I woke quite late this morning, due to a great nights sleep. I walked down the stairs, with surprisingly fresh legs. I wolfed down three Weetabix’s with some homemade honey.

We got up to leave for Newtown at 9am, where we were meeting the local Motor Neurone Disease fundraising group for a chat and a couple of pictures. After taking a few pictures and having a chat, I set off for the day.

The sun was blistering again. I was quite worried with this, as I had picked up bad sunburn on my neck over the first couple of days, and I knew that I was putting on a wetsuit tomorrow. The sunburn was exactly in the area where swimmers commonly get chaffing during endurance swims. I really could have done with a cool, cloudy day, but this certainly wasn’t the case (again!).

I started off walking along the nice smooth flat path, which was lined by the River Severn on my right and a canal on my left. Julie told me that my walk into Welshpool was very pleasant, flat and easy. “She was right”. This was such a pleasant walk and I was enjoying it thoroughly. I stopped getting excited by seeing a family of swans and ducks in the water, as it just became the norm over the first three days.

I was making really good progress, until all of a sudden I planted my right foot on the ground and I got a very sharp pain wrapping around my ankle. Every time I put my right foot on the ground, the pain was unbearable. I was getting very worried at this stage, as I knew I still had many hours of walking ahead of me for the day. The pain wasn’t going away, it was only getting worse. I had to walk on my tippy toe on my right foot to help alleviate the pain. I was limping very badly, and I could see a few people looking at me sideways to see if I was alright. I really didn’t want to do further or long-term damage, but I also didn’t want to stop. I kept telling myself, that I basically wouldn’t be using my legs from tomorrow onwards, so “just keep going!”

Patch, who will be one of the full-time paddlers on this trip, rang me to discuss a few things. We decided that it would be best if I keep walking to Pool Quay instead of stopping at Welshpool, so that I could just start swimming on Day 4. Originally the plan was to stop at Welshpool for the evening, but this plan had changed.

This meant more walking for me for the day. I kept thinking about how my ankle would cope with all this walking, but tried to blank out the pain as much as possible by trying to stay upbeat, keep taking in the scenery and breaking down the journey into small increments.

I had reached Welshpool, and my body was shutting down quite badly. I was questioning the decision to carry on to Pool Quay at that stage.

As I was approaching Pool Quay, I got a message from my Caitirona who said that my Just Giving fundraising target had been reached. I quickly checked it on my phone. I work for a company called Hydrock, and the owner of the company is Dr. Brian McConnell. I saw that Brian kindly donated a healthy sum and sent me on his and the companies best wishes. “This is the kind of company Hydrock are. They constantly promote healthy living within the company, which is led by getting a free fruit delivery every Monday morning and allocating a £200 healthy living bonus to every employee every year”. I used my healthy living bonus for my swimming club membership, which I use five times a week, every week, for the time I’ve been at Hydrock. So Hydrock’s healthy living bonus really helped me for this swim. “Thanks Brian and Hydrock”.

I arrived in Pool Quay and finally met up with Patch, who had three big bags on the ground next to him with all his kit in. We had a quick chat, and then went into the only pub/B&B in Pool Quay and ask could we stay the night. “The answer was No”. We asked a few people in the pub could we stay in their house, but no luck.

The person behind the bar said he could drop us to The Green Dragon in Buttington, where we planned on getting food. It was 9pm and we had nowhere to stay for the night. I had no tent, sleeping bag, pillow etc. After our meal, The Green Dragon said that we could stay on their camp site for the night.

Patch had a “one and half man” tent, as he said himself. I had only met Patch a couple of hour’s prior and now we were sharing a small tent together.

We shared one sleeping bag by splitting it open and covering both of us. My pillow for the night was Patches life jacket. The tent was quite snug though and we both went to sleep pretty much straight away.

I have to give a big thank you to The Green Dragon, who kindly provided Patch and I with free accommodation on their campsite adjacent to their pub.

That’s now the end of the walking part of this trip. I have reached the start point for the swim (Pool Quay). It’s all swimming from here on in. Over the last three days I covered 79.26km on foot. The weather was blistering for those three days. I was walking solo for two and half days, which was both very peaceful but very lonely.

We are all very excited to get in the water tomorrow.

Let the real adventure begin!

If people would like to donate, you can do so by visiting my Just Giving page, it’s really simple to do. All monies will go directly to Motor Neurone Disease Association.


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Start Location: Newtown
End Location: Pool Quay
Distance travelled: 32.77km
Exercise Duration: 9hr:57mins
GPS Track: //connect.garmin.com/modern/profile/RossSwims

Day 3 – River Severn Swim