A LAKE District businessman has made history by officially becoming the first person to swim Kielder Water.

Ambleside’s Colin Hill, 43, took on northern Europe’s largest man-made lake in a 10k swim on July 15.

Northumbrian Water, which manage the reservoir, believes it has never been swum before, dam-to-dam.

In temperatures of around 17C and without the warmth of a wetsuit, Colin took a speedy two hours to complete the feat.

He said: “I’ve wanted to swim Kielder Water for many years and I’m thrilled that I was asked to undertake this unique swim.


“You don’t get to do that every. It was a great swim, the conditions were good and it was amazing to see the dam getting closer and closer.

“To touch the wall at the end was really special. I’m proud that I’ve done it.”

Mr Hill is the face behind ChillSwim, which is involved with open water swimming worldwide and is also the UK and former world winter swimming champion and channel swimmer.

His company specialises in open water swimming, including wild swimming and open water swim races. It also imports and distributes swimming products.

He tackled the challenge to launch Kielder’s first Open Water Swim on September 7, organised by Vital Events.

He said: “Open water swimming is an increasingly popular sport and to do open water swimming in Kielder is a special thing.

“I recommend that people embrace these events when they can but remind them that nobody should swim in open waters without proper training and support,” said Mr Hill.

Peter Pattinson, of Northumbrian Water, said: “We’re delighted to be holding such an exciting event and a first for Kielder Water.

“While our reservoir can be great place to enjoy organised activities like this, it is very deep and cold and is a dangerous place to swim.Under normal circumstances public swimming is never allowed.

“We are working in partnership with Vital Events to make sure that special safety measures are in place and all our participants must wear wetsuits.”

Kielder has a 27.5-mile shoreline and contains an estimated 200 billion litres or 44 billion gallons of water.