Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting here in January telling you I’m now officially hooked on outdoor sea swimming. Even two weeks ago I would never have said it. However, since last Saturday I have been the grand total of 5 times taking me from couch to mermaid in just 8 days. I always thought people who swam in cold waters in January were completely nuts. Having tried it a few times I completely understand why they do it and how addictive it is. I’ve been called mad, crazy and nuts myself several times this week but I don’t care and I’m not disagreeing with you. There is nothing like the endorphin release from swimming in the cold sea and these micro adventures are taking me to places and beaches I’ve never seen in Orkney. This new found joy is absolutely here to stay. Yesterday, as we swam around at Evie beach (my favourite swim yet) seals, came to join us. Amazing.
Many people as you can see, swim in just a bathing suit. I tried it in the week and it was a completely different experience. I acclimatized and was able to stay in for 15 minutes but I won’t lie, it was uncomfortable getting in the water. I decided to return to my wetsuit until the water warms up and I will acclimatize then. Even so, nothing put a smile on my face like cold water swimming. I feel like I’ve wasted ten years in Orkney by not doing it!
The key is to get dressed quickly afterwards and have a flask of hot drink ready. I inadvertently went into the men’s toilet to dress yesterday and as I was half (un) dressed, when I turned around and wondered why there were urinals in the women’s toilets. My clothes went on in record time and I have now ordered a Dryrobe so I change anywhere without freezing to death or traumatizing any dog walkers.
This morning we swam at Yesnaby and all bobbed up and down on the waves laughing our heads off. It really does give you a high. (I’m in the middle with the white hat on) Cold water swimming was even on Songs Of Praise today showing just how in vogue I am right now.
We often don’t appreciate what we have on our doorstep. I try not to take what I have here for granted but there is still much for me to visit. For instance, I have never been to the museum in Kirkwall so made it one of my 49 things. (by the way, those of you asking for the list of my 49 things, it’s coming soon)
It was a flying visit to the museum, and I will need to make time to go back, but I fell in love with this beautiful staircase made in the 1820s Absolutely gorgeous.
Before I moved to Orkney I was introduced to a very special person who I always called on here MyFriendFiona. Fiona and I just clicked, sharing a strong Christian faith, a mad sense of humour and a deep love of Orkney. Fiona was born and raised in Westray, one of the north isles and Orkney ran through her blood. She had the most ‘can do’ attitude I’ve ever known and years ago when we had to transport a carpet from A to B in the dark, down a hill and in the snow she simply strapped it to the top of a Ford Fiesta and said ‘Fiestas stick to the roads like glue’ then we drove down the hill laughing all the way and carried the carpet to its new home. Last Saturday after my first Polar Bear swim I dropped in to see her with pictures. She was now very unwell with cancer and it turned out to be my last visit. Fiona died peacefully the following day. It was a privilege to know this incredible lady and she was an absolute rock in my early years here. Fiona made everyone feel so special and included. She was tremendous fun, completely nuts and the best and most loyal friend a person could ask for. In the words of her sister ‘Fiona always put everyone before herself. Be like Fiona’ goodbye my lovely friend, thanks for the laughs and see you on the other side.
Have a great week everyone. X