Temperatures soared this week as the area experienced the hottest days of the year so far, and that was good news for those in the tourism industry.
Temperatures reached 35C on Wednesday as Wittering recorded its highest temperature since Met Office records began in 1910. People made the most of the heatwave by spending time in parks and playgrounds or visiting outdoor attractions. And with the warm weather set to continue, things are looking good for the summer holidays.
When the sun is high in the sky, people usually head for water. This week Rutland Water opened its beach and swimming area early this year to give sunseekers a treat.
The swimming area will be open seven days a week for the rest of the summer with trained lifeguards on duty. It’s the second year for the attraction which proved a hit with families last summer as thousands flocked to the shores of the reservoir.
Tony Entwhistle, from Anglian Water’s recreation team, said: “There’s so much to do already at Rutland Water, from riding the bike trails to watching wildlife, fishing, eating a meal or taking part in watersports.
“But with the heat setting in many of us will be thinking about heading to the beach. What they may not know is that we have one right on the doorstep.
“We had such a fantastic year in 2014 when we opened the beach with thousands of people turning out to soak up the sun and take a dip. This year people were so eager to get out there again that we have decided to open a couple of weeks early.”
Subject to weather conditions the swimming area will be open between 10am and 6pm every Saturday and Sunday and 11am to 3pm on weekdays until start of the school holidays. Throughout the school holidays it will be open 10am and 6pm every day. People can park at Sykes Lane, Empingham, Oakham, LE15 8QL. The nearest train stations are Stamford and Peterborough.
While lifeguards will be on hand at the Rutland Water swimming area to ensure safety, the public are warned not to swim in other reservoirs. Anyone ignoring the warning would be breaking the law and could be risking their life as well as that of others.
“Reservoirs are often in isolated locations and are incredibly deep with many sudden dips and drops too,” added Tony. “The prospect of diving into a calm-looking reservoir on a scorching hot day is understandably appealing but these are operational sites with hidden machinery and put simply swimming in them can be very dangerous for even the strongest swimmers.”
Bourne Outdoor Pool is another place where people looking for somewhere to cool off have paid a visit. The 50 yard, near Olympic-sized pool on the Abbey Lawns experienced a slow start to the summer season, but numbers have shot up in the last week.
Chairman of the Bourne Outdoor Pool Preservation Trust Mandy Delaine-Smith said she was keen to see the support for the charitable attraction continue.
“The public have come out and supported us brilliantly,” she said. “But they also need to come when it’s not quite so hot.
“We have run an extra fun night and we are staying open until later, so we are listening to what people want.
“It seems as if the weather is going to continue. It’s nice to see the pool full. The noise coming from it is quite loud and it’s going to get busier.
“It’s nice to hear people say they are going to come.”
Early-morning lane swimming sessions have been introduced since the pool opened in May, running from 8am until 10am, at a cost of just £3 per swimmer.
Tallington Lakes, which offers a range of water sports, camping and other outdoor activities, has also enjoyed a bumper week. Park manager Janet Jones said: “It’s absolutely heaving. We’ve got the outdoor pool which is extremely popular, and we’ve had more people than usual come down to go sailing, waterskiing and kayaking. People are also coming down with picnics. When it gets particularly warm people are drawn to water.”
Tallington will host a triathlon on Sunday, although the 200-plus competitors will hope the heat has dropped by then.
One word of caution during the warmer weather comes from police, who have issued crime prevention advice.
Leicestershire Police’s lead on burglary, Det Chief Insp Rich Ward, said: “Officers on patrol are telling us that they are seeing a lot of open windows, particularly at night, as homeowners try and keep cool. However, leaving your home insecure, particularly ground floor windows, just makes life easy for the opportunist thief.
“I’d urge people to think carefully about the security of their homes during the summer months.
“As well as their homes we would also ask that people secure their sheds or outbuildings, and not to leave valuable items lying around in gardens where they could be seen. Sheds often house more than just garden tools and valuable items such as pressure washers, power tools, garden furniture, golf clubs and bicycles which can also be stolen.”
According to the Met Office the weekend will remain warm, although temperatures will not reach Wednesday’s levels. There are likely to be highs of 25C today and tomorrow, although this should drop to 20C with a chance of rain between midday and 5pm on Sunday.