By: Blonde Two

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was worried about not being able to take a map with me whilst I swam the Dart 10K. Well, after viewing the very beautiful and unique map of the route a few dozen times each and trying to remember the order of such important landmarks as ‘Cormorant Tree’, ‘Sharpham Bathing House’ and ‘Red Pole’, my swimming friend Julia and I must have been thinking similar thoughts (she is also a DofE bod) and whilst she went home from registration and wrote a route card on her fingernails, I went home and asked Mr B2 to draw the map down my hand (a handy map you might say).

This shared route card/map plan would have worked well if it had actually been a plan and if we had managed to swim together at all. I don’t think we were very far apart all of the way down the river but I lost her the instant we left the slip at Totnes and trying to distinguish one yellow hat from another was completely beyond me as I followed her downstream.

My handy map didn’t turn out to be quite as effective as I thought it would be because:

  1. I had asked Mr B2 to draw it the wrong way up and all the left-hand bends looked like right-hand ones (you can orientate a paper map or even one on your phone, but just you try orientating your hand whilst swimming with it!)
  2. My eyes were under the water a lot of the time (as was my handy map but the two never seemed to meet).
  3. I had very little choice about direction even if I had been able to read the map. The River Dart was in charge and it knew full well which way I was supposed to be going.

However, just the knowledge that I had a map with me (I am an Ordnance Survey Champion after all) made all the difference. I had memorised lots of it anyway and managed to say ‘hello’ to ‘Cormorant Tree’ (almost cried because it was the first landmark I spotted), ‘Sharpham Bathing House’ (first feed station and I couldn’t believe I had made it there’ and ‘Red Pole’ (I think I came pretty close to swimming into ‘Red Pole’) on my way past.