Colin Hill: Having lived in the Lake District for several years, surprisingly swimming in them wasn't the easiest thing to do. Ferries, sailing boats and park wardens - it just didn't seem right jumping in. But Rydal Water, the small lake that feeds into Windermere, is a little jem: boatfree, close to the outdoor shops of Ambleside, I can't resist calling in for a swim whenever I'm passing.
I came to love it: although its close to a road you're surrounded by trees, Cumbrian stone walls and moorland but never feel too exposed swimming there, as its pretty shallow and not too wide.
The water smells woody and depending on the season you swim with shrubby trees, silvery reeds, flotsam of pollen or hundreds of small silvery fish. To add to the fun, you can swim into the lake via a river, and through a reed bed. Parking in the car park at the top end of the lake (furthest away from Windermere side), you can enter into a clear river and swim around 300m until breaking through the reeds you enter Rydal Lake instantly feeling the warming water of the lake from the chilly river. There is an island around half a mile away and gives a great point to aim for.
The interesting part is finding the entrance to the river again on your return. Swimming in lakes is something I've loved for many years and I know organise a series of mass swims, including the Great North Swim - but for me it all started in Rydal Water.
Cat Gordon: A beautiful spot. Lovely and warm so no freezing water heaves! Plus it's perfect for practicing more long distance swimming. Getting busy now as more people are coming up on holiday. Please do take your rubbish home with you,. It's a real pity to see rubbish left behind in such a wonderful place.
Andy Golborne: Lovely place for a swim. We parked up at the White Moss Walks car park on the A591 and walked along the road a bit towards Ambleside. A couple of hundred metres or so and there's a gate to a grass area over looking the lake. Climb over this and on the left there's a tree overhanging the waters edge - perfect for changing under and stashing kit (there was an upturned boat there which was even handier to hide kit). Easy entry and exit. There's a "beach" on the far side from there at the bottom of the descent from Loughrigg Terrace so very easy getting in from there.