The pond depth was swimmable from April onwards, but the incentive to take a dip lessened as the cold, wet summer dragged on. At least the rain kept the pond full and the water mostly clear, though for a few hours each day it was crowded with ducks – we counted 19 one day – that seemed to prefer us to the other nearby ponds.
Finally, Peter, Cai and Georgia went swimming in August 2012 . The first time, the water was surprisingly cool, especially at the deep end, but no worse than any unheated swimming pool . The chill disappeared completely by the end of August.
Swimming was a good opportunity to move some of the water lilies which had been planted in tubs on the bottom, three of which seemed not to like the deepest water.
The first swim was just in time, because a few days later a sudden bloom of green algae, probably encouraged by the hot weather, made the pond uninviting for the week that it lasted.
The bloom then disappeared almost overnight, and the water was inviting again.
And here’s Georgia, who swims regularly in the open air in Highgate Ponds, doing some Suffolk wild swimming, after diving in at the deep end and scaring away all 19 ducks, not to mention the 6 moorhens, who scuttled off in all directions. We’ve been wondering how to limit the bird population, so maybe this is the way to encourage them to spend more time in the neighbours’ ponds.
By late August, the pond was nearly a foot lower than its mid-summer height, but it was still possible to swim almost the full length.