It was the last summer swim of 2016 today, despite it being the end of October! Swimmers were out in t-shirts and stripping off jumpers as I arrived. It definitely felt warm and muggy and I couldn’t wait to cool down and refresh in the water. As it was the day before Halloween, there were some strange costumes appearing at the lake today. A witches hat could be seen bobbing along up the lake, sported by one of the committee members (and I thought they were normally a serious lot). But this was nothing, I later met a witch in full costume in the showers, dripping wet from head to toe. She had obviously escaped from the ducking chair.
Although the water temperature had gone up this week from 9.5 to 10.5, I was surprised at how cold it felt. I had veered from my usual routine of warming up in the sauna beforehand, which many winter swimmers believe, warms up the core and keeps the cold at bay for a while. Whether there is truth in this or not, after today, I think I will definitely return to the pre-warming technique next week!
It took about a length before I was able to relax and appreciate the water this weekend. It is beautiful swimming at this time of year. It was mild today, without the slightest breeze and the autumn leaves were falling silently as we swam. The water felt cleansing on the skin and I enjoyed swimming through the red and yellow leaves that floated on the surface. It was great to experience the seasons changing through the water - this is what I love about swimming outdoors all year round.
Back in the sauna, it was heating up….the usual debate as to when we may get our new, grander sauna to accommodate the growing number of winter dippers. We certainly need it. I counted 14 of us in there today. Lucky we all know each-other fairly well and don’t mind budging up so close… well, as long as its not someone too sopping wet and cold!
Afterwards there was a lovely gathering of people for the ‘Thriller Chiller Winter Dipper’ (nicely coined) social. Lots of wonderful homemade bread, soup, cakes and hot chocolate had been brought along and it was warm and dry enough to sit outside on the benches. Bliss… Can we do this every Sunday?
The Secret Dipper