At one time I used to swim on a regular basis. That though was some years back. Wild swimming had been my preferred option. Over the last couple of years Mike and I had been visiting Ross Back Sands. A lovely, often largely deserted beach. We had spent time in having dips and playing in the shallows. Mike in particular was much bolder and hardier than me, spending much more time in the sea.
It niggled me though, somewhere along the way I seemed to have lost my swimming mojo. A visit to the local swimming baths had been a negative experience. It had felt sterile, regimented, everyone swimming in marked lanes, ceaselessly plodding up and down. Worse still, it was crowded. In short, I hated it.
Well aware that my Parkinson,s is getting worse, there also came a need to counter balance it. Tuesday last, I made a step in that direction. Not being a clubbable person, I took, what was for me, a large step. Heading over to Whitley Bay, I joined up with a group of other swimmers and went for a swim. They are sea swimmers and I spent some twenty five minutes swimming in the sea.
On Wednesday Mike and I were supposed to heading for a couple of tops in the outlying Cheviots. Cancelled due to dire weather forecasts, we met up on Friday. This time we had swimming in mind. Our first stop was to be Ash Gill, near Garrigill. Unfortunately the forecast differed from what we actually experienced. It was wet and quite chilly.
Ash Gill has a series of pools, some quite deep. Selecting one, we changed into swimming costumes. Mike was first in, gasping at the coldness of the water. Not hesitating, I edged in. Loose rocks under my feet made me a little wary. The water was not clear and any obstacles could not be seen. With the water up to my chest, I leaned forward, allowing the coldness to envelope me. There was little room for a full swimming stroke. Using a half side stroke, come doggy paddle, I swam round the pool. For a few moments I floated on my back, allowing the water to push me along. Really though it was a little restricted.
Overall, I was only in the water for some ten minutes. Possibly I could have gone on and swum in a few more pools. However, on getting out, a strong breezey wind was blowing and I began to chill. Thus I dried off and got into warm, dry clothing and joined Mike for lunch . Mike was a wee bit annoyed with himself for not taking the plunge. The water though did feel colder than the sea and knowing Mike, he will be back in the waves next week.
Ash Gill does not offer easy access, the path drops steeply down the the hillside. In the wet conditions it proved to be extremely slippery.
In the afternoon we headed over to Cow Green. Originally we had thought about another swim. With the way the weather was we cancelled on that. Mike though, new of a few fairly remote deep pools near to the upper river Tees.. We set off to at least investigate them. Unfortunately it involved making our way across wet, rough, boggy ground. By the time we reached the river I was feeling a little wobbly. The rocks in the river were slippery and I opted out. Mike forged on, paddling across while I sorted out my meds.
The question as to whether I continue swimming over the winter months remains to be seen? Certainly I am not going to make any rash statements. It will be a case of one swim at a time, two or three swims a week. If my body adapts to the cold conditions then I certainly will make the attempt.