One woman's wild swimming adventures in the west country

Hot Naked Men and Cool Dartmoor Water

WWS Pummelled by the Sharrah Cascade

WWS Pummelled by the Sharrah Cascade

Baking hot, oppressively hot, heavy air that’s hard to inhale. Horse flies, midges, salty, sticky skin. Laura and I slide into cool, rippling water and sink under gorgeous jacuzzi bubbles. After a while in Salter’s and Horseshoe we steam up the track through the woods where even the boggiest patches are solidifying like overcooked chocolate Brownies. It’s cooler as we climb in the shelter of the ancient woodland, and the usual breeze funnels up the Sharrah glade.

Honey Above the Cascade

Honey Above the Cascade

Cascade Close Up

Cascade Close Up

You can’t see the cascade current below the big rock, and the water in most of the pool is apparently flowing up hill in a series of slow eddies speckled with foam. We are able to swim straight up and into the falls, wedging in and feeling the full force without being snapped in two. It’s usually impossible to get this close. Muscles loosen; atomised water mists our view.

When we get chilled, we prostrate ourselves on the flat rock on the far side and allow the heat to radiate through our bodies, moving periodically to a warmer patch. Dragonflies and Damselflies swoop among the whizzing midges above the surface, a series of deaths marked by plops. Small striped fish float silver and grey above bronze shadows in yellow ochre water.

We slither back down the silty slab and glide back upstream; a naked man swims past and we converse casually about the best pools and how to get to them. He gets out and is replaced by another, younger one who ignores us. Leaves rustle louder than the river.

Laura in Horseshoe

Laura in Horseshoe

Under Sharrah

Under Sharrah


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11 thoughts on “Hot Naked Men and Cool Dartmoor Water

  1. Chris on said:

    Brilliant photos (as always). I was at Sharrah Wed evening we possibly passed by.

    • Funny how you meet people and miss people…when we were about to get in we looked at Daniel Start’s new book, and were discussing a pool he’d included that I didn’t know. Shortly after, we met a couple on the rocks, my dog ate their cheese, and then we got chatting while in the water. They were friends of Daniel Start’s! See you next time maybe!

      • Chris. on said:

        I am doing my best to live in the river at the moment. I’ll carry some cheese and keep an eye out for your hound.
        I swam/paddled/walked a bit, from Buckland Bridge down to Holne Bridge the other day. It was deserted and there are some wonderful pools, especially below Lover’s Leap, which was as far down river on that stretch as I’d gone before.
        In the wild guide the photo of Scorhill Circle is mine.

      • Aha! That was the very pool we were talking about finding…Hope to see you soon then, I’m sure Honey will sniff out your cheese!

  2. Lou Doret on said:

    Ooh Lynne, that looks glorious. Give me a nudge next time you’re doing several Dart pools – am free (often) on Fridays.

    Have leave 25 July – 12 Aug, altho we may take off spontaneously to France on a whim.

    Lou 07515 424638 From Iphone

  3. No pics of the naked men?

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