From the Guardian
“That was fabulous,” said Jan Rees, a member of the Watchtower Waders swimming club as she emerged glistening from Llanishen reservoir. “The water was clear, clean and wonderfully warm. It’s thrilling to be here.”
Rees, 67, grew up in this corner of Cardiff, just a few miles north of the city centre, and learned to sail on Llanishen but, like many, feared those days were gone for ever when plans were hatched to drain the reservoir and build houses.
However, after an extraordinary 23-year fight by the community to save Llanishen and its sister reservoir, Lisvane, people were back in and on the water on Thursday ahead of a full public opening on 28 July.
“It’s such a precious spot,” said Rees, a retired local authority worker. “The city centre’s just over there but you could be in the middle of the countryside.”
The Watchtower Waders usually swim off the seaside town of Barry but will be making trips here. “Some take it seriously, others just swim and chat,” said Rees. “It’s lovely to have somewhere else to swim.”
Lisvane reservoir was built in the 1860s to supply drinking water for Cardiff, and as the city grew Llanishen was constructed to bring pure water from Bannau Brycheiniog – the Brecon Beacons – to the city.
The reservoirs stopped supplying drinking water to the Welsh capital in the mid-70s, though Lisvane continued to be linked to the steelworks near Cardiff docks.