It was 7am and the alarm went off. I turned like an old man of at least 90 to turn it off. As i turned off the alarm, i was worried for the first time on this trip. I was simply wrecked! My body was really tired and I just haven’t been getting enough sleep. I knew today’s swim was about 18km, and my body was scared of the thought of this.
We have been starting far too late everyday. So we all decided to start earlier and finish earlier from now on. We haven’t been eating our dinner until about 11pm over the last few days, and have been putting up tents in the dark all the time. the swims are taking us about 7 hours, and I anticipated they would take 4 to 5 hours.
The first thing i done when i got up was to get coffee. i found the nice bag of filtered costa coffee that e packed, but couldn’t find the filter for making the coffee. So no coffee for me, and i had to soldier on.
Caitriona drove Charlie and Patch down to the start point first. i was back in the campsite on my own and i took this opportunity to prepare myself mentally for the day ahead. Citron me back for me and when we were dropped down to the start punt, we were greeted by the same people that watched us finishing yesterday evening.
We started at about 10:30am, and this was the first time we finally started early. The day was, once again, blistering hot. Today was the hottest day by far, and it had to be around 25 degrees. We were making some great progress, but were constantly faced with shallow areas, which was my biggest worry when swimming along. Patch and Charlie were doing such a great job looking out for the safety of the team all day. They even started trying some yoga moves on the SUP’s, which was quite amusing to stop swimming and watch the two of them have some fun trying yoga.
The swimming was so enjoyable. One of my main goals from this adventure was to promote wild swimming. It’s such a fantastic sport/hobby for people to participate in. Everybody can get involved and can be safe, with a bit of local knowledge or some good company. That feeling of ‘swimming freely’ as i like to put it, is tough to explain. When I train in the pool, i am restricted to the width of the lane ropes, and also have people banging in to me all the time. It can be very stressful in a pool environment. Get yourself down to a nearby river, lake or sea, and simply ‘swim freely’.
The day was pushing on, and we were about 14km in, and still not finished. We saw Caitirona sitting on the riverbank with a woman called Dawn and her two dogs. Dawn brought us some tea, coffee, chocolate and crisps. not the most nutritional food in the world, but i said “why not”. We spent a bit of time talking and playing with the two dogs in the water. Dawn and Caitirona had clambered down a massively steep bank to get us, but now had to get back up that same bank. Patch had to push the two of them up the bank one by one.
We went back in the river and was told it was about another two bends to the finish point for the evening. These were the longest two bends of my life. We finally saw Caitriona in the distance at our finish point, who was standing on this stony beach that was jutting out into the River Severn. Once we got out of the river Patch told me we had done 18.65km. This was our best day yet for mileage, and there was very little flow.
It was Caitirona birthday today, so we decided to have a barbecue and a few drinks on the beach. It was fantastic! We sat on the beach listening to the flow of the river and watching the roaring fire that we made. We had to sleep in the bottom of a farmers field, where the grass was about 4 foot long and full of thistles and slugs. The mosquito bites also came into full swins this evening also.
We all went off to bed, and i literally fell asleep straight away. Today had been another little victory. These little victories were staring to add up.
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Start Location: Shrawardine
End Location: The Isle
Distance travelled: 18.65km
Exercise Duration: 7hr:21mins
GPS Track: //connect.garmin.com/modern/profile/RossSwims