Queenie, Honey and I amble along through the rain and squelchy earth to Salter’s Pool on the Double Dart. The water is chill and lovely with its fresh, peaty taste and we quickly become warm as we swim. It’s not quite deep enough to shoot properly over the shallow bit, but I manage to get a decent swoosh in the middle before grounding on a rock. I worry about Queenie, who is acclimatising for a Channel swim and is wearing only a swimsuit. Being Queenie, she goes for it and laughs through the pain, leaving a smear of blood over the rocks.
We arrive at Horseshoe Falls and slide over into the jacuzzi. I love the feeling of sinking through the bubbles which soften even cold water so it resembles a feather bed. We bob around, sink, and swim up and down enjoying the sensation. Honey likes to wander around on the ledge above Horseshoe, but misjudges it today and slips over the edge into the falls, sinking. Queenie pulls her up and she climbs back, with the broken tennis ball she’s found still in her mouth.
We swim back up against the current. and scramble over the shallows with difficulty. Even though the water is low, there’s still some force and the rocks appear to be made from ice. A couple of Mallards fly away upstream.
As we swim through the pool, the rain becomes heavier and the wind picks up. A big gust splats rain drops into the river and sends a shiver across the surface which runs right through my body. Rain drums add a further beat to the progress of the river, while the hoolie rushes through wet vegetation, energising everything. Honey goes loopy-doodle following a scent. We change into damp clothes, and drip our way back to the bridge.