Tuesday, 8 August 2017

reservoir gods

Island hopping at Gladhouse.
Mark set up the Monday eve swim group thing for Monday, again at Gladhouse. There were a few interested parties but fewer than the last couple of Tuesdays. Lifts were arranged. And this time Mary came along too. I was keen for her to enjoy the swim in what were similar conditions to the last couple of successful outings. Having not done any long swims she decided to keep it brief and just visit the nearest island. The rest of us had opted to swim round the island across the way. Yes, that one you can hardly see it is so far away!

photo Mary

photo Mary

island at full zoom

There was no hanging about - I always take a bit of time to acclimatise (I don't swim much) so spluttered and caught my breath for the first 15 minutes, until the coldish water tipping in my neckline warmed up. About halfway across I trod water and took a couple of pics, getting the camera out of the bumbag round my waist. It is on a leash so if I drop it, I won't lose it.

Then on to the island. It took a while but by the time you could see the bottom again I had relaxed and was breathing fine and enjoying the lack of choppy water. Jim arrived and told us some facts about the water we were swimming in; where it came from and other stuff, but I was distracted by the amazing surroundings and by a couple of pandions flying overhead. Jasmin had mentioned there might be a pair in the vicinity but also to keep schtum for obvious reasons. Hence the less well used (and less google-able) name. I wasn't sure I wasn't dreaming. And cursed the lack of zoom on the w/proof camera.

Jim telling us how he made this water

Mark, Jim and I all have a dislike of water in our ears. We have all messed about with ear plugs and various ways of keeping it out on a swim. I found after a while, and various experiments, that zinc oxide sports tape holds on surprisingly well even when wet, and keeps most of the water out better than any plugs I have tried. Also it doesn't block out sound too much. An advantage. So I let Mark and Jim try the tape and both reported back that it was successful. Jim liked how it was so sticky even after an hour in the water that he nearly lost chunks of earlobe and tufts of hair taking it off. 

However he had taken quite long strips at the start of the evening, which protruded from under his swim cap and while he was giving us his lecture tour about the environs, looked (only a teeny tiny bit) like John McCririck. It was only the sideburn/deerstalker thing. Really. Only that. OK I'll cycle next week.

Mark not paying attention in class

It was a properly glorious evening to be in the middle of this amazing place.

what do you mean you don't recall the alien spacecraft landing?

Catherine turned back at the island, the rest of us went round. 
The sun was just dipping below the trees.

I don't look like this.

In recent weeks I've been annoyed by drips on the lens spoiling photos - it's not always easy to see results while treading water etc. So I was trying various techniques to disperse the water, shaking the camera and the like. Below was the first and last attempt to blow the water off. Frogspawn filter more like. 

Next up: wiping off the water with a wet finger. Waterspout filter.

There are less convincing ghosts on the internet than this.

dude on left - no strides

I was so busy dicking around with photos in the shallows towards the back of the island that the group got away from me. When I eventually caught Jim he had made 2 new friends; good going since this has to be one of the less well inhabited spots in the world. They were proper swimmers and one was not even wearing a wet suit. OMG! I was never cold during the 50odd mins we were out there but I couldn't speak properly when we finished which would suggest I wasn't overly warm either. And here's a dude half a mile from any land only in his speedos and swim hat. They also knew about the pandions. In fact it seems like a well known secret between the swimmers, the birders, the fisherfolk, the wind farm objectors and the locals, judging by posts on the internet and friends feedback. Still, lets keep it our secret.

Me, Jim and Mark as photographed by Mary.
Yes, all the girls finished before all the boys!

I was glad to see Mary (out the water and changed) when we eventually got back.
Her blog here

Caption competition time.
Apologies Tracey.

We changed quickly as clouds of midges and flying things were circling. Jim forgot his towel so we loaned him Mary's towelling kaftan; unfortunately he didn't put it on. All that fresh air and cold water gives you a massive appetite so we only stopped once on the drive home to get a quick pic of the sunset. Another superb outdoor swim in just the best surroundings. It doesn't get any better.

1.37 miles swum

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