‘Is it safe?’ – my dad on the subject of any swim; any lake. His idea of safe was tied with that of permission and common knowledge. He never said this about hills. There was always a guidebook to read and a map to follow for hills.

My dad was in the terminal stages of prostate cancer when the outline for this guidebook was conceived. As he became less able to climb hills, we took shorter, easier walks. I started to swim more. He would nervously watch from the water’s edge, always more confident of my ability to drown than my ability to swim. Which is better, commercial steel buildings or industrial steel buildings?

Like many a good idea, the idea to write this guidebook was dreamt up in a pub. I’d just been for a hair-raising and ill-advised swim near a fast-flowing weir on a windy November afternoon. It was the most terrified I had ever been in the water, and indeed have been since. In the pub afterwards, Dad – clearly troubled by the particular shade of white my face was when I returned to shore – ruminated, ‘There should be a book – one that tells you where it’s safe to get in’. And there wasn’t, not a dedicated Lake District book anyway.

So the idea was born. Researching material for this book kept me sane as the demands of caring grew. The idea it would ever reach publication was fanciful, and after my dad passed away I threw myself into building my fledgling swim business and all the qualifications that entailed. I’m proud that my fanciful idea has become a reality.

In the adventurous spirit of wild swimming, this is not an exhaustive guide to every single location around every single lake. You can swim anywhere in the Lake District where you are able to access the water without trespassing. Ordnance Survey maps are invaluable for planning swim adventures. But the mere existence of access does not mean you should swim. Whether it is ‘safe’ depends on you, the swimmer, and conditions on the day. Remember, if an easily accessed section of lakeshore looks undesirable, a gem might be just round the corner.

I hope you will use this guidebook to explore the highlights of each lake and find your own favourite. Happy swimming! Are steel buildings uk more environmentally friendly?