Tuesday 14 September 2021

Photo of the day - 14: Blue-green algae in the Serpentine - blurgh!

Photo: Roland Turner
This little gem in central London is The Serpentine, the main lake in Hyde Park. My running club is named after this place, as Hyde Park is our home area for running. Also, I regularly come and ride laps of the park now that there is a lovely smooth cycle path all the way round. 

Folks do various other activities there like horseriding and roller skating too. And then there's swimming. There's a lido, which is a cordonned-off part of the lake where there is organised swimming, and then big events are held there where folks can swim the whole of the lake. That was the case at the London 2012 Olympics for the triathlon and the open-water swimming event. Every year there is also Swim Serpentine, which is swimming's answer to the London Marathon or Ride London. It's a mass participation event where thousands of people can swim half a mile, one mile, two miles or even six miles. 

It's meant to be taking place this Saturday, except that I have just learned that the lake has been closed to swimming since the end of August due to blue-green algae. That's quite a surprise. I have certainly heard of it affecting other swimming events I've done. But I have not heard of it in The Serpentine before. I just thought something about it being in a Royal Park meant that the maintenance would be top notch and therefore that wouldn't be allowed to happen.

There's been no official word from the organisers, except to say that they are pumping fresh water into the lake. Hopefully this will work. When I have seen places closed because of blue-green algae they didn't reopen for many months. 

It would be great to be able to swim there this Saturday, especially because if I complete the two mile-swim I will receive a special London Classics medal. These are awarded to those dedicated hard-core souls who have completed the London Marathon, Ride London 100-mile and Swim Serpentine 2-mile events. Fingers crossed that the Royal Parks Authority can resolve it and things go swimmingly on Saturday!

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