Today is a special day. Not only is it the summer solstice, a day I love, but it also marks a whole year since my first ever skinny dip. My 1st skinnydipversary so to speak.
My first ever skinny dip was during our Summer solstice summit to sea at the tender age of 37. Near the top of Scafell Pike, with The Short One and our good friend and enabler Jac. A secluded spot, away from the footpath, early in the morning.
It was exhilarating, liberating and downright hilarious. The Short One had floated the idea a while before but I still wasn’t sure if I’d do it until we got there. It seemed like the right time though. A significant place, Broad Crag Tarn, the highest standing body of water in England, on a day that we were ticking off the highest mountain and longest lake in England on the longest day of the year.
It was a brief dip. The sun was shining but it was blowing a hooley. Falling in the middle of the 2018 heat wave the tarn was water starved, stagnant and boggy. The smell as we churned up the depths of the pool wasn’t something I’d normally embrace. We emerged, not as cleansed water nymphs, but rather some kind of creatures from the black lagoon, covered in said pungent peaty ooze. We laughed as we blow dried in the gale and quickly re-attired ourselves. Within a minute of us being “decent” three men appeared over the brow of the hill. Phew, I’d just escaped full on public nudity!
There have been a few more incidents in the last year. Some solo, some with The Short One. All discreet. With each one I’ve slowly given less of a damn about stripping off and gained more and more joy from the pure closeness to nature it affords.
It’s fair to say I’m a convert. But why did it take me so long to bare all?
A lack of opportunity?
Partly. Paul & I never did beach holidays before we had the kids. The old topless Brit on Spanish beach just never happened. Until recently, I didn’t tend to strip down at any given opportunity and dunk myself in whatever water I could find. I was a regular toe dipper but rarely submerged on a whim.
A lack of confidence in my body?
Definitely. I’ve never been hugely body confident. Not so bad that I wouldn’t don a swimming costume but rarely confident to rock a bikini let alone the full birthday suit.
So what’s changed?
A few things.
Making two children’s played a big part. I know it’s nature and none of us would be here without childbirth but I still find it pretty amazing that I made those two small people. Your body changes so much when you have kids, it’s never quite the same again but I don’t see that as a bad thing. And frankly having been prodded and poked by numerous midwives and doctors most sense of embarrassment or prudishness about my body went out of the window. Those guys really have seen it all!
Swimming has changed me too. I’ve found an activity that I’m actually OK at. It makes me feel strong. It puts my mind into a better place, gives me a different perspective on the world. Makes me more confident in my own skin.
The Short One. There’s no doubt I wouldn’t have skinny dipped were it not for her. We gently encourage ridiculousness in each other!
So, what would I say to a tempted but unsure skinny dipper? Give it a go of course. Find somewhere quiet and just do it. You’ll never look back 🙂
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