End Of Season Tea Party
It’s the time again when an occasional sniff of autumn is a reminder that the summer is more than half gone by.
The mixed pond swimming season will end this year on Sunday September 22nd and there will be an END OF SEASON TEA PARTY on that day 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Whatever the weather this is always a fun occasion to have a last summer swim, meet other swimmers and enjoy hot tea and cake (free to members or £3 to join on the day).
All pond users and family and friends are welcome whether members or not but as usual there will be the opportunity to join. Bring a few coins if you mean to renew or join. Bring a bit more cash if you want to buy one of the books on sale, Wild Swimming Walks and Wild Swimming in Spain.
Contributions of food always happily consumed.
MPA Annual General Meeting 2019
We will soon be arranging the Mixed Pond Association AGM which is usually held soon after the end of the season. So, look out for an email giving date and place and do try to come. The Committee needs input from members and the AGM is a good occasion to discuss any concerns about the Pond or the Association.
The 2019 Season So Far
We’ve enjoyed a varied summer this year starting with plenty of sunshine and followed by more classic English weather shifting unpredictably between cloud, sun and rain. The hot days – and they included one of the hottest on record - brought the usual crowds to test the patience and skills of our wonderful lifeguards.
The Heath staff also had to deal with numbers of people trying to bathe in the other (non swimming) ponds, a foolish risk not only because these are not life guarded but because they are not checked for hazards or contamination. There was at least one accident when a woman injured her face by plunging into the boating pond. Please don't be tempted to try this as it also puts pressure on keeping the three existing ponds open for swimming at all.
Overall, the popularity of open air cold water swimming has been surging which is great news but shows the need for more places to swim in London as the Heath ponds and Lido can’t keep up with an ever rising demand. The Women’s Pond and the Lido have recently been so busy even at 7am on a dull morning that some regulars have switched to the Mixed where the busy times are usually later.
Despite a fair number of new regulars our early mornings continue to be quiet enough for a slow swim round, savouring the impressive display of purple loosestrife on the banks and watching the heron silently fishing. Sadly, the kingfishers have not returned. Let us hope….
Our membership continues to increase, partly no doubt due to the increase in swimmers but probably more because, thanks to Charles, it is now possible to join on-line at: https://www.mixedpondassociation.org.uk/membership.html The increase in numbers was also helped by a very successful Start of Season Tea Party in May.
Winter Swimming in the Mixed Pond
A protracted legal case was required to persuade the City to agree to the club and there is always a danger that the license might be withdrawn if the conditions are not respected. The club has been running fairly smoothly for over ten years with a gradual rise in membership but last winter there was a sharp increase in people joining which was unfortunately accompanied by an increase in problems.
On many occasions the gates were left unlocked both when people were in the water and after they had left and it was evident that some members were giving out the secret lock code to other people. These issues are serious not only because major breaches in the agreement with the City could lead to the license being refused in future but also because they are a very real safety issue for members if gates are left open.
As a result the HHWSC discussed at its AGM proposals to limit membership. The meeting decided not to do so this winter but to try to address the problems in other ways and reconsider the question next year. So, we would like to urge any of you who are winter Mixed Pond swimmers to be careful about signing in and locking the gates and to challenge anyone you may see breaking these rules or inviting in non-members. Locking the gates is, of course, essential but signing is also useful and not just a bureaucratic rule because it helps members to see when they can be reasonably sure of company, it provides evidence for the numbers using the club and it provides a record in case of any event that needs investigation.
There are many places around London where it is possible to swim in natural waters and combining such swims with a good walk makes for a great day out. The book Wild Swimming Walks provides some examples and for anyone seeking companions it’s worth knowing there is a Facebook group Swim Walks where you can see walks and also short swimming holidays that you can join. Most are arranged by Philip Nice who set up the group but other people can and sometimes do use the group to arrange walks.
Philip’s walks are very varied and those of us who have been on them can thoroughly recommend them. You do not need to go with anyone as everyone is very welcoming to newcomers.