BY Kay Collins
I hope everyone is staying as sane as we all can in these still very difficult times. I just thought I would update you on my chosen swimming activities over the summer months.
A while back I did let some of you know that I had taken to the river at Wadenhoe, it is a lovely spot although very popular on a hot day!!!! The swimming was lovely albeit you have to be on constant spotting for boats. I also moved on to the river at Fotheringhay, it is reasonably easy to get in just in front of the castle mound but a slight scramble getting out. Again the water was lovely and again very popular on a hot day. The most important thing to quickly realise with river swimming is that however far you go you have to get back!!!! So my choice was always to swim against the current going out, then have a reasonably leisurely swim back.
But my out and out favourite is The Guildenburgh Water, just the other side of Whittlesey. It is an old disused quarry formerly a brick pit that was used for extracting clay to make grey bricks. I believe It was closed and flooded back in the 1930’s. Now used as a Scuba diving school and a training centre for long distance swimmers, the centre has been part of the local community for many years. It certainly has a very old worn feel of times gone by but I think that very much adds to the charm of the place.
The water is high in Magnesium which supposedly has special properties for helping anyone with joint problems, and has a lovely silky feel to it. It is deep, which is needed for the diving aspect, so you would have to be a competent and confident swimmer as there is not many places for getting out apart from start and finish!!! However you are required to swim with a tow float for safety reasons, so that A you can be clearly seen in the water and B if you do get into trouble you can easily go into the rest position on your back and place your arms around your float while you wait to be rescued. The added bonus of swimming in the quarry is that you are not constantly worried about looking for boats, which seem to go much faster when you are in the water with them !!!
Once your body settles into the water and you have taken time to regulate your breathing and let your body adjust to the water temperature, which for me usually takes about a lap of the quarry, then it is just heaven, just you gliding through the cool water, with no other thoughts only you at one with the water, just losing yourself for an hour or so is sheer pleasure. The cost of an adult swim is £7 which some might think is a little high, but once you have had your swim, there is a lovely grass area with picnic tables and the centre also has a café, so for your £7 you could actually make a day of it, or certainly just relax after your swim and watch others, and just relish at what you have just experienced in the lovely silky water.
For me not being able to swim for the whole of lock down was not an option. It very quickly became clear that there were alternatives which have been amazing. So don’t let the rest of the summer go by without dipping your toe into some wild water somewhere, trust me you will absolutely love it. Swim safely and always have a swim buddy if swimming in the river. Have fun and enjoy.