Sorry this has taken longer than I thought - real life takes you over, when you get back to it. Domestic trips to London, Aeschylus and the Importance of the Frontier in American History all take on an unprecedented importance. I do intend to put the photos up now I've got them, as well, but I haven't quite mastered the technology as yet...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Number of Swims (Total): Twelve.
Number of Places Swum : Seven.
Those being: Sea Point, Forty Foot, Barnaderg Bay (Letterfrack), Dawros River, Tully Lake, Inish Bofin Beach (South), Inish Bofin Beach (North).
Distance Swum (total) : 4130m.
Our Companions, some thanks, and people who made the trip what it was :
JENNY. Green Umbrella Man. Alex. Johanna. Seamus. Boy who chatted Gloria up in a bar. Polish man who gave us a ride. Bernard and the Herring Gull. Leo and Rob, for telling me it wasn't a stupid idea in the first place, and for all their support. James for daring to wet his immaculate coiffeur. Benjamin, Iona, Ben, Patrick, Richard, the middle aged men reading the paper naked on the bank of the Granta. Lindsay. Sue and Angela at Common Ground. And Jenny, again. It's only fair.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Wild Swimming is everywhere at the moment. Or at least, all over the liberal press - the Independent ran an article last week, and the Guardian had a fantastic supplement this weekend, with a rather beautiful photgraph of Jesus Green pool. I was rather sorry that Deakin wasn't mentioned in either; it is, afterall, a year since his death now, and I don't believe that wild swimming could ever have attained such a high profile without Waterlog. I would like to take this opportunity one last time to thank him for being such a huge inspiration to me - I've never been moved quite so profoundly by the words of somebody I never knew.
Reading about other swimmers' "raisons de nager" always interest me, and they're often completely different from my own. I feel perhaps more kinship with the sight-seeing swimmer, who wants to look at spider-crabs and perhaps a seal than with the tough old octogenarian looking after their heart-rated by plunging into icy water, perhaps, but no two people ever expound precsely the same philosophy.
I have had a number of very different types of swim this summer - poignant and playful in the moat, the odd "symbolic dip" in hideous weather on hove beach, long swims at Jesus Green, icy early morning swims at Emmanuel before lectures, gruelling and satisfying missions across Sea Point, frightening and exhilarating at Forty Foot... not all quite what I would ordinarily think of as "my style". If you asked me, I would tell you I prefer to be in the sea, I like to know which point I'm swimming to and that I'd like it to be a good long distance away; I like, ordinarily, to swim around 2k, something that there was never opportunity for when we were travelling, and didn't quite know our surroundings.
In Ireland, I discovered swimming as a form of tourism, not only because we were travelling. There was one idyllic beach on Inish Bofin, for example, that you could only reach by either climbing quite tricky rocks over rocks, or swimming across - I travelled there one way, and back the other. It lent a sense of rather Famous Five-ish danger and excitement to the place. At Sea Point and Forty Foot, the local swimming culture was the most remarkable thing; at Letterfrack, we discovered that swimming was a good way to make friends. Our trip sounded eccentric enough to Alex, afterall, that he decided to join us and find out what all the fuss was about.
People, I think, need water. perhaps more than they know.