One woman's wild swimming adventures in the west country

Polar Bear Sharrah



Polar Bear Roar

Polar Bear Roar

We haven’t swum here for ages thanks to the storms and constant rain. There are exposed roots in Sharrah glade like nerves in a flailed body and the track resembles a dry riverbed. The river is surging and elephant rock barely raises its head above the surface.

Sprinting Between Currents

Sprinting To Elephant Rock

Today is not a positive embrace-the-chill sort of day for me.  We dawdle before taking the plunge and when we do it’s like being savaged by a colony of frozen ants. We all struggle to get upstream and are pushed into the rocks. To the right is a gently curvaceous surge, which turns out to be more forceful still than the choppy stream by the bank. There is a mere smattering of natural foam; usually when the river rages we swim through a beery head at least a foot high. By now I’ve contorted into a frog pose and my stroke is more of a judder.  By kicking off an underwater boulder and sprinting between the two currents I make it to the rock.

Squatting on Elephant Rock

Squatting on Elephant Rock

The rapid is spectacular like the tangible roar of a polar bear. We sink a fair way down before popping up with the dissipating bubbles. The water is greenish as though tinted with absinthe and sets off our scarlet cold water tans rather nicely. Six degrees of wonderful.

Negative Buoyancy - Allan Sinks

Negative Buoyancy – Allan Sinks

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 17.16.34

Carole is King!


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4 thoughts on “Polar Bear Sharrah

  1. I’m heading to Sharrah this morning but it looks from your photo that the rope swing tree that had been cut down and left in the water has washed away.

    • Yes I think it’s gone – we looked but couldn’t see it. There’s a small tree down on the near bank, but it’s not completely in the water. It’s a bit in the way because there’s not much of an eddy left at the moment!

      • Yes it has gone, I looked all down the river as best I could but no sign of it, it’s possibly gone the Bell Pool side of the islands. That birch tree has been down a long while and I have been tempted to take a saw to it and send it on it’s way. Absolutely gorgeous in the sunshine this morning, blog to follow.

  2. Looking forward to it!

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