In recent years, the threat posed by Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) has hugely increased and sadly, Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater are already compromised by New Zealand pigmyweed, completely upsetting the lakes’ delicate ecology and causing significant problems for lake users.
Crummock Water and Buttermere remain untouched and Natural England and the National Trust are making strenuous efforts to ensure they remain that way. The Frog Graham Round Club is committed to supporting their initiatives, therefore we must stress that it is up to YOU, as a contender, to make sure that you don’t introduce the slightest piece of contamination into these pristine waters.
How to ensure this? We strongly recommend that you use two wetsuits and leave the one used for Bassenthwaite or Derwentwater (depending on direction) with supporters/friends at a relevant support point. If this is not possible, then your wetsuit and other equipment should be thoroughly rinsed and closely examined to make sure that not even the smallest piece of weed (or otherwise) is concealed/attached. Check all surfaces, inside and out, check zips and seams. Don’t forget swimming hat and boots/gloves if you’ve used them. Other equipment that could easily harbour INNS are floatbags, shoes and tow-cords.
Good places to rinse equipment are in Beckstones Gill on the climb up to Barf (NY218263) or at the Whinlatter Centre (NY208245) where there is a tap outside the toilet block, it can be found adjacent to the mens’ entrance at the back of the cafe.
A piece of pigymyweed just 2mm long poses a significant threat, so ALL equipment should be checked and cleaned, it is vital that you are 100% thorough and nullify any risk. Allthough the FGR is not an organised sporting event in the same way as (say) a triathlon, we urge you to review the event biosecurity support pack provided by CFINNS as it contains important and very relevant information:
Of course, we recognise that not all contenders will use wetsuits or possibly only use one for the Bassenthwaite and/or Derwentwater swims. You should check your own body (and hair) to make absolutely sure that you are not harbouring a sneaky piece of weed, you really cannot be too careful.
It goes without saying that you check your equipment prior to and after any open-water swimming in the Lake District. It is important that you dry it properly, as INNS can survive for extended periods in damp conditions.
Further guidance on this crucial issue are available here:
Lake District National Park Authority
Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-Native Species Initiative