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CASE Trainer Allison Cuthbertson Finishes Fundraiser Swim in Bala Lake

19th June 2022

CASE Trainer Allison Cuthbertson has swam the fresh glacial waters of Bala Lake, the longest natural lake in Wales. 

Persevering through leg cramps, Allison completed the 3.7-mile swim in just 2.5 hours, passing the finish line thirty minutes ahead of her target. 

Allison, who teaches Functional Skills at CASE, took the long dip in the Welsh waters on Sunday, 12th June to raise money for iPads for her learners.  

The dedicated and passionate Trainer racked up £160 via her JustGiving page before diving into the 15℃ lake.

She battled leg cramps and swam with only her arms, preserving through strong waves until she reached the shallow home run with fish darting beneath her. 

Allison’s story, told first-hand

Today’s the day

“On the evening of the swim, I got a call to change my start from 10am to 7am.  I was up and awake early in the morning but managed to find my way to the start point, registered, and waited for my sign to start at 7:30 am. I joined around 30 other swimmers, with safety kayakers and a safety boat too.  Off we all went across the north end of the lake and then down to the east side. 

No idea how long I’d been swimming

“There are no markers to let you know how far you have swum and I forgot to start my stop watch to know how long I'd been swimming for, so I just swam.  I got a cramp in my left calf, so swam with one leg for a while until the blood flow resumed.   I checked my watch when I could see the end, it was just after 9:30, I knew I was well on target for 3 hours and pushed on, then my right calf cramped up, this was harder to deal with and swam with just arms for a while, but just kept going. I passed some marker buoys, but they didn't give me any idea of how far I had left to swim.  Then I was asked to head to a yellow marker, I tried to swim diagonally towards it but the waves were too strong, so I crossed to the left and then went towards the marker.  

Heading for the home run

Heading for home now, a spurt of energy, but I felt my leg cramping again so I slowed down.  The water was shallower now and I could see the fish swimming below me.  I could hear people shouting so I kept going to finally reach the end of the swim just after 10am.  

The water and weather were kind and it was a long but enjoyable swim in water around 15 degrees C.  I got another cramp as I was getting out, but it passed quickly.

“Surprisingly I had no arm aches, but my legs took a while to recover from the cramps. 

Where is Bala Lake?

Bala Lake, or `Llyn Tegid` in Welsh, is located in Gwynedd and connects to the River Dee and the mountains of Snowdonia. 

Along with being the longest lake in Wales, Bala was once the largest natural water source in the country, until its level was raised to provide water for the Ellesmere Canal - an old waterway between rivers Mersey and Severn. 

Allison’s JustGiving page

The swim may be finished, but Allison’s JustGiving page is still collecting donations. To contribute to Allison’s £500 target, no matter how big or small, please follow the link provided. We are grateful for your support!