Winter Swimming

We went to Cornwall at the weekend, staying with a bunch of friends in the Youth Hostel at St Just right down near Land’s End. It’s a regular January event notwithstanding global pandemics. You can hire whole places for a house party at a very reasonable cost. Off course it’s not luxurious. We slept in a family room with bunk beds. I discovered over the weekend that my son Louis, sleeping in the bed above, has inherited his mother’s propensity to snore like a train.

Most of our companions went for long coastal walks on Saturday. Louis had a spell of baby sitting at Land’s End while he and a bunch of kids waited for a lift. He was knackered by the evening which might account for the snoring. Hot Stuff isn’t up to long treks yet so we headed off in the car to explore the surrounding area. We spotted these brave ladies in the harbour at Mousehole. That’s pronounced Mouz’all to the uninitiated and doesn’t sound at all like a tiny rodent’s home.

I went winter swimming myself at Sennen Cove on Sunday, a beautiful dip with my chummers and some of the kids as well. There were dolphins nearby but we didn’t have a close encounter. During a previous swim in Galicia one surprised me by jumping out of the water within feet of me. It was enormous. Instead of the peaceful communing that you’re supposed to happen during close encounters with cephalopods I screamed my head off.

This was my third January swim this year. Many in these parts are doing 365 day swimming challenges but I’m a little reluctant to go out in choppy seas. I wait for favourable conditions. It cuts the number of dips that I do but it seems wise to be cautious. I don’t go for the full Wim Hof experience dressed just in a cozzie either. Suitably clad in neoprene, suit, balaclava, boots and gloves I don’t feel too nippy at all. But here’s another word of caution. If you fancy giving winter swimming a go, get out before the cold sets in. I think it’s called hypothermia when your body finds it too difficult to warm up again!

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