A KENDAL charity ambassador, international motivational speaker and record-breaking adventurer has conquered his fears of open water swimming in his latest personal challenge.

Alex Staniforth set himself a goal of swimming the length of Wastwater Lake (3.1 miles) in Wasdale this year, and he finally achieved the feat on September 24.

The 28-year-old swam the length of Buttermere at 1.2 miles last year and could never have imagined being able to swim Wastwater in a time of two hours and 48 minutes.

Not knowing how his body was going to cope with managing the cold, Alex decided to bite the bullet with the help of close friend Paul Howlett, an Ironman athlete.

It comes after he became inspired by Wayne Singleton, another friend who had attempted to swim the Cumbrian coastline.

Alex said: “It was literally throwing myself in at the deep end and having a go. The hardest point mentally was getting into the water. It’s terrifying because you literally look down into the abyss.

“I’ve never swam more than a mile and a half before, so I was really pleased that I managed to stay quite comfortable.

“People swim a lot further, but considering I’m so new to this, I think it’s a great achievement. What I’m most proud about is facing my fear.”

Unfortunately, Alex had to get out of the water quickly when around 200m from the end.

“I was at the point of exhaustion where I could barely swim,” he added.

“My body didn’t go into shock, but I panicked. That was the point where I thought it’s time to get out now.”

A couple of weeks earlier, he had gone to the lake on his own with a full wet suit and float as a backup safety option, but let his anxiety get the better of him.

He said: “I talked myself out of it. It’s such a long, deep and quite imposing swim that I didn’t even start.

“I thought I needed to come back with support and accountability. I couldn’t have done it without Paul.”