More people should swim, more often. That’s my view anyway. Especially when we have such an amazing national park taking most up the counties in North Wales. The Snowdonia National Park is full of lakes and rivers, but also has a significant coast line. So to be asked by the Outdoor Swimming Society to be the Representative for North Wales, I feel rather responsible for showcasing the aquatic possibilities of my corner of the world. Dan and I are sharing this role, but he is off to be a hero in London on the Olympic Medical Team, so I will host my OSS Summer of Snowdonia Swimming.
I plan to show off as many of these amazing spots as I can over the weekends of this summer. Rather selfishly, I plan to visit my top spots. We have already visited Church in the Sea in Angelsey, which in my opinion is what heaven looks like. We were blessed with a mirror flat day, and arrived at high tide so we had lots of water to swim in! I went with a regular swimming buddy Debbie and we were joined by a lovely family, who had had the good sense to make a day of it, and came with blankets, picnic and the dog. During the swim across from the beach to the little island that the church sits on I looked back and saw the Dad helping his daughter with her front crawl. That is what it is all about. Swimmers helping other swimmers.
At Gone Swimming we are serious about very few things, we have few rules. They mainly are about food, hot drinks, safety and not letting salty gear go unrinsed. But we are definitely serious about the welfare of the countryside, and what we call “Rubbish Swimming”. Clean up and taking with us the bits and bobs of litter that mess up the place. We do this at every swim, but also arrange larger multi agency clean ups during the year. So I hope that the OSS swimmers that join me can be rubbish swimmers too.
I have to work very hard not to be “at work” when we swim. As I coach, guide and pretty much live in open water, it seems funny that I would want to work hard to find strangers to swim with on the few days when I could be drying out (as it were). But I want to swim. To stretch my arms and legs and feel my hands scoop fresh, clean, still water and use it to climb through the water, with my legs fluttering just enough to keep me rolling, and find a rhythm to breath to and go somewhere.
This is a treat for me. That is not to say that I do not love coaching and guiding. I feel so much joy when someone nails something that has been seemingly impossible. I adore the look on the face of someone who has been walking up a mountain and sees the lake slips into view.
So please do come and join me for a swim sometime this summer. But just don’t ask me my opinion on your crooked arm recovery...
If you fancy coming along on one of these swims (there is no charge) then the best way to keep up to date with the aquatic adventuring is to follow our Facebook Page - which will have the details of all the plans.