Waterlog Reswum

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“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

“Thirty feet below the raised beach, down a steep bank of pebbles, this stretch of the English channel looked calm but a long way off, like water at the bottom of a well. I clattered down several tiers of stones and, quite alone in the mist, dived out into deep water.” My Medway failure was frustrating and has left me desperate to make the most of the last of the summer’s good… 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

“I discovered another village pool three days later, in the Yorkshire Dales at Ingleton, built by the village miners in 1933. All the labour was voluntary, and the open–air pool was originally filled by a pipe running down from River Doe beside it.” We arrive in Ingleton from Kirkby Lonsdale as the sun burns off the last of the clouds. I’ve two swims lined up and I can hear the rush of… Read More

“I biked down from Chalk Farm to the Royal Automobile Club at 97 Pall Mall carrying my swimming gear in my usual grey canvas rucksack…The long, green pool was a magnificent, high–ceilinged Byzantine affair, all turquoise mosaic pillars and wide terrazzo floors. The pool was edged with marble and a fine spray of tepid water played on the surface at the shallow end.” Two things in life make me feel exceedingly awkward…. 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

“I passed through the elegant ironwork gateway of the Henleaze Swimming Club and straight into the 1920s. The lake shone like a river by banks of weeping willows and well–kept lawns dotted with little groups of sun–bathers. It was long and deep, as though it flowed between the canyon walls of the old quarry.” The dark clouds reflect my stinking mood as the train pulls into Bristol Temple Meads. After the impish fun… Read More