How to do a lake bag- A Beginner’s Guide


The phrase ‘lake bag’ is a daunting thing- a phrase often heard being passed from mouth to mouth among the UBES cohort. But would does it mean? And how does one go about taking that first plunge and making their way onto the Lake Bag leaderboard?

Sweet freedom!

lake bag

[leyk bag]


  1. The act of removing one’s clothes and submerging oneself in a very cold lake. Conditions- whole body (including head) must be fully submerged, lake must be named on a 1: 25,000 map and lake must be bagged on a UBES trip.


Me (Zoe) looking doubtfully at the challenge (spoiler: Haz, Amy and Myself bagged this and VAL AND MARK DIDN’T)

It took me a year to build up the courage to remove those warm (and quite frankly essential when on a mountain), precious layers, but believe me, your body is stronger than you think and you can subject it to sub-zero temperatures and survive. Note- I have bagged two lakes and two lakes only, and claim to be no expert. For actual expert advice, consult Harriet Lucy Enevoldsen.


  1. At the start of the walk, tell everyone and anyone that will listen that you are going to bag a lake. This way, you cannot wimp out. You are committed to the course.
  2. Continue to tell fellow walk members how excited you are to bag a lake during the whole of the ascent to intensify psych levels.
  3. Take Harriet Lucy Enevoldsen with you on your walk- she will practically force you to remove your clothes on the appearance of a lake.
  4. Try not to think about the prospect of getting in some icy water because it is quite depressing.
  5. Think too much about getting in some icy water and convince yourself it cannot be done.
  6. Consider running away in the opposite direction when a lake does appear.
  7. Decide actually, you can do this.
  8. Stand on the edge of the lake for a solid 10 minutes weighing up the pros and cons (note- there are no pros)

    Helen assessing the black waters of Snowdonia

  9. Remove one sock, then put it back on.
  10. No no you can do this, remove the sock again.
  11. The foot is now getting quite chilly so continue to slowly take off layers of clothing (it is actually better to do this as quickly as possible)
  12. Dance around on the ground a bit making noises you didn’t think you were capable of
  13. Talk to yourself a lot and tell yourself you are powerful, you are beautiful and you are brave.
  14. Close your eyes, say a prayer, and run into the lake screaming as much as possible. Do not be put off by the stones that are most likely lacerating your feet.
  15. Submerge your whole body, let the water encapsulate you, let the coldness engulf you, and get out. The whole process takes about 1 second.
  16. Appreciate your clothes like you never have before and revel in the sweet feeling of accomplishment. Congratulations- you have done your first lake bag! (don’t forget to tell everyone on your return and submit your success for the Lake Bag leaderboard).

Take home message- you’ve just got to get in.

A particularly fine specimen in the Brecon Beacons


Zoe Richmond

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