It was a dull grey morning, cold, breezy and without promise. But I hadn’t been standing around on Dartmoor at 5am yesterday morning with the local morris dancers singing up the summer not to have confidence.
“Hal-an-Tow, jolly rumbelow,
We were up long before the day, oh,
To welcome in the summertime,
To welcome in the May, oh —
For summer is a-coming in,
And winter’s gone away, oh!”
Lunchtime and the blue had out paced the clouds and as the breeze dropped there was more and more blue eventually leaving not a cloud in the sky.
I was just changing in the gloriously warm evening sunshine when J arrived having been looking at the swimming options further downstream. Spitchwick it has to be said is rarely my first choice as there are usually too many people and too much litter. On a day such as this however I know the sun will be absolutely perfect for an evening swim at the top pool, though not so the bottom pool where it will be down behind the trees already.
The transition in the water is remarkable. Ten days ago it had that bright zesty lime green tint. Last week it had gone almost clear again. Today it is dark orange after the rain on Monday washed peat off the moorland upstream and that is the colour it will stay until October.
J has not swum here before and it is ideal for that, easy to walk in to the water, easy changing, the water is slow moving and deeper under the cliff. It does have it all in some ways.
The ‘new’ second hand wetsuit arrived this morning, it’s a little tighter than the previous ‘identical in every way’ one I have worn out, except the tightness of course and the feel that it is made with slightly thicker neoprene. It is most certainly tighter and keeps the water out until I am waist deep, or maybe it is just that the other is full of holes, the worlds first fishnet wetsuit. It’s not a pleasant thought.
We share the water for 15 minutes and in the end it is only the lateness of the day that forces us out. The water is only just over 10degC but I always feel that sunshine adds several degrees especially factoring in the black wetsuits which absorb the sunshine.
We change and chat, talking about other places to swim and non-swimmer’s reactions to the whole idea, but as J says, ‘it is so invigorating’.
With a hope we will catch up again soon we head off to our respective cars as the sun nudges ever closer to the horizon and shadows draw out across the grass.