Start Location: Hampton Loade
End Location: Stourport-On-Severn
Distance travelled: 20.07km
Exercise Duration: 6hr:09mins
GPS Track: //connect.garmin.com/modern/profile/RossSwims
During the night we had our first spells of heavy rain. It had been bucketing down all night! The first thing I thought about, was the fact that my wetsuit was on top of my tent drying (or in this case, just getting saturated). I unzipped the front of the tent, as was greeted with a nice wet pair of shoes. I said “no thank you”, so I walked around barefoot all morning in the wet grass.
It was a strange, eerie sort of the day from the outset. It was damp, wet and cold, something we all had experienced in the last few days. We had to say goodbye to Charlie also the night before, as she had to leave. That feeling of losing one of your team members on an adventure like this, feels terrible and will have a lasting impact. Charlie had been phenomenal for the time she was her, but we had to move forward.
We kitted up and off we went. The River Severn was so much different today. There was a light cold mist on the water, and nothing but cloud cover in the skies. We had been used to starting in the morning with an incredible orange glow shining our way from the sun. No such luck today.
We had planned on getting to a place called Stourport-On-Severn, which was about another 20km away. During the first hour we covered 5km. This was our best pace yet, but was helped by the fast flowing water in many parts. Patch and I took our first break at the hour mark. I was feeling very cold at this stage. For the first time on this trip, I had to run around like a crazy man in a farmers field to try and warm up. I just needed that feeling of warmth again. Feeling cold on a normal day is bearable, but feeling cold and then having to swim another 15km in cold water, that is or can be unbearable.
About 9km in, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how much of a slog this day was becoming. I love the thought of getting into this situation. I enjoy testing myself physically and mentally simultaneously. Something in me loves when I’m faced with an incredibly tough swim, and I’m halfway through and struggling. I have learned to welcome the situation, which I think is half the battle. Then learn how to switch off your brain, and think simple. For example, during my toughest section of my swim today, I completely switched off and was thinking about where and when Caitriona and I are going to get married. Don’t focus on the pain or cold, keep swimming and think of something completely different.
We reached a town called Bewdley at about the 14km mark. There was festival on, and a lot of people came to the river wall to see what the hell Patch and I were doing. It’s quite weird to have so many people staring at you. We were passed through the bridge and knew that Stourport-On-Severn was only about 5km away.
After we turned our next bend in the river, we had this very long straight section of river in front of us. The wind was blowing against the flow and us, creating choppy waves. My body was tired and cold, and this was the last thing I needed. It felt like I was swimming in the sea. It was a big struggle, and I couldn’t muster up the courage to look forward, as I knew what a slog it was.
We reached Lickhill Caravan Park where Caitriona had organised us to stay for the night. It was an amazing Caravan Park, and the first thing I done was pitch our tent while it was dry and then head for the hot showers.
It had been the most gruelling day so far, and tomorrow could even be tougher, with a lot of rain forecasted.
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