Waterlog Reswum

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“There can new few more inspiring sights than the oak–wood that crowds the water’s edge and spills over the Helford River, stretching out branches far over the narrow strip of beach that disappears under a spring tide when the river is brim full.” Still damp from our swim in the harbour at Fowey, Molly and I are now locked in a race against the setting sun as we wind our way along… Read More

“That afternoon I swam out into the harbour mouth, just to get a feel of the water and currents, I hadn’t intended it to be more than a short trial run, but was just settling nicely into the rhythm of the swim, and deciding that I might as well keep going, when I was suddenly intercepted by the coastguard.” Molly and I park up in Fowey slightly delirious, spilling out of the… Read More

“As the tide receded, Camber was all sand–pools, lagoons and impromptu sand rivers snaking to the tideline…The sea, brown with churned sand, was marginally warmer than at Dungeness, but still cold.” The pop of rifle fire crackles over the never–ending breeze as we cycle past the MOD firing range and back towards Camber. The bike ride to Dungeness had been fun, if a touch blustery, but this is pure torture. In low… Read More

“…to tell the truth, I was really quite nervous about this swim. This was my first big industrial river, running right through the heart of the most densely populated part of Kent.” As soon as I catch my first glimpse of the Medway, I know I won’t be swimming across it. There’s a sweaty summer heat, school holiday fever buzzing through the riverside park as parents and kids slurp on mid–morning ice… Read More

“I was never going to find a canal in better weather conditions than this, so I stopped the car, crossed a field to a lock, and went up the towpath to a quiet spot, wondering about old bicycles, prams and supermarket trolleys on the canal bed. I didn’t dive. I went into the chocolate water feet first…” After the disappointment of failing to find the tufa pool on Cowside Beck, the thought… Read More

“At length I came upon a small spinney of ash by the banks, and the promising sound of a waterfall. And there, just below, was the elusive tufa pool and the sparkle of animated water chasing its tail around it…I stripped and dived in. It was so cold I might have flung myself into a bed of nettles.” After my stolen swim at Beezley, Dave slowly inches the car up the ‘cruel… Read More

“That evening, I swam alone at night fall in one of the village swimming holes: the black pool below the beezley Falls on the River Doe. The falls drop twenty feet down rock walls to a deep pool with wooded cliffs rising perpendicular either side of it for forty feet.” Stuffed after a supremely unhealthy lunch at the cavers’ cafe in Ingleton, limbs quietly throbbing following my quick smart dip at the… Read More

“At Kirkby Lonsdale that afternoon, a hot wind ruffled the blanket of Virginia creeper on the walls of the Royal Hotel by the town square…I swam down past the town parkland, then in faster water that surged through giant dark–grey boulders towards the stone–arched devil’s bridge.” Two bikers scoff bacon butties on the dry–stone wall, their beards ruffled slightly by a light breeze. Grabbing the rucksacks from the boot of the car,… Read More

“I arrived in the mid–morning on an enchanting south–facing grassy hillside, swooping down to the riverside through a sheltered little water meadow almost within sight of the old castle at Farleigh…There wasn’t a soul about; everyone was at work, but I had been told to help myself to a swim anyway.” The path stops dead about a mile out of Trowbridge. From here on, it’s a case of nestling as close as… Read More

“Earlier, we had all picnicked on Mothecombe Beach together, to the west of the estuary, and Mike and I had swum in the bay. It was a Private Day at the beach, which meant that only bona fide local villagers from Holbeton were allowed access.” With the River Erme to our left and the tide rising, we make our way quickly down to Mothecombe Beach. It’s Sunday, a public day, and so… Read More