Pennington Flash named as one of the top open water swimming venues

A Wigan borough lake has been named one of the best places for indulging in a fast-growing national craze.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 7:11 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 7:12 am
Open water swimmers at Pennington Flash

It’s not for everyone, but open water swimming is big business these days. And ethical clothing and lifestyle site Absolutely Bear has named Pennington Flash in Leigh in the UK top 10.

But folk can’t just don a wetsuit and dive in whenever they like, because there are only certain times when the swimming can take place - in the interests of safety.

One of the biggest concerns is that swimmers might get hit by boats. In fact Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club say they have been having some problems of late with authorised dips in the man-made lake.

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LLSC commodore Dave Kelsall said: “When authorised open water swimming activities are under way, all sailing and safety boat activities (except those associated with the swimming) are suspended for health and safety reasons. The main risks posed by unauthorised swimming are entanglement and collisions with boats.”

However there can be problems with blue-green algae - a seasonal growth on the water surface which is toxic to humans. Thankfully this isn’t present most of the time and regular water quality checks are made to ensure it is safe for swimming.

And so the only safe and lawful way to participate in open water swimming in Pennington Flash is via My Open Water Swim. Visit

Supporters of the sport say that it has much to recommend it. Nick Fletcher, founder of Absolutely Bear, said: “Traditional, man-made swimming pools are not particularly environmentally friendly. Wild swimming is far more eco-friendly, as you are embracing nature and making no change to the environment you are swimming in.”

He points out there is no chlorine in open water and the coldness is both a stimulant and a de-stresser.

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