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A swimmer’s paradise on Ullswater

​We sent Outdoor Swimmer team member Joanne Jones for a night in Another Place

Surrounded by beautiful hills and glimpses of water, as I drove off the M6 and towards Another Place Hotel, my mind buzzed with possibilities.

I arrived before check-in time, and while wandering around the grounds and enjoying a coffee I made a wish-list of things to do: a boat ride on one of the Steamers, perhaps visiting Aira Force (a nearby famous waterfall), hiring a bike and going for a walk up one of the hills. Reception provided me with information on all of these possibilities. But then, as I unpacked, and had a tour of the hotel, it all seemed to be a bit much for a 24-hour stopover, so I thought instead I’d enjoy the lake, the beautiful views and fantastic facilities. The surrounds of Ullswater could wait for another time and a longer stay.

I therefore hurried to the lakeside and went for a refreshing November dip in Ullswater as the light faded, and then dashed back to the luxury indoor infinity pool, trying to shiver discreetly as I read a magazine until I’d warmed up enough to enjoy the pool, hot tub, and eventually, sauna before dinner.

I made sure to be back first thing in the morning to enjoy a sunrise view of the lake from the infinity pool before breakfast. With two or three others, I slowly swam up and down as the view emerged from the darkness, and the mist lifted to reveal Ullswater in the early morning light. Although the sun remained shrouded by clouds, it was still an impressive view.

The pool is well equipped, and at 20m long, could easily suffice as a training pool if you’d like to get a session in during your stay. However, it’s just as lovely to pootle, swimming into the view over the lake, which makes all seem right with the world, and the perfect way to work up an appetite for the impressive breakfast buffet. This included a make-your-own waffle station, which I decided was perfect fuel for the next thing on my agenda: a cold water swim session!

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Pool with a view

The session was run by Colin Hill, a renowned and experienced open water swimmer and inductee into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. In summer months, Colin guides wild swims to Kailpot and runs bespoke coached sessions. He also guides both width and length of Ullswater swim challenges, which you can book as part of your stay.

This winter, he’s started doing cold water introduction sessions, sharing knowledge he’s accumulated from six ice swimming championships and an Ice Mile with those who are looking to dip a toe in winter swimming, or learn more about it.

We started in the “Sheep Shed”, a room between the lake and the hotel with changing rooms, a shower, tow floats and neoprene kit as well as guidance notes on the walls that reinforce the advice Colin shared. The sessions aren’t meant to teach you everything you’ll ever need to know, but to facilitate experience, to share knowledge, and ultimately to get you into the lake, inspiring you to go again.

There were three of us in the session, and Colin will only take a maximum of four people at a time to ensure a safe and tailored cold water session for the swimmers. We wandered down the track, shrugged off our final layers to reveal either neoprene or swimsuits (me), and tentatively got into the lake. I don’t think I’ll ever lose the magical feeling that wild swimming brings, especially when accompanied by magnificent views and a cold water “zing”.

We swam in small loops. Colin regularly paused us to check in and pointed out local sights, encouraging us to stop and enjoy the view, which reminded me to be mindful of how we’re feeling in the water, not just focusing on the distance or time, which I can so easily do.

After our swim we wrapped up in the robes we’d taken down to the lakeside, and hurried back to the sheep shed where we could either get changed, or head into the swim club to warm up (which I opted for), again shivering discreetly before lunch.

I was sad to leave and will definitely be back. Another Place is brilliant. Built to facilitate both activities on and around the lake, it also encourages guests to just stop and enjoy the surroundings. They really thought of everything and more than I could have needed for a night away in the Lakes, with a lot more luxury than I’m used to on wild swims.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.