Thousands take part in Windermere's Great North Swim despite poor weather conditions

Thousands of participants take part in the Great North Swim despite the grey weather and strong winds. Credit: Great Run Company

Thousands of people have taken part in the Great North Swim despite poor weather conditions over the weekend.

Scheduled to be a three-day event, it only lasted for two after the Saturday programme had to be cancelled due to strong winds.

The annual event at Brockhole on Windermere is the biggest open water swim in the UK.

Owen Ryan was one of those taking part in memory of his sister-in-law and renowned radio presenter Lisa Shaw, who died last year.

He was raising money for the charity Lisa Shaw's Little 'Uns which was set up in her honour.

Mr Ryan said: "Family meant everything to her and her little boy is blessed with unflinching love and support as he comes to terms with life without his beautiful mum.

"Lisa Shaw's Little 'Uns' aims to raise money to fund holidays, activities and creative outlets for children who have lost a parent but do not have the financial means to pay for them.

"We want to give all bereaved kids experiences that can help them smile and laugh again."

Owen Ryan with his finishers medal Credit: Joel Jameson

In preparation for the day, Owen received some first-hand coaching from the open water swimming coach Graham Walton, who also knew Lisa.

Mr Ryan said: "He’s incredibly experienced having swum the channel before.

"He showed me the ropes and gave me some very valuable advice - acclimatise in the water before you head off on the swim. It made all the difference."

The Great North Swim caters for all ages and abilities with distances ranging from 250m up to the 'marathon' 10k swim for those who are more experienced.

Event Director Colin Murphy said: "We’d like to say a huge congratulations to everyone who took part across the weekend and completed their swim in some pretty challenging conditions.

"Despite our best efforts to go ahead, Saturday’s events were cancelled due to strong gusting winds, we understand this was disappointing for those who weren’t able to take part, but the safety and well-being of our participants is always our number one priority.

"We’d like to say a big thanks to our partners the Lake District National Park and our brilliant volunteers and safety crew, who helped us deliver the event under such challenging circumstances."

Anyone who was unable to swim this year due to the weather conditions will have their entries rolled over to next year - between 9 and 11 June - or they can get a refund.