Well what a very strange weather week it’s been. I can’t ever remember quite such a chilly summer solstice day. The longest day is meant to be one of warmth and sunshine, of bright, long hours and soft breezes. Instead it was cold, overcast and a bit dreary! But we did still swim (of course) and knew that we were joining thousands of others doing the same to mark midsummer.
There’s something a bit magical about midsummer, a touch of fairytale and stardust. In Scandinavian countries it is one of the biggest festivals of the year full of flowers, parties and dancing. With endless daylight and flowery headdresses they dance throughout the day (and night). Even though we don’t have Moomins or the Northern Lights I think we could make it more of a thing here too. We could have midnight swimming and dancing across the land if only we could just ensure better weather and less tv sport distraction. At least Karen and I managed to swim in open water in flowery orange hats which has to be a start for others to follow?!
And so we find ourselves half way through the year already – outdoor swimming definitely focuses your attention on the changing seasons. There’s such a difference in the light, the air temperature…and of course the water temperature, depending on what time of year you’re swimming. Karen would argue that we don’t need to be daily swimming to confirm this but I’m still trying to convince her that we should earnestly stick to daily swims (even though I can’t now remember why!). It has to be good for all of us to remember that we are part of our surroundings, that nature affects each and every one of us and that we can feel better when engaging with our natural environment. In fact it’s a two way thing – we gain an awareness of the fragility of the natural world and that leads to a desire to look after it, in turn it can give us a healthy buzz and real, deep seated joy. It is therefore imperative that we interact with nature responsibly as wild swimmers – Suzie Wheway’s lovely article for The Outdoor Swimming Society gives much to ponder on and worth a moment to read.
Ok enough happy hippy stuff. It’s been a good week of swimming for the Orange Hat Ladies despite the less than summery weather and we’ve been increasing our distances and (hopefully) improving our ability. As the waters warm, wildlife changes and there’s been much discussion online about the arrival of the jellyfish this week with many helpful guides being promoted – the Wild Swimming Cornwall guide is a useful one if you’re unsure. We need to remember that we share the sea with a while bunch of others and we need to make space for all.
All around us nature is blossoming, so much so that we have been bumping into seaweed repeatedly, wearing it like unshaven armpit hair and getting it hooked on goggles. Plus each day this week Karen has managed without fail to become charmingly attached to a ring of furry seaweed around her ankle… it’s a classy summer look!