By: Blonde Two
Since I started outdoor swimming four years ago I have swum in some marvellous (and very cold) places. My absolute favourite would be a particular fjord swim in northern Norway but sunrise loughs in Ireland, and winter swims in Snowdonia have to come a close second and third.
The elusive snow swim
Until the Beast from the East came back last week, I hadn’t however had the opportunity to enjoy a snow swim (surely the ultimate wild swimming option). This is mainly because, on the English Riviera, snow is more of a distant prospect than a distinct possibility. With a 30 minute walk between me and the sea, timing a swim to fit in with the three-minute flurries that seem to be our lot can be tricky.
But I managed it last Tuesday. The forecast had predicted one snowflake at 08:00 so I was out of bed and ready to head down the hill by 07:30 (roughly the same time as my son reported snow just around the Bay in Paignton). It was a chilly jog down but miraculously the dots (rather than flakes) of snow started to dance just as I stepped onto the sand. To say I was excited was an understatement.
Wrestling the Beast
Getting changed proved to be an interesting wrestle with Mr East Wind (a cold and unfriendly chap) but neither my clothes or enthusiasm were dampened, and I headed eagerly into the grey waves. I met a friend on the way. A much hardier friend than me who is determinedly swimming 1 km for a whole 365 days. We said a quick hello then parted, she to head for waters that were actually swimmable, me to play in the waves (and of course take photos). I did manage a bit of swimming but mostly I did splashing and shouting. I also did a little jog back up the beach.
Then I started to freeze.
The post outdoor swim chill
I haven’t felt that cold in a long time. My hands were pulsing and my feet on the concrete felt as though they had been frozen inside blocks of ice. The snow, which had been present during my swim, got more excitable at this point. Joined with the sand like lovers in a passionate whirling dance, it flew along the prom to deliver a unique (and possible marketable) frozen, whole-body, exfoliation experience. I eventually managed to dress but despite the thermal layers, didn’t really feel any warmer until I was half way up the hill home.
I was glowing by the time I got back. Both internally and externally, bright pink, exhilaratingly glowing.