I love mountains and I love to swim, but I rarely get to combine the two – until now.
I don’t consider myself a great swimmer, but when I start thinking about my watery moments, I’m suprised to see how much a part of me they are.
I’m not a great swimmer but I swim a great deal.
The Eastern Bay Swimming Club take to the sea at High Rock Malahide every Sunday at noon, and I join them when I can. This year I’ve been feeling a lot stronger in the water after taking swimming lessons at DCU with Karl McEntegert from www.swimtutor.ie.
Lessons are brilliant, whether you’re a beginner or an improver and it doesn’t matter if you’re an adult! A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have lessons with real life Olympians Andrew Bree and Barry Murphy, at the NAC. What an amazing privilege? It was part of the coaching for the ‘Swim For A Mile Challenge’. The swim is supported by Swim Ireland and lead by Matt Cooper from TodayFM. The very brave Conor Pope, Irish Times, is also participating this year, pushing outside his comfort zone with the swim which aims to encourage members of the public to improve their swim skills and ‘swim for a mile’.
This Friday I also have an open water sea swimming camp as part of preparing for the Great Dublin Swim in July. It really is the sport that keeps on giving.
I’ve been part of a project that combines art and swimming, with the hugely gifted Dublin based artist Vanessa Daws; and I’ve joined the ‘Dip in the Nip, baring all to raise funds and awareness for cancer charities around the country.
On Valentine’s Day, a group of us ‘Eastern Bayers’ ‘enjoyed’ an ice ‘dash’ at Lough Dan in Wicklow. It came at the end of the highly impressive Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Swim with long-distance and ‘Extreme’ swim stalwart Fergal Somerville. The ‘real’ ice athletes swam a full mile in temperatures of 5 degrees Celcius or less!
Without doubt though, my proudest watery moment was last year when I achieved a life long dream to qualify for and participate in ‘The Liffey Swim’ – even if I was the last person out of the water! This year I hope to qualify again, and swim a little faster…
The Highest Lake in Ireland
That’s a lot of swimming. But it only looks that way when you see it listed. I don’t want a ribbon or applause, I just want you to know that you don’t have to be an elite swimmer to enjoy lots of swimming adventures.
My latest swimming adventure is a biggie, and I’m certainly aiming high. This is my chance to combine my love for swimming and my love for mountains, and raise a little awareness for Nepal Earthquake Relief.
I want to climb Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil, and then swim in Ireland’s highest (and probably coldest) lake; the beautiful Lake Cummeenoughter which is high up on the mountain near O’Shea’s Gully. The biggest problem will be how cold I get, and how to warm up properly so that I can climb back down the mountain safely. But I’ve got great people looking out for me.
‘Mr Carauntoohil’ Pat Falvey is coming along and there’s a rumour he’s going to swim as well! Climbing buddy Ronan Friel from Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue has promised to bring a flask of warm tea – he’s just back from Everest and was in Kathmandu when the earthquake struck. I’ll be remembering that when I find out how cold the water really is!
Mountain Leader Tony Nation has agreed to carry my towel… and maybe some of his wife Mary’s amazing cake.
My good friend Irish International Ice Swim Ambassador Fergal Somerville is giving advice and might also provide some of his wife’ Mags amazing home-made power bars. Depending on the final date for the swim, I have no doubt he’ll need little encouragement to leap into those cold, mineral blue waters too….
I’ve always been intrigued by Lake Cummeenoughter and this stunning photo by Gareth McCormack shows why I think it’s the most magical lake in the world. Check out Gareth’s beautiful ‘eyes on the world’ at www.garethmccormack.com.
The Nepal Link
I’m personally donating €2 per ‘like’ on my Facebook Blog (up to 2,000) to help the Nepal Ireland Society relief fund. You can help ‘push me in’ by adding your ‘like’ at: www.facebook.com/TeenaGatesTraining
If you fancy making a donation too, goto: www.idonate.ie/nepalrelieffund.
As soon as the FB Blog page reaches 2,000 I’ll be heading to Kerry to take the plunge… so it’s really up to you 😜🏊 but I’ll keep you up to date on how I get on.