No excuse today, temperatures soaring, so I walked the dogs first thing and then dug out my swimming kit and have just come back from an hour of heaven messing about in the Lake.
Ironically I lived here for four years before I worked out that the lake I had read about in wonderful Waterlog by Roger Deakin was …..
…… less than five minutes away and just behind the woodland where the wild garlic and elder grow and the dogs play most days. A quarry originally, with steep rocky sides, a few ducks, full of pike and other fish. The anglers have half the lake, the swimmers the other half. You wouldn’t dream you were so close to the centre of such a big city as Bristol when you float in the middle of the lake, weightless and relaxed.
We swam in the Thames when I was little, usually ballasted in elderly yellow lifejackets, clutching at boat ropes, trying not to swallow the oily diesel floating in rainbows on the surface of the water.
We swam a little in Lake Malaren when we were holidaying in Sweden, a cold and northerly lake, and I can count on one hand the number of swims I had in Loweswater in the Lake District, as our summertime visits to my father rarely coincided with hot weather and the lakes are deep and very cold.
So I don’t rate as the most intrepid wild water swimmer, but when the water temperature is around the 20 C mark, my thoughts turn to a cool airy swim outdoors.
No chlorine, no lanes; the sound of other swimmers laughing and playing absorbed by the willow trees, a huge elemental space, fresh water, a warm breeze on your shoulders, blue sky, swifts scissoring overhead, shadow and sunlight, what else do you need?
Edit: I’ve edited this post to include a picture of the lake that I took in the summer!