Swimming with Strangers
21st Feb- 9th March 2019
I arrived at the UK Cold Water Swim Champs in Tooting on my own. But, within 2 minutes I heard, “Ah, Lindsey, you made it.'“It was Team Mermaids who I'd joined for a dip the week before. Moments later, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said,“Is that @stompycole?”. It was a wild swimmer from Brighton who I'd been chatting to on Instagram. 5 minutes after arriving, I was stood in a huddle of 6 people I'd met through wild swimming- many I'd not met in person. I've moved around so much in the last 15 years, and have recently started to yearn for a community. it was really heart warming to finally feel part of something.
100 of us lined along the 92m length of the lido for the final event and dipped into the 2 degree water together for Crisis. It was cold, my breath was stolen and there were squeals at painful decibels. But most of all it was wonderfully exhilarating.
“Where do you live?” @wardenoflove asked as we warmed up in the al fresco hot tub afterwards.
“Ah, well, I sort of don't at the moment. I'm crashing with mates as I work that out.” I replied, slightly embarrassed.
“Well, you're always welcome to crash at mine in Wiltshire and try out our lakes.” She replied.
Later that week, I received more offers of places to stay all over the country and to try out their swim spots. “Wouldn't it be great to meet all these wonderful wild swimming communities, do a tour of the country and perhaps find somewhere that I'd like to live.” I thought.
Gutted that the next UK Cold Water Swimming Champs wasn't for another 2 years, my heart pumped when @wardenoflove sent me the following text: “Hey Linds, there's an inaugural Scottish Winter Swim Champs in March. Come!”
Well, wasn't that just the invite I needed to dip my way up to Scotland and visit these mad and brilliant wild swimming communities?! And cycling my bike is just the transport for this adventure.
Where am I dipping and when?
21/02 Totnes-Exeter | 22/02 Exeter-Frome | 25/02 Frome-Clevedon | 26/02 Clevedon-Gloucester | 27/02 Gloucester-Coventry | 28/02 Coventry-Bakewell | 01/03 Bakewell-Sheffield |02/03 Sheffield-Skipton| 03/03 Skipton-Kendal | 04/03 Kendal-Cockermouth | 05/03 Cockermouth-? | 06/03 ?-? | 07/03 ?-Edinburgh | 08/03 Edinburgh-Stirling | 09/03 Stirling-Taymouth Marina |