Saturday, 29 October 2016

Moving Forward

Moving forward was rather difficult to do today, during our weekly swim, as the water was flowing very quickly.  It must have rained in the night because it was quite warm and lovely while we swam including brief bursts of sunshine.

The whole event was even more farcical than usually because my sister not only brought her three unenthusiastic children again but also brought her new six months old bouncy lurcher puppy. 

This creature just roamed around, bouncing while we were in the water. Which was fine, until another young Labrador came to join in and ran off with my asics running shoe.  We laughed hysterically in the water for a while leaving the children to try to control the dog. When this proved impossible my sister exited the water in her bikini to try and chase the dog until she got it on the lead. 

Because we were at Bolton Abbey a small crowd of onlookers had collected to gawp unashamedly at the spectacle. 

There was also another minor incident when three of us couldn't get the pop up tent ( another bargain purchase to add to the swimming equipment collection) back into the bag when we were trying to pack up. But we managed eventually with the aid of the instructions. 

Anyway it was a funny swim. The laughter was as invigorating as the water. It was twelve degrees, a bit too shallow again and far too many spectators at Bolton Abbey but I just wanted to try it and tick it off the list. My sister in law joined us, which was nice and her daughter took embarrassing photos from the bank. 

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 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