We’ve had several days of positively spring-like weather, and so we set off for Sharrah Pool warmed intermittently by sunlight through the bare branches. Following the late freeze there isn’t so much an unfurling of leaves as a tentative peeking of leaf buds which continue to hug themselves just in case.
The Double Dart is not too full for the time of year and her depths are clear and amber, although there is still a suspiciously chilly-looking greenish-blue tinge around the rapids. We have two temperature takers who say 9°c and 8°c, but it feels colder than that to my stunned body which attempts to shrink inside itself as I slide in. Several of us shriek. Honey cheats by wearing her fur coat.
I swim up and am more or less acclimatised by the upper cascade, where JJ forges across and clings to the far side. The water is gorgeously foaming and sparkling in the sunshine. I go in off an incredibly slippery rock and flail past in the rapid grinning and sinking as the energy fizzes through the needles of icy heat in my skin. I pass everyone else on the way up, faces dancing with light reflected from the choppy surface, hair ruffled by the cheeky gusts of wind funneling down the gorge.
Afterwards we scoff a trio of cakes: gin-soaked lemon drizzle courtesy of JJ, chocolate from Helen, and Jackie’s colourful dried-fruit fest. I’m grateful for the warmth of my lovely Mammot hoody until Rachel, wrapped in a capacious white robe and carrying a Lightsabre, tells me I resemble a sperm.