Sunday, 30 August 2015

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Open water swimming sessions to start at Talkin Tarn

Visitors to Talkin Tarn will be able to take the plunge from next month when open water swimming sessions make a splash.

Barry Jameson photo
Barry Jameson

The city council is opening up the tarn near Brampton to people who want to try outdoor swimming, either as beginners or as part of training sessions for triathlons.

Fifty-nine-year-old Barry Jameson, who has been taking part in triathlons for 24 years and has competed internationally, will offer special coaching sessions through his Hexham-based company Tri4u.

“I’ve been swimming in the tarn for about six or seven years,” he said.

“The location and setting are beautiful. Swimming outdoors is very, very exciting.”

Mr Jameson said open water swimming was becoming more popular, helped in part by the Great North Swim and triathlon competitions.

“It’s also an Olympic event this year,” he added.

“It’s a spectacular event to watch. There’s a huge demand for it and, of course, David Walliams recently swam the Thames.“

He will offer coaching sessions for up to 24 people on April 21 and on future dates, but swimmers can also register themselves with the city council and turn up whenever they want.

Phil Gray, neighbourhood and green spaces manager with the city council, said allowing swimming in the tarn was “something we’ve been talking about for a few months”.

“For a long time we’ve tried to suggest people didn’t swim in the tarn because of the water quality,” he said.

“But that has improved over the past five to six years after we installed an aeration system

“The demand is coming from club level, particularly swimmers wanting to train for triathlons.”

He said swimmers would have to wear a wetsuit to help combat the cold water and, once registered, be given a coloured cap which they must wear when swimming. They could turn up when they wanted “‘within reason” and would be encouraged to avoid times when there were rowing training sessions taking place.

To register for triathlons, swimmers have to sign declarations about their ability, he said.

“The athlete swimmers have to sign a declaration to show they can swim – they have to have swum at least 1,500 metres in open water in the past 12 months.

“It’s a self-declaration but we have to have some control over who is attempting these triathlon events. I think we will see a few people at a time training but not masses unless it’s an organised event.”

Mr Jameson said that a planned triathlon at the tarn on May 13 already had around 150 people signed up and was “nearly full”.

“It’s a swim followed by a 20k cycle through Castle Carrock and back, then laps around the tarn,” he said.

“Open water swimming is very, very popular.

“People can also train on all the lakes – except Haweswater [which is a reservoir] – but safety has to be stressed.

“We would never advise anyone to go out alone - go in a group.”

For more information about coaching sessions at the tarn, see or for information on registering to swim there from April 1 please go to

A new set of stone steps is going to be installed in May next to the boathouse to provide better access to the water.



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