Through the Viewfinder
And What Alice Found There
All summer I have been dying to go wild swimming, but with going into full time work straight after finishing uni it's been difficult to find the time. On the days I've been off it's often been bad weather (typical) or it's been nice but I've already had plans. But a few nights ago I finally saw an opportunity to go after work, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made in a long time!
Wild swimming is basically swimming outside of a dedicated area like a pool. Rivers, oceans, lakes, tarns - anywhere that is peaceful and safe (and has water) makes for a good wild swimming location! I've been swimming in Lake Windermere before and it was fun, but as it's so big the water doesn't really warm up even in the summer sun, and it's often really busy on nice days with tourists, families, and kids adventure clubs learning how to kayak. I was longing to swim somewhere smaller, quieter and less touristy and Rydal Water sprung to mind straight away. It's one of my favourite places in the Lakes and I spent so many hours there building up my final year project for uni that I feel like I know the paths like the back of my hand now. It can sometimes be busy during the day with 3 car parks nearby advertising walks around the lake, but because it's a bit more out of the way tourists don't tend to stick around in the evening and it's often very peaceful if you arrive at the right time.
Luckily we got the timing spot on. We stopped off at Sandylands Spar on the way for some pasties and sandwiches to have as a picnic, arriving by the lake somewhere around 7.30pm. On arriving there was a small family just leaving so we managed to get a fantastic spot on the beach and had the place to ourselves to begin with. Even though it was evening it was still quite warm, but the water felt cold when dipping my toes in. I was starting to have second thoughts about going in - I don't own a wetsuit so I was going to just chance it in my bikini and a t-shirt and was beginning to think it might be too cold. We sat and watched the sun beginning to set, still undecided whether or not to go in - we saw a few people further along the shore going in but they had wetsuits on! Eventually I just went for it - why waste this opportunity when I've been waiting for it the whole summer?
Initially it felt really cold, but as soon as I was properly emerged and was moving around it felt fine and I warmed up surprisingly quickly! It was such an amazing feeling - so refreshing and I felt so free! So much better than swimming in a pool!
The whole experience was exhilarating - I felt so connected to nature and the setting was just incredible. So peaceful and beautiful, with the sun setting over the mountains casting an orange glow over the water as I swam. I was also testing out my waterproof camera I got for my birthday a few months ago - it's a Nikon Coolpix S33 and it's great! I initially wanted it so I could take to Croatia with me, but taking in the lake was a great idea and meant I could still take photos without being paranoid about getting my camera wet.
Floating on my back watching the sun setting, I could have been anywhere in the world. It's the sort of thing you dream of doing in the Caribbean or somewhere else sterotypically exotic. As mentioned in my last post, it only takes one moment like this to make me realise that I don't need to travel to the other side of the world to have these amazing experiences - they are right on your doorstep if you only look hard enough and seize every opportunity. The Lake District is such a fantastic place and I'm so excited to make more amazing memories here in the future...