wildwomanswimming

One woman's wild swimming adventures in the west country

Archive for the tag “Daniel Start”

Juicy Spring River

WWS Submerged

WWS Submerged

Fairy Tree House

Fairy Tree House

A day of whipped wind, wispy clouds and watery blue skies. Honey is frisky; I feel heavy, chilled and tired. She decides on a trip to the Double Dart. We walk from Dartmeet and I’m soon sweating through my t-shirt and summer fleece. Honey skits along, paddling and snuffling among the tree roots. It smells of spring.

Honey Rootles

Honey Rootles

Honey's Twin Checks Me Out

Honey’s Twin Checks Me Out

We rootle around, picking our way through juicily-mossed tumbles of clitter, exploring sculptural stumps and dams left by the incredible winter spates. One dam is at least ten feet above the river level, a wicker wall of bleached, fractured tree limbs and wads of washed-out grass, twigs and bracken, curved like a river current. A speeding toad passes us then dives into a bed of crumpled oak leaves.

A couple are frying bacon on the flat rock from where I meant to swim. The two wide pools here are smooth as satin with every stone and twig visible from the path above.

Since Honey’s summer claim to fame of wolfing the gourmet lunch of Daniel Start’s friends while we swam and chatted in Sharrah Pool, I’ve been hyper-alert to such doggy temptation. We go in further down, sinking through heaped sub aqua sand dunes. The current pulls hard and swamps my grey mood with water the colour and sweetness of Sauternes. There’s a perfect level of nip; it’s far warmer than last week when I struggled to stay in.

Turquoise Tinged Cascade

Turquoise Tinged Cascade

I scramble out and walk up to the narrows, where there’s an unexpected turquoise hue. It’s an easy slide down the mossy rocks into the cascade where I swoosh, suspended in a cloud of bubbles, knees and hip smarting where frozen skin connects with rock. The river rolls me to the eddy. Bumble bees buzz past followed by a low-flying chinook, both sensed rather than heard, the difference between them mostly one of scale. I wade to the bank and my cold water tan burns. We wander back upstream while the roar of the river swirls into birdsong.

Flood Dam Sculpture

Flood Dam Sculpture

Swooshing

Swooshing

Spring Reflections

Spring Reflections

Wild Swimming France – Book review

Sitting in my rocking chair looking out through driving rain over a chilly grey Dartmoor landscape, I opened Daniel Start’s latest book: Wild Swimming France and was immediately entranced and transported to a dream-world of sun and turquoise water cascading into fairytale pools. Each new page elicited gasps and little excited dances, to the point that my neighbours must have wondered what I was doing. This book is pure wild swimming porn.

I have two of Daniel’s other, British-based books, Wild Swimming; and Wild Swimming Coast which have proved invaluable in my explorations of local swimming spots and so I fully expected Wild Swimming France to contain similarly wonderful photos and useful information. I wasn’t prepared for the range and beauty of the watery environments across central and southern France, which Daniel has spent three years of hard graft discovering and swimming in.

The book covers every type of inland waterworld a wild swimmer could wish for: voluptuous, turquoise Corsican river pools nestling in white rock; wide, leaf-shaded Loire tributaries overlooked by Chateaux; cascades falling straight from heaven into deep, dark basins in the land of the Cathars; aquamarine Pyrenean tarns surrounded by mountains; and a host of other rivers, lakes, watery caves and canyons to explore.

Daniel incorporates a wealth of practical information which includes lat and long coordinates for each spot together with directions and ease of access; he discusses safety in detail, with sensible warnings and suggestions on how to mitigate any risks, plus translations of French signs relating to swimming. There are also summaries of popular water-based activities like canyoning and canoeing, hints on where to look for your own wild swimming spots, basic maps, and details of campsites and restaurants.

As a keen wild swimmer, this book will certainly inform my next foreign holiday; it would also be fantastic for anyone visiting France who fancied making a leap into some safe or more challenging water-based activities as a part of a family holiday.

A book to give you sparkling, watery daydreams, and which will help to make your wild swimming dreams come true.

See more about the book, and buy a copy here: http://www.wildswimming.co.uk/france.html

Photos from Wild Swimming France by Daniel Start

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