Saturday, 22 October 2016


Grass Woods  is a place my parents would often take us when we were little. We have lots of lovely black and white photos of us as babies and toddlers, laid on blankets and inspecting plants. It is the scene of the place where, supposedly, I pushed copious daisies up my nose and was sneezing them out for days. 

In the summer its tranquil, dappled light shines on rare and secret wild flowers. In the autumn the changing leaves add to the evocative swimming surroundings. 

Unfortunately today the atmosphere was far from tranquil as we took five children who whined and whinged, fell out, complained of feeling sick after eating too many blackberries, argued over hot chocolate and generally drove the zen of the moment above the trees. 

My dad recommended it as a potential swimming spot but today it was slightly too shallow. And the noodles congealed in the flask. 

Not that I would really dare to complain about the opportunity of being there and swimming there. With my lovely sister. Treasured moments. 

Maybe pot noodles are the way forward. 


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Swimming places

I keep dragging my family to check out new swimming places. On Sunday we went to Bolton Abbey. 
I am now looking forward to the weekend. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Swimming with the Ramblers

Yesterday we carried on with the torture treatment. Of course for me part of the fun is planning the location every week, researching, recceeing and looking on maps for the ultimate stretch of deep water. 

Fortunately we are blessed where we live to have countless beautiful stretches of river a short drive away.  So we went to Grassington Weir which is actually mentioned on the wild swimming website. 

It is a great spot as the path bends away from the river at the crucial place and there is a bank down to the water so it felt quite quiet and away from the tourist hordes, who like to stroll along the Dales way. That was until we realised there was a path along the fenced, wooded other side of the river. We realised this when a group of about twenty ramblers trundled past and gawped at us. To be fair they were very friendly and gave us lots of kudos by telling us we were very brave and by generally being very impressed at our hardiness.

We stayed in quite a bit longer this week, swimming up and down, enjoying the sunshine which again came out at just the right moment. I had bought socks this week to go with my gloves so I felt great. But I think the fact we'd stayed in longer made getting out harder. 

It didn't help that a man with a Labrador puppy turned up just as we were staggering out the water and didn't seem in a hurry to depart. Even though it was obvious we were trying not to wave various parts of our bodies around as we got changed under our changing equipment ( aka camp fire blanket and    woolly poncho). 

Anyway after a small chat about how far labradors can swim, we managed to get many layers on and set off back for the car. It did feel very surreal ( it must be all the endorphins that make you feel like that) and took a while back at home to feel back to normal. My sister had a hot bath and a glass of red wine and said she was back to normal in no time. We're going to take noodles or soup in a flask next time. 

Anyway it was lovely. Just what was needed after a hard week at work. I'm cross with myself that I didn't take a photo of the lovely river. Instead you will just have to make do with the mad swimming goons. 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

More Swimming

This week we went to Loup Scar at Burnsall. 

It is incredibly beautiful and the sun came out just as we got in. My new turtle thermometer said the water was 12 degrees but it seemed warmer than last week. My new gloves helped. My hands were fine and because they weren't as frozen it made getting dressed much easier afterwards. 

I really enjoyed it this week. I think I'm getting addicted. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016


It's that time, when I dress myself in various layers including a heavy headtorch. I drag myself out into the rapidly cooling evening to a lonleish car park.

As I arrive I can't see anyone and it seems very still. My first thought is that no one else has bothered coming and it's going to be a quiet one.

Then over the next ten minutes various people in similar strange attire begin to emerge from cars. They mutter hellos, shiver, jump up and down and sort out headtorches and garmins. 

We are psyching ourselves up for the first official headtorch of the winter.

It is a mammoth task of running round in similar circles, up and down hill, over rocky paths and hidden tree roots, through muddy slurry, for a number of uncountable weeks before the sun returns to bathe us once again in light.

It is almost a pagan ritual as we set off.  Familiar faces take familiar paths and resume familiar banter making conversations. We stop at the pinnacle, climb up and over stiles, scatter sleepy sheep and discuss the underfoot conditions.

The new moon comes out while the sun sets, clothing the horizon in red.

We moan a little about the start of the winter. About how many weeks we have to get through.

Yet as we run, the ancient ritual of putting one foot in front of another brings peace and perspective.  We laugh at old jokes and exchange stories from recent weeks. We wait for each other and agree (mainly) on the route we will travel.

We finish on a down hill and head for the pub. For more chat, food and drinks. Our minds refreshed and our bodies stretched, we all silently realise we might actually enjoy another headtorching winter.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


My sister has watched a TV programme where they used cold water swimming to keep winter depression away. 

Guess what she's made us do.



We've been in two weeks without a wetsuit but it's been very chilly. I've ordered some gloves and a rash vest to try and keep the wetsuit at bay. 

Cup and Ring Tour

Catching up


Friday, 12 August 2016


Gairloch. Beautiful Scotland. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


Summer Runs Swimming Tally
(All different locations)

Frazer   1
Richard B  1
Russell  1 ( got in after watching for four weeks) 
Emma VDG  1- (it was all her idea)
Trevor   1
Simon 1
Andy 1 
Sammy (Lorna's friend) 1
Catherine 1 ( new participant)

Brett      2
Steve S  2
Kevin  2 ( very quick ones!)

Lorna 3
Paul H 3

Richard H  5

Emily   6

Friday, 22 July 2016

Making plans

We had a rather wam run on Wednesday this week. We ran from Ilkley but ran up the opposite side of the valley to the moor. It's always a nice change and due to some creative navigation ( yes Kev got lost) we ended doing 7.3 miles.  It was a lovely run. 

We then retired to the Wharfe at Ilkley. There are lots of wonderful swimming spots here. Just perfect on a humid summer evening. We actually swam really near the bend in the river that my husband used to swim in, with his dad and four siblings, while growing up in Ilkley. The family favoured swimming spot!

It was brilliant and I want to go back soon with my two boys. 

Then we dragged ourselves away from the silky, brown waters to drink Wharfedale Black (runs with a theme) and further discuss the plans we'd been making for a Frog Graham relay next summer. What a fab weekend that will be. 

Ania also lost her car key on the way round, from a hole in her expensive running jacket ( she was very unimpressed with the standard of the seams). But we even managed to solve that problem and didn't have to put a brick through her car window, which was looking likely at one point. 

So another great adventure filled evening, with like minded friends. I hope Ania will come again.  X

2016 Summer Runs Swimming Tally

(All different locations)

Frazer   1
Richard B  1
Russell  1 ( got in after watching for four weeks) 
Emma VDG  1- (it was all her idea)
Trevor   1
Simon 1
Andy 1 
Sammy (Lorna's friend) 1

Lorna   2
Brett      2
Steve S  2
Kevin  2 ( very quick ones!)

Paul H 3

Richard H  4

Emily   5

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

This week's swimming location

Lovely evening last night. Running, swimming and Ram Tam. All in one night. 

Highlights of life. 

Thanks Paul, for being the only swimmer tonight. ( He didn't take too much persuading). 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Hill Climb and Swim

Tonight it was the club annual hill climb in memory of Tony Minikin, a running club stalwart. Everyone sets off at 30 second intervals and there is a bike route and a run route. It's very relaxed and a nice social occasion. 

It was a bit chilly when we got to the top of Keighley gate with a sneaky wind. 

We did a bit of a detour on the way back down through some lovely woods that I've never been in before and Richard, Kevin and I kept up our Wednesday night swimming dips.

I didn't get a photo of us swimming tonight. This was at Easter so it is rather greener now. It was definitely the coldest that we've done. Very refreshing!

Then we quickly ran back down hill, to get changed and sit shivering outside the Busfield Arms, drinking beer and listening to Paul Morris' political analysis of Brexit, which was of course brilliant and cheered me up. 

Thursday, 23 June 2016


I still haven't finished my research about who's done the most Wednesday nights. It must be a while the way that some rituals are set in stone. 

It's always nice to get out mid way through the week but some Wednesdays are extra special. Last night we ran on Ilkley Moor (5.7 miles I'm told). It's all very runnable on top of the moor. It was a lovely evening with sunshine, curlews shouting at us, long grass and great views. 

The fact we'd put our foot ( or feet) down meant that we had plenty of time for a quick dip in one of the old reservoirs up at the top before racing back to the pub to get changed and sit out watching the sunset while drinking fab beer. 

Almost made me think that  things might turn out alright after all. 

( Although every male member of the group moaned about how expensive the beer was).

Thursday, 16 June 2016

On the way to the crag

Sometimes I like the repetitive nature of Wednesday summer runs. It's ten years in September since I did my first Wednesday summer run. I wonder what the record is?

Last night was Embsay and despite a little bit of road at the beginning,  it was a very nice loop (5.5) to the top of the crag.  Although they wouldn't entertain any swimming ideas this week. They said the reservoir looked too cold.