Last night’s swim was the last of the month. I got there a bit late, having missed my bus, and hot-footed it down to the Meetup group’s usual spot on the river bank. I was met by nothing more than a heap of discarded clothes, and a decision as to whether I should get in and swim by myself, in the hope of catching them up. Wild swimming without company isn’t advised, but they couldn’t have got far… right?
Then I heard the voice of the group organiser, Kevin, close by. So in I went (the grotty, muddy river bank is less of an issue each time. I’ve totally got this, now). I saw what I thought was Kevin and another woman, disappearing in the opposite direction to the weir. Fine by me. It being the school holidays, the weir is currently covered in kids and teenagers, anyway. Plus, I’d been hankering to explore a bit further up-river. So I swam after them. Catching people up whilst swimming against the current is not an easy undertaking.
The river was gorgeous however, so I swam as quickly as I could go whilst still appreciating my surroundings. I swear a dragonfly almost perched on my nose. The riverbanks and blue sky were all appreciated in duplicate, being reflected so perfectly in the river. It was, as ever, just glorious.
I was surprised how far they were swimming, and on several occasions, started to doubt that I was following the right people and wondered if I’d have to swim all the way back to the weir to find somebody I knew. Happily, as I finally caught them, it turned out I was right all along, and swam back downstream (a much faster endeavour) in their company.
I even perfected a technique for scrambling up the river bank without emerging with horrifically muddy feet. Result.
We picnicked on the riverbank and then legged it when we got a bit chilly. I’m still very much basking in that afterglow I always get from wild-swimming.
It might be the end of wild swimming July, but it’s certainly not the end of my wild-swimming. This month has been a resounding success – I tried something that intimidated me and have discovered a new love. I challenged myself with a 2/3 mile river swim that I never would have entertained the slightest notion of back in June.
I’ve wondered a few times how I’ll measure the success of this year of monthly challenges, come December. The best measure I could come up with was the impact on my life by that point. Things I’m doing differently as a result of my challenges. I may not be wild swimming too often in December *turns blue at the very thought*, but I’ll still be very much considering myself a wild swimmer. One who is undeterred by tummy bugs (that’s pretty hardcore – right?) and is eagerly awaiting the warmer weather that heralds next year’s swims.