One woman's wild swimming adventures in the west country

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Sh Sh Sh Sharrah

Honey CheatsWe’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.

JJ in the Cascade

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.Cheeky Gale

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.

Cake HuddleCold Hurts!

Frisky and Frigid

Foaming FunIt’s Michele de la Mer’s birthday bash at Wembury. Despite the stormy forecast for 9-14′ surf a large shoal of wild swimmers shows up, including a couple of new fishes. Foaming, frothing sea and silvery-grey skies makes it difficult to distinguish between the two. We leap around and fall down holes, dive under breakers and laugh. This is the most fun I’ve had in ages; the wildness somehow lightens the relentless cold of the water, and I can almost imagine that a very late spring might be just around the corner. Wipe Out!

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