and it was really exhilarating to enjoy swims on both Christmas Eve (10’C water) and New Year’s Day (8’C water). The video is proof of my 1.1.2016 swim 

The temperatures are now back at more seasonal level, so water around 4-5’C and I am just not sure about that, so for now I’ve moved inside to Kentish Town. It’s a beautiful Victorian pool, 30m long, with windows on the sloping roof through which you can see blue sky and sometimes vapour trails. They keep it cool, and when possible it’s lit just by natural light. It’s not a patch on a lido though… today the pool was evacuated for a false alarm, someone dropped their lunchtime soup in the changing room, splat, and rather than clear it up themselves left it there, and the chemical cocktail in the water gave me a very ruddy, stingy face. But I clocked up 1.2km.

Since the new year I’ve been mulling over which swimming challenge to take on. It’s all very well swimming up and down but I need a bit more purpose, something to aim for. My uber sporty friend suggested a race; knowing I’m a solitary swimmer she thought a distance challenge might work. So, something like swimming the Channel (21 miles according to the Channel Swimming Association), or swimming across the Solent (mile and a quarter), and asking others if they’d like to join me with us regularly clocking in to update distances swum to date. I then got carried away. Pells Pool in Lewes is top of my list of lidos I’d like to swim in this year. I checked out the route on the AA Route Planner. It’s 94.9 miles / 152.7km away from my home! Imagine, though, I could swim the distance there AND swim in it too. That’s the equivalent of 5090 lengths of the pool at Kentish Town. Here’s Pells – doesn’t it look gorgeous? (Photo credit @PellsPool)

Pells Lido 2015

Is there a pool you’d like to swim to this season – and then swim in? Please do let me know if you’d like to join the challenge. I’m going to get drawing and do a lido-ometer with some other distances-to-lidos marked up along the way. If I do this metaphorically I can first swim to London Fields Lido, on to Hampton lido, out to Charlton Lido, perhaps with an honourable diversion inside to the London Aquatics Centre as it’s such a special pool to visit, and then it’ll be smooth journey south to Pells. Once I’m there I could head north out of London up the A1 to Ilkley Lido – scene of a top 2015 family day out – that’d be a total of 11,206 30m lengths.

I’ve always been a bit envious of some of the swimming hats at the lido – particularly the pink one with ‘Ferries are for Wimps’ on it. Mind boggling, I think the lady is a Channel swimmer. So perhaps through this I can earn myself a special ‘I’ve swum to Pells Pool’ hat…

Will you join me on my challenge? Leave a comment here or find me on twitter @loveswimming

(Pells 5090 – 40 = 5050 to go!)






6 thoughts on “First challenge of the year; join me swimming to Pells Pool in Lewes?

  1. Dear Claire

    We moved to Lewes three years ago so I swim in the Pells and its absolutely glorious . I did the Macmillan Lido challenge there in September 2014 . Last Wednesday I was swimming in the outdoor pool at Virgin Brighton ( much warmer but I prefer the Lido ) and started to work out a realistic number of kilometres that I could do in a year , swimming in pools, the sea and maybe lakes . I thought I could probably manage 3/4K on a normal week but do a bit more some days and in the holidays . I got to 100k ( because I could probably exceed it ) Your challenge makes it so much more exciting and I would want to get to the Lido before it closed for the winter (!!) I would like to find one that’s around 100-120k . I will start looking for a Lido but perhaps you can help ! (and when you get to Lewes I will swim with you !! ) I am a photographer and also planned to visit as many lidos as possible to swim in them and take photographs . Perhaps we can just keep swimming to all of them ! Looking forward to hearing back from you .


    1. Dear Cressida
      Hurray, thanks so much for getting in touch with your enthusiastic comment. How about heading from Lewes to Hampton? It’s about 95km, if you then went on for a stretch target you could head to Parliament Hill Fields (150km) but as both are open all year round it might be doable? Brockwell Lido could be another destination at 95km. I realise today I’ve got my maths wrong by one decimal place hence adjusting my total distance to 5090 lengths… I’ve really got to get my skates on with this… The twitter account Love Your Lido is a great way to find out about existing lidos and lidos being refurbished and brought back to life.
      all the best


  2. It’s just a pink one (though I do still have my Channel ‘Nothing Great Is Easy’ hat and lucky swimming costume for very special occasions). Brrrr. Hope you’re clocking up the miles, I swam in the Men’s Pond today through the ice!


    1. Wow to your ice breaking in the Men’s Pond! I have to fit my swims on non work days Fri, Sat, Sun so from Tuesday onwards I’ve been itching to get back in the water and rather conscious that I’ve set myself a big target.


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