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A Week Of Adventure - Swimming

Posted by Alex Clasper

The Sunday Swim

The finale to our week of adventure arrived on a chilly yet bright Sunday morning. I had somehow been cajoled into thinking that a swim may be a good idea on a November morning. With a love for water of course I agreed.

Open water swimming has becoming increasingly popular sport with a warm summer and the rise of more and more people exploring local areas. It seems an easy sport to enjoy. For some the monotony of chasing lanes in a chlorine pool isn’t all that attractive. I certainly fall into this category.

I found myself in a car park on the banks of the Avon Estuary home to our stand up paddle board adventure only days before. I had dabbled in open water sessions earlier this summer and was unsure whether I had time to fit yet another sport to my arsenal. Similar to  running, I liked the idea of just putting on a wetsuit and going for swim I can get on board with. Even in the winter chill I knew it would possibly be worth it if not a little foolish.

Staying Warm in the Pro Change Robe

Cheered on by my peers I bunked on down under the Pro Change Robe as I did the oh so not elegant dance into my wetsuit. The Pro Change Robe has been a welcome addition to my kit bag recently. Being a rather large frame at 6’2 having enough room to wiggle into my gear whilst staying covered comes in handy.

Once I had immerged from the Pro Change Robe. I was met with chuckles from my ‘friends.’ My impatience with shopping had led me to purchase a wetsuit far too large for my needs. This unfetching attire on a lazy Sunday only added to the odd scene. As local dog walkers and passers-by watched as a guy in his late 20’s waddled along a footpath. Followed by Luke and Stu’s holding their camera phones to capture any comedy material. To which I provided in bucket loads.

Each person has their own tactic when approaching a cold encounter. Some like to slowly tip-toe in. In the hope that with each step will bring warmer water. For me I think I have to just go all in or nothing just get on with it. The slight error on my part was planning the tide as I found out due to my embarrassment. I continued to wade through muddy, silty gunge much to the pleasure of my chummy friends on the bank. Who were having a great old time.

At last I found some depth in the middle channel of the estuary. The water was fresh which prompted a pleasure over pain sort of shock to  my face. I dropped a few notches on the temperature gauge and shot straight to baltic. In the past my chilly experiences have always been resolved by keeping the body moving. So off I swam disrupting the sediment with each kick and occasionally billowing up for air, to catch the school boy grins of Luke and Stu on the bank; they looked delighted.

I fell into a rhythm plodding away to the bridge for a breather. I was certainly not going to be catching Ross Edgely on his swim around the UK anytime soon. The enjoyment of being on the water without any craft is a liberating sensation. I can certainly see the attraction. The simplicity of experiencing the estuary entirely from water level was a real treat. To be in the water as opposed to floating above is a surreal treat well worth embracing the cold for.

One more lap then back to the path to meet the guys. Grinning at this rather odd scene as I emerged a fully-grown swamp man, oozing mud and gunk along the foot path with each sodden step. Back to the car and the Pro Change Robe was straight on no messing around. A quick change and I reached for my insulated water bottle, which had done a fine job keeping my coffee warm. All in all opting outside is most certainly worth it!