Devon Live writer takes the plunge with the Bluetits Chill Swimmers in Westward Ho!
Wild swimming has become something of a phenomenon in Devon, with ever increasing numbers of people bravely taking on the challenge of the open water – with nothing more than a swimming costume separating them from its icy embrace.
Much as I love the sea, I also love my wetsuit. Yet I can’t help being intrigued by the almost religious devotion that seems to accompany this burgeoning trend for cold water.
Which is why I’ve decided to join the aptly named Bluetits Chill Swimmers (without my beloved neoprene safety net) for an inaugural dip.
However, as I stand shivering on the beach at Westward Ho! in a hoody and woolly hat, I’m beginning to wonder what on earth I’m doing. Before I can make a dash for central heating, the others arrive, complete with a warm welcome (metaphorically speaking) and obligatory dryrobes.
As they begin blithely stripping off, shedding clothing onto rocks, I’m compelled to follow suit – although as a cold water virgin I can’t quite bring myself to part with my woolly hat.
Suitably exposed, we proceed towards the shoreline. Inky water glistens beneath the sinking sun as it casts a column of golden light across the water, beckoning us in. Resistance is futile.
Moments later, the water is licking at our ankles, lapping around our knees, swirling around our waists. For a second, it stabs at my lungs. Just breathe.
The rest of the Bluetits are now fully submerged, while I’m still procrastinating around boob depth – I don’t know about blue, it feels like they might actually fall off. It may be early May, but the water temperature lags about three months behind the time of year, and is currently around 9 degrees – that’s about 9 degrees higher than it actually feels. Not that it’s ever particularly balmy, even in August.
Original publication 9 May, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 26th May 2021
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