….soothing confusing thoughts that come my way; easing all stress, so my spirit is resigned; to watching its water ripple, swirl, glide and wind; and giving a soft contentment to my day.Extract from the Singing River by Ernestine Northover
I spend a lot of my time outside; hiking through woods, over hills, along coastal paths or canals whenever I can. Ideally in sunshine but quite often in mud or rain. My mind is on idle, my worries seem less important, my desire for cake can be indulged. Some of the best walks I’ve done have been along gorges with rushing streams creating tempting, swirling swimming pools for an icy dip.
I’ve always loved water. I have childhood memories of outdoor unheated pools and my long suffering father forced to accompany me to keep me safe. Recollections of rushing into the Irish Sea every day on holiday and emerging blue, shivering and covered in goose bumps to then hide behind a windbreak and chafe heat back into my limbs.
For me, wild swimming has an exhilarating quality quite unlike that of mindlessly ploughing up and down the lanes of an indoor pool. Looks, speed and skill: none of these matter. Just the bracing chill making me feel utterly alive in that moment, aware of everything around me, reconnecting with my zest for life.