THE popular annual Exmoor Open Water Swim has been cancelled.

It's not the first time the organisers have had to face major adversity, with the pandemic threatening previous swims and a drought meaning last year's competitors could only swim a maximum of 2km.

This year, the impacts left by Hurricane Nigel have forced organisers to cancel the event for the first time ever, just two days before the swim was set to go ahead.

The weather forecast is bleak for the town of Dulverton, near where the swim at Wimbleball Lake was supposed to take place on Sunday, September 24.

Organisers said they are "deeply disappointed and frustrated" to have to cancel the swim.

"Today and yesterday we met with the safety team at Wimbleball Lake," said a spokesperson.

"Unfortunately due to adverse weather conditions, arising from the remnants of Hurricane Nigel, the difficult decision has been made to cancel the swim on Sunday.

"Normal operating procedure would be to red flag (close) the lake to all water-based activities at wind speeds above force 4.

"The latest forecast for Sunday is for force 5-7 throughout the day.

"Our priority has always been your safety.

"Our local safety team who have extensive knowledge and experience of the lake tell us that under these conditions a swim would be both unpleasant and dangerous.

"These winds would put both you, our safety kayakers and boats at risk.

"We are sure you will appreciate this is something we are not prepared to do.

"We are deeply disappointed and frustrated and we know you all will be too.

"We are devastated not to be seeing all the smiling faces coming out of the water on Sunday.

"Hopefully next year the weather gods will be looking down on us and we WILL see you on the start line."

Hopeful attendants to the swim, which last year attracted over 800 people, will not be offered refunds for their entry fees, as the Exmoor Open Water Swim team still have to pay overhead costs for the event.