A North East swimming champion has made history by being the first person to swim from one end of northern Europe’s largest man-made lake to the other – and without a wetsuit.

UK & former world winter swimming champion and channel swimmer, Colin Hill, swam the length of Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Water in Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland on Tuesday July 15, 2014.

In temperatures around 17 degrees Celsius, and depths of up to 170 feet (52 metres), the 10k dam to dam swim took Colin a speedy two hours to complete.

The 43-year-old from Hexham who now lives in Ambleside, Cumbria, swam the English Channel solo in 10 hours 30 minutes in 2009. He was also the Marathon Swimming Technical Operations Manager at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Colin is the first person to ever swim across the reservoir and he tackled it to launch Kielder’s first Open Water Swim which will take place in September, organised by Vital Events.

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 across the biggest reservoir in northern Europe. You don’t get to do that every day!

“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.

“Open water swimming is an increasingly popular sport and to do open water swimming in Kielder is a special thing to do – 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.”

Anyone who has ever fancied testing the waters of the giant reservoir, which has a 27.5 mile shoreline, will get the one-off opportunity to do so on Sunday September 7, 2014.

Entrants can choose from the classic mile swim, a 3.8km Iron Distance swim or the ultimate test – a 10km swimming Marathon.

Peter Pattinson, Guest Services Manager for Operations at 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. The Kielder Open Water Swim is a unique event organised by professionals and 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.”


1 mile Classic
(age 15 years+) £24

3.8k Iron Distance
(age 17 years+) £30

10k Marathon
(age 18 years+) £69

To book a place, log on to the event website at www.vitalevents.co.uk. For enquiries telephone 01695 351007 or email [email protected].