Swanbourne Lake

I adore rowing. It’s probably the only gym-exercise I actually 100% enjoy pushing myself past my mental limits on. But when the sun is out (or most other days to be honest) there’s not a single part of me that wants to spend the day inside the gym when I could be outside basking in the sunshine and turning a darker shade of white.

So when I woke up to blue skies separated only by the occasional fluffy cloud I text Kirsty and lured her away from Uni revision with the promise of a pretty location, afternoon tea and a day with me. I mean what more could she possibly want?

We ended up at Swanbourne Lake in Arundel. A place that birdwatchers and sun-soakers adore. Situated just around the corner from Arundel’s Wetlands it plays home to a whole variety of bird species, which makes for the most incredible soundtrack.

We stopped inside Swanbourne Lake Lodge after spying the “afternoon tea” and “homemade cake” signs. The lodge is a beautiful split flint-stone building which dates back to 1852, but unfortunately, despite it’s beauty. It’s a place I won’t be returning. The staff were snappy and borderline rude, and could honestly do with a lesson or five in customer service, and the homemade cakes weren’t actually homemade. Not by them anyway. I know this because the cakes in the display cabinet happened to resemble those that you can pick up in cash and carry stores.

Unfortunately growling stomachs told us now was not the time to be picky, so we settled for a scone, a sandwich, a pot of tea and a table in the sunshine. The food you can do yourself a favour and pass on, but the view is rather quite pretty, and we couldn’t have picked a better day to be outside in it.

A gentle breeze that swooped through the air happily disturbing the sun’s unrelenting blaze.
Bird’s chirped, trees rustled and it wasn’t long before the water’s sun-kissed surface had us mesmerised and skipping along to rent a boat.

The lake was filled with canoodling couples, family days out… and us.

Pretty much going every way except the way in which we actually wanted to go. I should probably point out, that despite my infatuation with rowing at the gym, this was the first time I had actually rowed a boat. So it was entertaining to say the least. Luckily in the end I managed to form a rhythm and before long we were gliding seamlessly along the water’s surface.

Considering most of the water in England is green and murky, I was pleasantly surprised by how clear it was.

Seagulls and ducks swam past us, whilst on the edge of the lake you could see the cutest little ducklings growing increasingly confident as they dipped and dived along the water. Unfortunately there aren’t any photos of them because our rowing skills are less than stealth. Bobbing up and down on the waters surface it was hard not to be relaxed as the peacefulness of the surroundings completely absorbed you. Well, that was until a flock of gulls literally flew straight over us…

Luckily we escaped poop-free. After that close miss I decided to swap with Kirsty and stretch my legs out at the other end of the boat, however that serene quietness I mentioned earlier was soon disturbed by shrieks of laughter as we attempted to swap sides and the boat wobbled enough for us to fear being thrown overboard. Unfortunately for you, who I’m sure would have marvelled at us being thrown sideways into the lake, we managed to swap without a drop of water touching us.

With Kirsty driving, the boat was soon moving again. In circles. So many circles. You’d think rowing would be simple; use the left oar to turn right, use the right oar to turn left, but it actually takes a while to adjust to the coordination required for rowing.

With our half an hour up we headed back to the boat dock to moor our beloved. And it turns out, despite my oar-some rowing skills (hah), I am 100% better at parking a car, than I am a boat. Back on dry land we decided to make the most of the weather and go for a stroll through Arundel town. Or at least we were going to until we realised that neither one of us could be bothered to walk up the giant incline that lay in front of us. So instead we nipped into a local shop, bought an ice cream and settled down on a patch of grass.

Because that’s what healthy, active 20-somethings do.

over and out,
Amy Morgan