The weather here in the Peaks has been fairly damp this week. It’s been relatively mild for the time of year and I’ve swum in the rain a couple of times. I’m definitely not complaining, the rain we’ve had is finally filling up my local swim spot. Even as recently as last week it was still very low after the incredibly dry and warm summer we had.
Swimming outdoors exposes you to the weather. It’s part of the process. In the summer you might get a cooler day or some rain, or even a thunderstorm but by and large it’s mild. The water’s relatively warm and you rarely have to worry about your post swim kit getting blown away whilst you swim. As a newbie to open water even a bit of wind or rain or a cooler day can make the experience less pleasant than you’d hoped. With time you get used to it and it becomes a part of the experience. Unsettled weather almost makes it feel more real as your senses are assaulted by the elements.
If the thrill of summer weather wears off then winter will satisfy your every element exposing need.
Over the last two winters I’ve swum in beautiful still, calm waters, stormy weather that leaves you feeling like you’ve been through a washing machine, freezing cold days where your hair freezes if it gets wet, glorious sunny days that lift the mood immeasurably, snowy days, thick icy days, foggy days, drizzle, heavy rain and hail.
Each has their own joys and challenges. The still days, particularly in the dark, are entrancing as you watch the ripples flow out with your movement through the water. The most beautiful scene of lines and curves of grey, indigo, white and black.
The cold days require careful planning to avoid getting too cold but are often accompanied with some rare winter sun. The icy days involve an ice axe or a big stick and a lot of laughing at our own stupidity. Snow brings winter magic, quiet and the gentle landing of snowflakes on your face.
Rain and hail offers extra zing to your skin as you disrobe and walk into the water. The noise and sight of little patters on the water add a new dimension. In order to avoid getting all of our kit soaked while we swim on such days it’s often left in the car so we have to make a mad dash back to cover up and get warm. Goodness knows what the locals think!
Right now I’m willing the snow and ice to come. Yup, I must be mad!