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Father and son to tackle Lakes swim challenge

Cal and James MacLennan with coach Colin Hill

A father and son from Oxfordshire are planning a 10-day swim challenge in the Lake District for charity.

Cal MacLennan and his son James aim to swim the length of all 13 accessible lakes in support of EthiopiAid.  They will tackle a total distance of 67k from the smallest, Elterwater, to the longest, Windermere.

The pair only recently took up open water swimming after Cal, a runner who completed the Bob Graham Round in the Lakes last year, suffered a spinal injury in May.

“I was unable to run, cycle or row and could only walk with difficulty,” says Cal, who is a senior program officer for the Gates Foundation. “In desperate need of exercise I slipped into the nearby River Thames and started swimming. I rather liked it.”

A month later, James, 19, came back from Durham University, joined him and, after two swims, came up with the idea of the charity challenge.

EthiopiAid deals with the threat to food security from recent locust plagues across East Africa. A relatively small charity working with local communities in rural Ethiopia, it uses a sustainable, grass-roots approach including education, the empowerment of women and alleviation of poverty.

“This combination of sustainable development and humanitarian assistance on a local level is where we feel our fundraising can have the most impact,” says Cal. “With the size of our challenge, we have set a target of £5,000.”

He and James have been training three times a week in the Thames in Abingdon and the River Wear in Durham, along with reccies to the Lake District to try out a few of the lakes. They’ve been tutored by Colin Hill, at Ullswater Swim Place, organiser of the 2012 London Olympics 10 km swim.

There’s a JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lakesswimchallengeforethiopia.

And if you want to help further, Cal and James are looking for locals willing to give them a lift back to their car at the end of their swims. Contact [email protected]

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