Since the motor was off the road today we cycled to Threipmuir for a swim. Both of us cycle to work most days but we haven't cycled together for a while. I didn't think it would work as well as it did. After Craiglockhart we got onto the canal and then followed the cycle path up to the Rangers' Station at Harlaw and along to Threipmuir.
Last time I was up this way I totally failed to find this bridge. I had wrongly remembered it to be before the bypass.
There was a bit of loose gravel on the brief downhill just before this corner and I heard a shout and turned round to see Mary on the ground. I thought she had survived unscathed until she stood and I saw her leg. Also she had staved her finger and bruised a hip. I felt so sorry for M who was totally a brave soldier and we were back cycling again in a couple of minutes.
People now turn up with sandwiches and children and bikes and dogs and wash their flippin dogs' arses in the same water we have to put our mouths in. I think the fishermen are to blame. They hated the swimmers moving in on their turf, their Sunday hangover and quiet place and now there are wetsuitted health freaks stroking up and down in the way of their fly casting complaining if you hook their swimcaps. So they huffily go elsewhere but not before pulling the plug and half draining the place making it waist deep and now it has a beach of sorts and people can see the swimmers having some kind of perverse fun and they say I think I'll bring the dog along and wash the stink out of his arse, he enjoys a bit of a skitter in the shallows. Just my theory. Anyway I hope they don't turn up in substantial numbers or I'm going to go elsewhere. Its bad enough hopping over the sharp stones on the beach with less than 1metre visibility in the murky water.
It was so grim when we got there I asked M if she wouldn't be happier cycling home without a swim, given her injuries sustained on the way here. (But really it was because I was dressed in just a t-shirt and gilet and the Baltic wind was discouraging to say the least.) Mary boldly said we were here to swim and I grudgingly got rubbered up. Just getting into a wet suit warms you up and once there it is much warmer with only hands and face being exposed to the mild water. (15') After that first jarful down your spine it's not long till you're swimming up and down without a care. I was trialling a new pair of small swim goggles and happy to report they stayed on, mostly waterproof and I only look a bit like a mildly surprised sex offender. (Raised eyebrows, sunken eyes.)
Swim caps. Whats with swim caps? They are not cut above your ears so why have them fit only HALFWAY over your ears in a shapeless dome. It would cost no more to have them headshaped and with flaps that come PROPERLY over your ears. Unless some people enjoy the feeling of a cupful of cold water poured into a tilted ear (as you breath)? And would hate to be deprived of that by a well fitted swim cap. Do such things exist or are we just all going to settle for the hemispherical jobs that start below your ears but feel stretched and then ride up to half way up your ears while you swim allowing the water to sloosh into your semicircular canals and stay there for 36hrs going snap, crackle and pop? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? I wear ear plugs and tape them in with sports tape and often a neoprene hood which holds all this in place and keeps about 68~74% of the water out. Today I was trialling speedo ear plugs, which Mike was rating last we spoke. They were ok. I may have to modify and tape. Also all that stuff in my ears makes me a little deaf and I end up standing shouting at Mary about dogs and arses and things in the shallows. I don't think it's going to be my favourite sport, but I have a few plans for it before throwing in the towel.
Being a gentleman I gave M my jacket as she had not brought one and we were both quite chilly. The wind was still doing its worst to vex the lake. M had been really brave about falling off her bike so I cycled home without a jacket in her honour. We both swore to remember fleeces EVERY time we go for a swim from now on, no matter how warm it feels in the flat before we set off.
As I have said before the best part of open water swimming is going home for a big lunch and maybe a snooze. I spent the afternoon catching up with blogging stuff watching the rain rattle down. Each time we go swimming I feel we are one step closer to doing it with some aptitude. Still a few steps to go mind.