Swim 13 - Feb 23rd 2016   2016


I ran at 10.45, very cold, having sat in my shorts and typed two emails that I was putting off. I wore fleece gloves and my hooded top and a wooly hat, but my ankles were too cold to work properly when I started and I ran along the top of the rec. very stiffly indeed, listening to the birds in the trees. 

A bright day, though I left under cloud. I didn’t risk the mud in the cow field and ran on the road, seeing the Brisons like a shout at the gate in the hedge past Sim’s house - in full sun below me - cloud covering me. The sea so sharp a colour and the foam around the black rocks shining so brightly it made me exclaim. Its pricklingly exciting to see cloud-shadow on the land, moving inexorably with the sky. There was almost no wind, though it was cold, and the paths not too mired. I ran as fast as I could and felt my joints thaw out by the time I crossed the wooden bridge at the head of the Cot Valley. I was shaded by the hill as I ran down the flank of the valley, but full sun all around and ahead of me. I remembered not to hesitate down onto the beach and I talked aloud to myself, ‘shoes off! carry them!’ and I hopped over the smooth stones in a rush of apprehension in case I failed. It’s so long since I did this. The previous times the tide was too high for me to get in, and it’s often been so windy. So - it’s seven weeks. 7 weeks! I mustn’t let that happen again. 

I undress fast - the tide is exceptionally low, and though there’s little sand the blue lagoon is connected to the beach. In spite of this potential for an interloper I risk nakedness anyway but leave my headband on - rather unaccountably. I don’t have to weight my clothes down as there no wind to blow them into the rockpools, so I just rush into the water. I feel it reach my thighs and have to make myself fall forwards - oh it’s cold cold. Burning cold. I gasp and flounder but the water is shallow - hardly waist high - I don’t really swim, I flop about in the water like a dying fish gasping and struggling. I lie on my back and hold my feet out of the sea in case it helps. In a very short time I lurch to my feet and wade back toward the rocks rimming the pool. They are all lined with sand because the pool is cut off from the sea and the sand has settled. It’s odd. That’s unusual. Also the water in the lagoon and all the sea around has a milky tint, which is also unusual. 

As I wade I find that I am so stiff again in all my joints from cold that I doubt my agility on the rocks. I feel as though I am made from rock - I feel sharp and inflexible. But I get out and pull on my top and I’m glad there’s no wind. I don’t wait to look about myself, but put my shoes on and immediately make for the cliff, hoping that a climb will warm my ligaments again. I pause having reached the top and look out to sea. Longships appears magnified, It looks so close and solid as if you could reach out to it. I’ve never seen in appear so near to the land. Wolf Rock behind it looks three times the size it usually does. Even the sea behind it can be distinctly seen. I climb. 

National Trust workers are carrying wooden poles down the road toward the sea as I run back the way I came. I run easily but when I reach the rocky steep path with the winter river I walk. I am warm now save for the skin of the soles of my feet which feel as though they have a thin ice sheet over them. At the top I run again, but suddenly realise I have stopped seeing, so I pause and run back to have another shot at the elation of the Brisons. Of course its not the same, so I take off my gloves, pull down my shorts squat down and piss in the gateway looking out to see and glancing across the field to Sim’s house. It’s a good use of a full-colour view.