Welcome to Waterblogged

Welcome to our Blog. The majority of the content is about our outdoor swimming activities; with other comments, thoughts and pictures along the way. See our website http://community.lincolnshire.gov.uk/blueskyswimming/

and our videos on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Nicola8259


Monday, 20 December 2010

Nanny State?

As a freaky freak who enjoys swimming outdoors without a wetsuit I'm well used to the bemused reaction of passers by and bank/shore side experts. This is one of the main messages that sis Nic and I have been promoting this year through Blue Sky Swimming - understanding and judging risk, taking personal responsibility, enjoying the strength and confidence gained from pushing yourself a little out of the sanitised safety strangled world we live in day to day....but this weekend, I experienced a new set of disapproving reactions!

When sisters Belinda, Nic and me were young fen girls we used to skate (without adult supervision) in hard winters on the Carr Dyke at the top of our field. There is a noble tradition of fen skating - just look at the passages in Waterlog recounting tales of races in the Cambridge fens. Belinda will even tell you how she was skating on ice BEFORE birth!

So imagine our delight when we went out in the sparkling sun yesterday to test out the canal at Redmile behind our house. This is a walk we often take with our young boys enjoying the wildlife and change of seasons. Because of this familiarity and knowledge of our local environment, we knew that the canal is clear, slow moving and only about 3-4 feet deep. By testing out a core drill (cutting off the top of an immersed plastic bottle and extracting!) we could see that the ice was a minimum of 18" thick across the canal. So, safety checks complete, we set off to skate up the canal enjoying this once in a decade or two phenomenon. I see this as an important lesson for my clever little boys in understanding the difference between thin ice danger and how moving water causes the ice to thin at the edges. Felix and Leo will never be unprepared or expose themselves to stupid risks because they have grown up exposed to real life and the potential dangers of outdoor life.

How sad that the other children in the village were not enjoying this special treat and how sad that the reaction we got from most was disapproval of our obviously highly irresponsible parenting!!

OK, rant over!

Here's the pics

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Awards Night November 11th 2010

A bit late in the day but finally managed to get my pictures uploaded. Here we are with supporters at the Sports Awards on 11th November.... who needs to win? We do!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Finalist in Sport Award

Ah - there's always next year - sadly we didn't scoop the award but we were in the 3 finalists for Participation in Sport award with Lincolnshire Sports Partnership. We did our best to promote ourselves at the event last Thursday http://www.lincsphoto.co.uk/?Action=VF&id=5215100450&ppwd=pd8347gn and John Inverdale now has a Blue Sky Swimming business calling card.

Saturday at Anderby Creek with Hannah and her crowd for an 8 degrees C swim - here's me with mild hypothermia setting in; Sandra just cooling down after 20 mins in the water and shaming the wet-suited men to abandon the rubber-gear.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Competitive, moi?

Tee hee!! The waterblogged sisters triumph again!

Lovely long uplifting sea swim on Saturday at Anderby Creek, 8 degrees in the water and heavenly.

We met up with the lovely Hannah & Robert and serious swimmers gang - thanks for the friendly welcome, tea and biccies x.

How us Blue Sky Swimmers love to shame those big beefy boys out of their rubber - and yep, we managed it again! After all, what serious self respecting athlete could be out done in the cold water by a couple of girls, tee hee!!!

What a perfect day! Thanks for the company, the sunshine and lovely post swim picnic for me and Nic at Huttoft - a day to treasure through the gloom of November.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Warm Duvets and Cold Lakes

What do they have in common? Both impossibly hard to get out of once you're in...or is that just me again?!

A gorgeous autumn day yesterday, seemed churlish not to get in one last swim...the water was crystal clear and first for me, warmer than the air temperature! Air @ 7C, Water @ 10C so SO easy to slip in to the calm waters for a 10 minute scull around as the sun set and golden leaves settled on the lake - PERFECT!

How much longer can I brave the water this winter? I felt brilliant after the swim and would love to do again - NOT TODAY!!! It's like the apocalypse out there today; dark, cold, lashing rain, whistling wind - YUK!

Here's a dry shot to show off my beautiful swim spot...and footprints for evidence of getting wet shot - too dark and cold for post swim snap!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Zen and The Art of Sea Swimming

What a beautiful day to mark the end of British Summer Time - glorious crystal clear skies and air bursting with ozone at the seaside.

We set off for a day at Gibraltar Point to soak up the last low rays of this amazing summer.

The sea swim was the best of the whole year in terms of pure pleasure ... cool clear water, little swell, sun sparkling off the waves....

I slipped into the wild swimming zone - calm, happy, alive, SO reluctant to do the sensible thing and get out.

A brilliant day, a real treat, a memory to treasure and polish in the darker months ahead.

Pure serendipity - my waterblogged pal Sharn was having a similar uplifting swim at the same time across The Wash in Norfolk - committed Blue Sky Swimmer sans wetsuit of course!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Last Gasp?

You know how it is on holiday...you get to the last day or two and worry that you're still looking too pasty faced to convince your colleagues back in the office you've enjoyed a tropical idyll? So you go all out for The Panic Tan...
...Well, I seem to be in End of Summer Last Swim Panic!
Look at this beautiful photo I took to record the gorgeousness of the lake last night after I'd enjoyed 10 minutes of cold water immersion. So peaceful, so lovely, so damn cold!
Then, we're on to Panic Swim #2 today with this lovely man - superfit superswimmer Justin Mumford! Look at him huddled in his fetching Lockhart Garratt (forestry management experts par extraordinaire!) fleece, cleverly concealing his chattering teeth!
We'd been talking about a lakeside meet up all summer and this seemed like it could be our last chance, so we skived off the office for a very early lunch break and toddled off for a quick dip.
Water temperature was only 8 degrees today but the air temperature and GORGEOUS autumn sunshine made the water very appealing.
A bit of oohing and aahing on the get in, but we managed a good 15 minute scull around with the grebes and a couple of bemused anglers for company.
I'd been a complete grump before the swim; bogged down in silly office trivia and irritations. We both emerged with trademark silly grins, and have enjoyed the glow all day of uplifted moods and rebalanced perspectives.
Thanks Justin for joining me, great to have your company and be reassured that there is at least one other person who thinks this is all a good idea!
What a brilliant treat and a perfect way to (perhaps?) end my summer swims for 2010?
Then there's always the beach at the weekend......

Friday, 22 October 2010

Still hanging on....

8 degrees air temp, so the 9 degrees in the water should have felt more inviting in theory if not in practice.
I've trialled a new access strategy to cope with the rapidly cooling water - where I used to go for a quick committed plunge, last night it was more of a slow immersion to try and soften the blow of the icy water.
I felt pretty scared of this new phase in my outdoor swimming adventures, so I also felt pretty triumphant and capable after managing to survive a 10 minute pootle about in the dusk with bats for company instead of kingfishers.
The lovely warm glow afterwards felt magnificent and I walked back the long way to the car to enjoy this brilliant clear cold air and bright moonlight we have at the moment.
PS. Thanks to Malcolm for goading me into the swim - there's nothing more likely to get me to do something than someone saying "you'll never do it" - I do so like to prove people wrong!!!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

London 12 Degrees x 2

Saturday 16th October
Gorgeous Blue Sky for our first visit to Parliament Hill Lido - I've been wanting to swim here for years. Not put off by the 12 degrees water temperature Lesley and I bagged a few lengths. The stainless steel liner is shiny but the deck-level water line meant I had to slide in rather than dive - still kept my head dry for the next swim...... It's a beautiful pool and I can see why it's so popular - even in Autumn. And nice hot showers too.

Over the Heath - round the Heath - getting our directions all about yet again - but eventually arrived at Kenwood Ladies Pond for our second 12 degree swim. Lovely spot to swim and we both stayed in too long but it was worth it. (Next time I'll bring a second swim costume - buerk - having to put on a wet cold two piece.)

No pics - battery dead after this one!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Skegness is SO Bracing...

...and Gibraltar Point was pretty invigorating too! What a GORGEOUS day for an autumn quickie dip. Really lovely swimming in the gentle rising tide, boys on lifeguard duty and sandcastle patrol on shore - a perfect treat on such a crystal clear day.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

How long can I make this summer last?

Chilly dip last night, 12 degrees in the lake, left me shivering and teeth chattering...but I'm SO reluctant to give up the cool water for the year. So I'll keep on a little longer, just need to keep adding the woolly hats and thermal vest layering - and maybe a flask of tea?
Only trouble is, that will take so long to get all the gear together that it will be dark...and the gloomy spectre of GMT is looming on the horizon - how I do hate leaving the Castle in the pitch black after work, YUK!
Somebody used the W word with me yesterday, but I'm holding on to Autumn for a few weeks yet before succumbing to the dark, swimless season...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Heavenly Hampstead, Lovely Londoners

How is it that life can come at you full frontal in one concentrated 1/2 hour?...
....slipping into the cool calm waters of Kenwood Ladies Pond was transformational yesterday.
Copper oak leaves and sulphorous willow carpeted the surface, parting as I passed and reforming behind me.
The setting sun cut through the trees to illuminate the water in shafts; my skin shining golden as I sculled around with the moorhens, customary silly grin on my face.
But where were my waterblogged sisters with their much needed good sense to tell me to get out of the water? I slipped into my usual lone swimming trance and just couldn't be sensible enough to get out...but hey! I'd come all the way from Lincolnshire, sneaked out of an accounts review meeting in town, trekked across London by tube, Hampstead Heath the wrong way in the wrong shoes....I was DETERMINED to get this sublime swim into my day!
I still have the silly grin on my face, scaring the regular East Coast commuters. Hey ho, back to the fens country girl, your city adventure is over for another day, your life a little enriched.
Postcript thanks to all the lovely Londoners who helped me on my odyssey across the Heath - Man in Newspaper Kiosk, Woman with Dog, Spanish Man on Bench, Young Mothers with Babies in Buggies, Builders on Viaduct Bridge, Dogwalking Scottish Man, Mum & Daughter on way to Kenwood House, Local Couple Disagreeing over Direction, AND Lovely Staff at The Pond.
So, how many people does it take to navigate a country girl across a mile of London .... FOURTEEN! Now I see why I usually travel with my waterblogged sisters!!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Full Story

And we’re off....after a light supper of pasta bake with salad and crusty bread, and cherry pie with cream we set off up north for the long trip from the Midlands to the Highlands. Like all good women, we launch into a deep and meaningful conversation about our lives and dreams; by the time we draw our first breath and take a look at the trip meter we’ve already clocked the first 100 miles, ta da!

The journey through the night goes spectacularly well; thanks to Steve for the sensible suggestion and persuading me away from my stupid idea to set off at 4am in order to hit the Glasgow commute rush hour perfectly! Instead, we cross an empty Glasgow at 4am and make our first stop at the friendliest petrol station north of Erskine Bridge. Two lovely Scotsmen obliged us tourists with a quick lesson in rolling our r’s ...as in Loch Morrrrrrarrrrrr

However, we are perturbed to read in The Scottish Sun the shocking story of industrial unrest shaking Scotland ... imagine the horror if the nation’s supply of Tunnocks teacakes were to falter...

So, marching onwards in our supercharged Ford Focus hire car (thanks again to lovely Lisa and delightful Debbie at Northgate Vehicle Hire http://www.northgateonline.co.uk/ for their support and sponsorship) we arrive in Glencoe at 6am and opt for a quick snooze in the car before dawn breaks.

I have an ulterior motive for suggesting the rest up and sneakily pull into a side road off Glencoe. I’m trying to look innocent and unbothered whilst knowing that this is the start of Glen Etive where I hope to get in a breakfast plunge to start the day in style. Sure enough, despite all my moaning about not being able to sleep in a car we’re soon snug under the duvet and snoozing away happily for a good couple of hours. We wake up to breathtaking scenery of the mountains surrounding us and the Etive thundering past us in the valley below. After scoffing the Danish pastry stocks we set off for a bracing dawn walk down the Glen to stretch our muscles and fill our lungs with Highland oxygen.

Sharn & I both get our way – I get a river dip, she drags me off for a good walk....the scenery is stunning and the Glen incredibly peaceful; a perfect start to our adventures.

After this break we’re reenergised to complete the first leg and head off to reach Morar at midday. As we get our first sighting of the loch I’m inspired by the great Rabbie Burns to utter a few lines of my own which quickly become one of the trip catchphrases ....”S**t, it’s ****ing massive!!!”...I can always be relied upon for an eloquent and refined bon mot to suit the occasion.

I get a bit overexcited too when we arrive in the village and see those famous white sands that I’ve dreamed of for so long. After chatting to the only two locals we can find – lovely girls in the petrol station – we head off to the recommended swim spot on the loch.

First close up of the loch is pretty daunting – it IS massive, and there are pretty big waves sweeping across the western end. However, we press on undaunted to the end of the track, distracted but not diverted by the lure of a sign advertising JAM and RUGS. We procrastinate badly with a visit to the Craft Shop (great Loch Morar mugs) and tea brewing rituals but the time comes when there is nothing for it but to face the swim.

The shingle beach is beautiful, the sun shining a little through the clouds, the water is clear and calling to us ... so, not TOO bad and distinctly do-able. Sharn shows her true mettle by joining in the Blue Sky Swimming manifesto and dons her cozzie for first cold water without wetsuit – BRILLIANT! Thanks to the lovely couple who took all the crucial evidence pictures for us.

Water temperature came in at 12c; better than I’d dreaded but still pretty breath taking! We have a really good pootle around in the crystal clear cold waves, feeling amazing and loving the sensation of swimming in such a remote, stunning loch. Usual trouble of course is the getting out part; very reluctant to leave the water, but we have the perfect post swim cuppa and warm up walk to look forward to....

We even stop talking for a while at one point as we feel so peaceful and blissed out by the water, air and peacefulness of the loch. Or is it just that we had run out of energy to even speak?!

Day One ends at the slightly strange Morar Hotel – fantastic location, lovely front of house staff, little bit uncomfortable dining room experience and ok food, kind of poky room where you keep tripping over yourself....but, AMAZING views across the bay and those stunning silver sands.

Day Two dawns on a more soggy note, but at this stage we’re upbeat and undaunted by a drop of rain or two. It’s now that we start to realise just how far we have to travel and how long it will take to get to Wastwater. Travel anxiety starts to set in a little but I am ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED (ie bossy and stroppy as hell) that we will get down to the beach and get in for a sea swim. I’ve dreamed of just that for 20 years after first seeing Local Hero – one of my favourite all time films http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u14-eIaFoLg&feature=related

Luckily Sharn is relaxed and easy going (or she is scared by the manic look in my eye?!) and so we head off to “look” at the beach. By now, we’re quite nicely attuned to the concept of water “speaking to us” and sure enough, I can hear the calling loud and clear. So we pull into a caravan park with a derelict cottage in torrential rain in order to get into our cozzies, get soaked in the rain in the walk across the beach, get into 12c sea for a swim, then try to get dry and dressed in the car – Why exactly? The pictures tell their story; this was a fabulous experience, a sensationally beautiful spot, tropically white sands and clear water if not temperatures.

8 hours later, when we’re trying to recover from the horror of Wastwater and camp pods, we’re doubly pleased of making the effort to enjoy this extra swim as it turns out to be by far the high point of the day....

So off we trek, retracing our steps with sadness to leave the bonny bonny banks of Loch Morar and the beauty of God’s own country. On the map, I’m encouraged to think the trip will be scenic and enjoyable, but we’re soon deep into Withnail & I territory – another of my favourite films, but not an inspiration to visit the sodden bleak fells spending miles trailing behind a succession of beat up old tractors - even the sheep look miserable.

So we hit The Lakes around mid afternoon in apocalyptic weather; pretty much dark by 3pm. Sharn comes over all determined (and downright bossy!), stops the car at a particularly unappealing spot and declares that we're doing the swim there and then. I actually feel phsyically sick at this point, a fen girl overcome by mountain claustrophobia and slate induced gloom. The sky is black, the ground is black, the scree slope filling our vision is black, the water is black, the car is black, my mood is black...you get the picture.

Sharn cleverly points out two wetsuited men swimming in the Lake and successfully appeals to my sense of competiton - a chance to show how tough we are in our cozzies, no wetsuits for Blue Sky Swimming girls! So were in, 13 degrees and deeply horrible, no sense of joy coming from this one sadly. Thanks again to the lovely (honeymooning?) couple who obliged the mad idiots by taking photos for us, and sorry for spoiling your peaceful afternoon!

So we're back on to attempting to get dried with wet towels in the rain...why did I think it was a good idea to wear jeans? Hot tea and giant Toblerone (thanks Sue x) lifted the mood a little but the dreaded campsite was figuring strongly in my mind. Sharn could not be persauded to waver from "the adventure" of camping so I grumpily tagged along to find our luxury camping pod.

Camping pods must look very picturesque on a sunny spring day with lambs gambolling ouside but the reality on a torrential dark evening in September was that we were going to sleep in a glorified shed for the night - with no torch, surrounded by mud, with NO WINE!!! What idiot arranged this trip? But hey, campers are a friendly bunch! Within half an hour our lovely Australian pod neighbours Matt & Sarah had furnished us with a torch, and two friendly fishermen had gone off to the shop for wine - now why didn't we think to let them know how to find us again?! Hey ho, turns out you can't beat jasmine tea when you're holed up in a mouldy insect infested shed for the night. I spend the first half of the night texting anyone I can think of to come and rescue me and the second half snoring loudly apparently - sorry Sharn!

Suffice to say, we're both pretty grumpy by the time a very wet dawn gradually emerges on Day 3. We're packed and in the car as quickly as we can manage and heading off away from the unlovely Lakes.

As ever, an opportunity to eat cheers us up no end as we tuck into the best ever poached eggs on toast at the Bridge Cafe somewhere on the road out of the Lakes. Is it wrong to be so happy to be leaving one of our country's most popular tourist areas?

Hours and several inches of rain later we arrive at the end of the rainbow - lovely Llandudno. Our legs are ready for a stretch, our lungs are ready for some seaside ozone, it seems to be clearing a little...so we pack the bag and head off into the next rainstorm for a walk around the Great Orme. First contact with Welsh locals is fisherman chap cycling past with a great big fish hanging off his handlebars - "are there any good swim spots along this coast?" I casually enquire. Turns out yes there is - a slippery rocky descent down the cliffs to a tempting looking plunge and swim spot. I'm VERY keen but Sharn adopts the sensible approach and dissuades me ... she IS determined to get me hiking up a hill!

Refreshed and refuelled with Chocolate Brownie (Sharn), Cherry & Amaretto ice cream (me) we set off on last leg of the day to Snowdonia. As our route takes us past one possible access route to our third target lake we decide to "have a look".

The map shows a road leading close to Llyn Cowlyd from Trefriw but if we knew how steep and hairpinny it was I doubt we would have attempted it. Anyhow we set off in blissful ignorance and in 1st gear up the track, Sharn assumes the skills of a top rally driver and somehow manages to haul the car up the hill. I contribute by digging my fingernails into my door handle and opening the livestock gates - very risky activity for a woman who is liable to fall inside a cattle grid (still got the scars from that one!)

Eventually, the track peters out, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The pipeline leading from the reservoir makes an ominous landmark for us to follow along the sheep track. It's still pouring with rain at this point and most of our clothes are already soggy and gently mouldering in the car. We head off towards the scary dam gradually filling our field of vision as we get closer to the hidden lake. Then it's just a short climb past all the warning signs to the lake shore and relief that the water is actually calling ... a little. Well, we here now, and very unmotivated to repeat the trip again tomorrow so it's strip off in the rain and leg it into the water. Sadly, my feet are so pathetic and my balance so poor I have to put wellies back on to get down to the water. Now there's a glam sight - skinny dipping with wellies - tres Lincolnshire! Once in, it's a great swim - big smiles on our faces and an amazing sense of achievement. Temperature comes in at 14 degrees according to my very scientific £2.50 fridge thermometer.

It's a pretty long walk back to the car in damp jeans but we set a good pace, encouraged by the lure of the Pen y Gwryd Hotel for the night. Arriving at 7pm, I'm instantly in love with the place - all open fires, cosy rooms, hot baths and total lack of pretension. The staff are instantly likeable, friendly and incredibly helpful - the sense of wellbeing was growing by the minute. Lovely George rustles us a up a truly fab meal, exactly what we need with a couple of glasses of wine - yum!

One of my main reasons for choosing this excellent hotel was the promise of the natural swimming pond - it certainly didn't disappoint! George was a true star, turning on the poolside sauna and making me a cup of coffee while I nipped out into the rain (oh yes!) for a pre brekkie dip. The pool is truly AMAZING, and gave me one of my biggest highlights of the trip - a cold clear pool fed by a mountain stream - I was in heaven, couldn't drag myself out, jumped back in for second go...I would recommend this as reason alone for staying at this jewel of a hotel http://www.pyg.co.uk/

So, the 3 Pools conquered, we contemplate a spare day in Snowdonia. Sharn's attempts to persuade me to climb Snowdon had persistently fallen on stony ground and even she had to admit defeat when the rain closed in again. So, what do all good women do in these circumstances? Of course, Shop! Trip to Betws-y-Coed for us to treat ourselves to jewellery and to complete the 3 regional cake box - Scottish Snowballs, Kendal Mint Cake, Bara Brith.

After this interlude, we finally got around to setting off for a last day little walk. Started at 2pm, looked a breeze, had a lovely picnic and swim at Llyn Crafnant, got horribly lost on peat bog mountain top, half an hour from scrambling mountain rescue, finally made it back by 7pm just as light was fading and knees seizing up...but, as Hammy Hamster would say in Tales of the Riverbank, that's another story.....

Monday, 20 September 2010

First Pictures and Thoughts

What a brilliant day it was on Saturday. Mind you, I don't think the the Coastguard Manager was thinking that at the time, with the surfing waves and a strong current. So - hats off to us all who plunged in the cold, brown water and survived - actually we all seemed to enjoy it - I've not heard that much laughing in the water before. We had 50 in the sea and 50 out - so a success.

Thank you everyone who came along and swam, paddled, waded. And a big Thank You to:

The spectators (quite a crowd pulling event it seemed);
Those who raised money and gave donations - in total £820 for our charities;
The RNLI lifeguards;
The RNLI Lifeboat crew with Helmsman Sean;
The Coastguard Manager and Team;
Cllr Gooding for setting us off and cheering us on;
Cllrs Gooding, Howard and Poskitt for their funding of the event;

My lovely Mablethorpe Mermaid;
Our Photographers;
Our Chalet Girls;
ELDC and Festival staff with the 'Insurance Question'!

And now for New Year's Day!

See here for a link on the event from one of our 'Tri' keen swimmers Mark: http://www.barracudatriclub.com/forum.php (click on Events)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Great North Sea Plunge

WOW! What a triumph of event organisation for Nicola who pulled off a tremendous day for all involved.

Hockney-esque sea fences courtesy of arty six year old Fab Felix on photographic duties...

Here's me and uber wild swimmer Tina enjoying a big steaming mug of tea after the swim - thanks to Mum, Maureen and Trudie, our glam Chalet Girls!

Tina was one of the handful of stalwarts (not including me!) who managed to get past the massive breakers into sea that was deep enough to avoid being dragged across the sandy shallows. She clocked up the full mile accompanied by the RNLI launch and endured more than an hour in the chilly waves - Good Stuff Tina!

AMAZING! There's more than just me and Nic on the beach! Slightly overwhelmed by the turnout - thanks to all swimmers and supporters, another £800+ raised on the day....

So HERE WE GO!...Three Pools Challenge kicks off tomorrow night with the long, long journey up to God's Country for Dip #1 - KEEP TUNED IN!!!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

We're on our way!

So here we go, beautiful clear cool day for the GREAT NORTH SEA PLUNGE at 2pm today. Sea swim will be lovely today; perfect conditions so far...

...can I take this as a good omen for the 3 POOLS CHALLENGE next week?

In my dreams all lakes will be as placid and inviting as this....

Standby for blog on the go!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Super Sexy Scarborough

Here's a post combing two of my very favourite things: Lidos and Trains!

I've just been watching a re-run of Coast on the BBC and they were covering the North East Coast from Tynemouth to the Humber and stopped briefly in Scarborough - the birthplace of sea bathing.

Then I came across a super web-site with railway travel posters and here's a beauty for Scarborough with it's amazing sea water swimming pool - 'artificially heated' - rather quaint turn of phrase and funny to think that 'artificial' nowadays would be a negative sort of word to use, but perhaps at the time of this poster it was seen as modern, go-getting and snazzy?

Whichever, I'm mourning the loss of this beautiful pool; and not least from a selfish point of view - being too young (ha!) to have had the chance to swim there.

I'm now forming another of my '3' challenges: an autumn sea swim in Scarborough, Filey and Bridlington? Well that's taken my mind off the terror of 3 Deepest Pools for a little while!

Monday, 6 September 2010

2 Little Boys....

Watch out world, the boys are loose on the education system! Little Leo is happily excited to be setting off on his first day at school, Big Brother Felix is pleased to have him along ... a landmark day for the Moran household.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

On the turn....

WOW! Have been enjoying the air and light quality this week, particularly in the evenings. As I swam across the lake on Thursday night there were mini rainbows over my head dancing in the cirrus clouds - truly magical and I chose to interpret as a good omen for the upcoming trip....

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Final Countdown

16 Days to The Great North Sea Plunge

19 Days to The Three Pools Challenge

Am I nervous?

Damned right I am! Just at that "how the hell did I get myself into this?" kind of stage...oh yes, that's right, me and my big mouth again!

In my dreams, all lakes are benign and placid (and not TOO icy) - hope I'm not too disappointed?....

Gloomy Morar

Scary Wastwater

Bleak Cowlyd
Only joking!!! It'll be fine, we'll be fine, we'll live to tell the tale and come back with lots of stories of derring do and campside camaraderie....think of us and wish us well!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Carnival is Over .....

Well the lido season is coming to an end at any rate: sniff, sniff. Driving to Bourne yesterday afternoon for a last sit by the pool and swim in the leaf-strewn cool water - listening to 'sounds of the 70's' Tony Blackburn playing top 100 million trillion number ones, including The Seekers 'Carnival is Over' .... sweet nostalgia!

Bourne was hardly heaving - just me and couple of families - and the lifeguards were fulfilling their wide-ranging job descriptions by cleaning the equipment and bins.

Tonight is the last night if you want to catch this beautiful lido before it closes 'til May next year.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

There goes the Summer....

Distinctly backendish here now which fills me with bittersweet sadness for the end of summer and the usual impatience and wanderlust that takes me over in the autumn.

Swimming across the lake last night was bliss - raindrops jumping up my face in front of me, cocooned in my own little watery world, pootling along happily. I noticed for the first time the golden tinge to some of the trees and a few early leaves floating on the water.

All this fills me with excitement to set off on our 3 Pools Challenge - I can't wait to feel the tingle of the cold loch/lake/llyn water against my skin, and hopefully time for a sea dip on those famous Morar sands.....

Friday, 20 August 2010

Entente Cordiale - British Waterways Style

I'm delighted to report that our meeting with Sean and Andy from British Waterways yesterday was a success: a positive dialogue and exchange of perspectives. Thank you Gentlemen! No 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' metaphors needed here.

I learnt more about water safety - including the dangers of dead deer floating down the Witham .... And I've got some exotic-sounding locations to check out for potential river-swimming spots, including the South Forty Foot Drain (!) We'll continue to talk to Sean and Andy and to other partners about river and lake swimming in Lincolnshire. It's brilliant that BW are helping us with advice and guidance.
Watch this space for a post from our BW guys 'A Day in The Life of A BW Manager'

Now, I can't leave this post without mentioning the documentary on TV the other night about the Slovenian River Swimming Man - Martin Strels - swimming the length of the River Amazon. It was almost unbelievable stuff - and it puts Matthew Parris' Thames crossing into context! The 'navigator' was pretty alarming - an all-night professional gambler and super-market trolley collector in the day - he was prepared with a map and GPS sat nav which he was familiarising himself with .... he seemed to literally lose the plot later on. Watch it again if you can. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/big-river-man/4od It makes all other 'wild' swimming seem a bit sissy sardine. There was a serious message (apart from proper preparation if you are swimming the Amazon) and that was the sadness about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. See this article for more http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/jan/04/swimming

And finally, just to prove that Lincolnshire really is the Potato County - see this potato I spotted whilst out on my walk at lunch time today - abandoned on the path near the Arboretum.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Priveleged to be here !

Hi Waterbloggers .. it's SJ here .. feeling very excited about being a waterblogger .. watch out for some unusual posts with a Caledonian flavour !

Thanks Chris - Nicola here (and back to your cricket and wicket blog and a post on the Afghanistan game perhaps?!) http://cricketsandwickets.blogspot.com/

But I couldn't let your post pass without publishing the ditty you left on my ansaphone and which is still echoing in my memory:

Come where the hands are clapping,
Come where the toes are tapping,
Come where the Jocks are strapping,
Scotland the Brave!

Monday, 9 August 2010

4 August Swim Across London

Energy Food

Before the start of the week we'd already reduced our ambitious Six Cold Places to Swim to Five - agreeing that Uxbridge (with its lovely renovated fountains) was sadly just 'too far out' for us to get to.

Usual lack of focus meant that we didn't leave our Base Camp 'til nearly eleven am (and special mention here to Graham our Benefactor and All Round Frog as a Prince for letting us stay in his Pad in fashionable Barbican - so 60's so chic so 'film set'. )

However we made use of our time by preparing some energy food - Lincolnshire Plum Loaf, with Butter and with Cheese .... ooh whopping calorie count! Sylvie the French One was pretty bemused by this 'plat anglais' --- the savoury and the sweet in one dish .... how rule-breaking, how very English.

Base Camp, Speed House

Tooting Bec finally located and found - via a dusty walk on Wandsworth Common - and we then ticked off Brockwell and on to Hyde Park on the No 3 bus. Time for Sylvie to take a siesta - as the French do - and can ...how many days leave is that you get Sylvie in the French public sector - mais oui, sacre bleu - 50 days per year! All that work means you need a nap in the afternoon - ah those Europeans eh?

Hyde Park's Serpentine and another hike over grassland to find the lido there .... mmmmmm ..... a wee bit slimy and goosey for my liking - and the creepiness of near-tame wild birds on the Serpentine - like the heron that Lesley was cooing too ...eeeh that's not natural!

Final destination - and a downpour keeping us dithering at Kentish Town - but Sandra's forthright 'commitment' and general gung ho attitude meant we did it - we found and swam in Hampstead Ponds. Except, errr, no we didn't because due to navigation mix up we in fact swam in Kenwood Pond for Ladies ..... and it really was magical and magnificent.

Merci my lovely swimming sister and special friends - it really was a day to treasure. x

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Best Laid Plans ...

Well, if we'd made any plans for our "Swim across London in a Day" extravaganza we might have been pretty disappointed how quickly they went awry...as it is (as usual) we left the logistics of the day to fate and showed (yet again) our flexibility, pluck and determination to complete the challenge.

Whilst we tucked into Sylvie's wonderful home made french biscuits and jam over a leisurely second breakfast (thanks to Graham for the loan of his superb city centre apartment) we should perhaps have been setting off in the direction of water instead of idling flicking through maps and grappling with the intricacies of the Oystercard.

Anyhow, the upshot is we FINALLY arrive at Swim #1 at 11:45; not quite the early start we'd had in mind! This was after surviving the long trek across the Serengeti/Tooting Bec Common .... half expected to see herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically.....

...instead it was local "character" Douglas who pointed us in the right direction across the Common and entertained us with tales of his 5am training regime ...something reassuringly expensive...

But here we are posing outside Stalag 17, sorry.... the Art Deco glory that is Tooting Bec Lido - if only we had a team of professional photographers and editors to soft focus our day a little!

Anyhow, after all the trekking and griping, this was a BEAUTIFUL swim and it's SO TRUE what everyone says about the friendliness of Tooting Bec. It's such a happy, upbeat kind of place and the swimming was sublime - cutting through the cool clear water with ease and big smiles while the first shower of the day bounced back up into our faces.
I could have stayed here all day happily, but we had a schedule to stick to ... (didn't we?)
Stay tuned for Pool #2....