I've been swimming for as long as I can remember, as a child living close to the sea I spent every summer at the beach. As an adult I took up what we now refer to as 'wild swimming' but would always stop for the winter months except for a New Year's dip. Last year was the first year I swam consistently all year round, thanks to finding a wonderful group of women who supported each other through our first winter of swimming. Making great friendships and hanging out with other like-minded women inspires me!
I am a part time artist/small business owner producing creations under the brand name ‘The Black Pug Press’ and a part time account exec in publishing. Lots of my creations are inspired by the ocean and my connection to it through wild swimming. I was never an early riser until I found swimming and I'm grateful to have something I love doing so much that I will happily set my alarm extra early. Now the earlier the swim, the better. I feel like it sets me up for the rest of the day - it clears my mind and helps to focus me.
One day you can feel fine in the water and the next you will feel much colder. I’ve had to learn when I can stay in longer and when I need to get out but getting in very sloooowly is key for me and I always find a little bit of swearing helps ease the initial pain. I’ve learnt to read the conditions - wind direction, tide times, rips, currents and I never forget to bring my hot water bottle and some easy to put on clothes (no nickers required).
When I begin to take the first few steps into the water, it feels spiky but smooth at the same time, I feel as though it lifts me and holds me in its icy embrace, it really is the best way to connect with nature, you are literally stepping into it and immersing yourself. I find that having two jobs I am often juggling and can struggle to find headspace – which is needed for the creative juices to flow. Covid also brought this strange burn out, which I think a lot of people are feeling at the moment, so swimming helps switch off my overactive brain for a short time and give me space to giggle and laugh.
That’s what moments with the water can do, they make you feel alive.