It was always going to be touch and go whether the Exmoor Open Water Swim could go ahead this year.

Even in the last week before the event, changes in government policy pertaining to Covid19 meant the decision hung in the balance.

But go ahead it did, and proved to be popular, with more than 500 people taking to the water on a sunny day.

From 12-year-olds to 70-year-olds, swimmers descended on the stunning Wimbleball Lake for the event.

Michael Morris, Exmoor Open Water Swim event director said: "A massive one way system around the lake, a rolling start, face coverings in the bag drop area, Zoom briefings and no prize giving, all meant that people could participate in this event, while being confident of their safety.

"It was also decided to promote the non-competitive nature of the event, prizes were awarded randomly, which proved very popular with participants.

Claire Hann from Bristol took not only first place in the women’s 6km in a time of 1 hour 24 mins, but was also the fastest to complete the course, beating the first male, Soren Mikkelson, also from Bristol, by almost a minute.

Hann, a professional triathlete said: “ I don’t mind the rolling start as one can just concentrate on one’s own race. I loved the course, but the back straight was a bit choppy!"

The first 'skin' competitor (non-wetsuit wearer) across the line was Sian Pearson from Taunton - who finished a massive 14 minutes ahead of the second-placed 'skin' entrant.

First skin (non-wetsuit wearer) across the line was Sian Pearson (female, from Taunton) beating the second skin by a massive 14 minutes.

In the 4km, Martin Saunders from Torquay took first place in 54 mins 44 seconds, while the first female was Charlotte Jessop and there was a notable performance from up and coming junior, Skye Pirie, aged 16, from Croyde, who was 50 seconds behind, taking silver.

Gold in the 2km was taken by supervet 59 year old Malcolm Greenslade, a swim instructor from Lyme Regis, while the first female was 14 year old Lottie Chesworth from Barnstaple.

Mr Morris said: "We have been overwhelmed with the feedback from participants of the Exmoor Open Water Swim, and it is lovely to know how much people have appreciated us putting on this event in such difficult times.

"We are looking forward to 2021, and we may well keep some of the procedures that we have initiated for next year."

Exmoor Open Water Swim will return on September 26, 2021. For more details visit