BIRTH OF A LAKE
From this to this
ONE MANS DREAM ACHIEVED
A history of the West Country Water situated in Bristol, designed and built by one person who had the vision and drive to undertake this enormous task of creating a 12 acre lake from farmland and today (2012), at the age of 74, is still working to improve water sports in the area. In 1976, the man, Mike Thompson (Mad Mike) was a forerunner of the new and exciting sport of windsurfing and opened up a successful windsurfing shop in Bristol and after several years of competitions and invitations to test manufacturer’s equipment in England and Germany, he decided to open a windsurfing school. As there were no lakes around, he approached the city council to use the docks. Permission was granted and he established the school. However after several years, due to the quality of the water, which was extremely bad, he decided to find land to build his own lake.
After many months of secretly taking soil samples from farmers fields around the city, he eventually found 20 acres of super deep clay, but it was the highest ground in the area and people thought he was nuts to proceed. So he called in a strata specialist to find out if there was a water table and after checking his maps etc, he was informed to the contrary. But Mike had a gut feeling that there was a water table and he called in a bore-hole company who got started drilling. After several weeks of drilling through rock they hit a beautiful supply of crystal clean water. They then fixed in a plastic sleeve and dropped in a torpedo shaped pump. Mike then brought in the big machines to undertake the huge task of digging out a 12 acre lake. This involved searching for land drains which would cause future leaks, remove the top soil and excavate the clay to a depth of 5ft. After 4 months they started to pump in the water from the two new boreholes taking 2 months to fill with approximately 30,000,000 gallons of water. Analytical chemists came in to test the quality of the water with the result saying that it was in excellent condition for the lake and acceptable as drinking water for a small private supply.
During the following years, various water sports was introduced including jet skiing which provided a good source to oxygenate the large lake and keeping it from weeds etc. In 2011 petrol was costing more for the skis and trade was dipping so a tri friend suggested open water swimming which was a growing non costly sport. As the lake had been granted a clean water licence and was 5ft deep it proved to be a great advantage for triathletes to train there. Subsequently it gained popularity with clients coming from Cardiff, Cwmbran, Chepstow, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Swindon, Yeovil, Exeter, Weston-Super-Mare and Bristol.
Between March and Oct 2011 there were 1,500 swims and in 2012 over the same period there has been 3,600 swims (races excluded). In July 2012 the ASA regional national champions took place here. A running track is open around the lake and there are routes available for bikes on the road .In 2015 we had 5,000 swimmers.
Owing to its position, the lake is now often used as a film location centre and the BBC has filmed two documentaries and one soap. Channel four has filmed ‘Skins’ and Sky have filmed one historic film ‘Escape from East Berlin’ together with several advertisers using the water as a back drop.
For other projects that Mike has built and future sports, water certificate and the general strategy for 2013, please see the other pages on this web site.
Building the Karting Track
IN 1998 MIKE DECIDED TO BUILD A 600m GO-KART TRACK AND SUBMITTED PLANS FOR AN ALL WEATHER TARMAC LAYOUT COMPLETE WITH CONCAVES, BENDS AND A UNIQUE BRIDGE.
AFTER MONTHS OF HARD WORK AND GRAFT THE SUPER TARMAC TRACK WAS CREATED. MIKE WISHED TO FIND A PARTNER TO RUN AND CONTROL THE KARTING BUSINESS WHICH HE DID, HENCE THE WEST COUNTRY KARTING LTD WAS BORN
IT ATTRACTS BETWEEN 8-10,000 CLIENTS PER ANNUM AS IT IS WELL SOUGHT AFTER AS PUNTERS COME FROM ALL OVER BRITAIN AND SOME FROM EUROPE TO HOLD STAGS/HEN PARTIES HERE ALONG THE OTHER TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS ( PLUS THE BEER NIGHTS AS WELL)
THE TRACK HAS A TIMING SYSTEM TO AN ACCURANCY OF1/100 OF A SECOND AND THE KARTS HAVE A 200CC ENGINE WITH UPGRADED VALVES AND SPRINGS AND ARE CAPABLE OF HITTING 50MPH. ALL TYPES OF RACING TAKES PLACE FROM ARRIVE AND DRIVE TO A FULL GRAND PRIX
FLOODLIGHTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR EVENING RACES AND WE CATER FOR STAG/HEN, BIRTHDAY PARTIES AND CORPORATE EVENTS.