I have not been to Dartmeet since swim #43 back in May and now it’s October. That is actually a good thing and what this 100 swims is all about: not going to the same place over and over (though I have probably swum 5 days out of 7 at Holne Bridge all through September as the opportunities to go further afield have been sadly lacking and wonderful as it has been it has also been tinged with some frustration). This however will only be a ‘splash and dash’.
There is a pool about 200m downstream of the bridge, it’s nowhere more than chest deep and the riverbed is a maze of boulders which are not easy to see on a day like today when the water is flowing fast and stained dark orange by the moorland peat. The big advantage is that the bank slopes gently to the water, it is dotted with convenient rocks to sit on whilst changing and the grass is cropped to a soft turf. And it’s in the sunshine, or it would be but for that large cloud, which though backlit by the sun and looking spectacular , is stubbornly refusing to budge.
The water is ‘refreshing’ in sharp contrast to the sea yesterday which was tepid by comparison and I take a sharp breath as I lean forward into the flow, kicking cautiously to keep my place in the stream and aware that at any second a sharp kick my meet an immovable object. I don’t want to create too much disturbance as about 4 feet away from me upstream and in the slack water behind a rock a fish has surfaced twice in short succession to snatch an unwary morsel from the surface. With a flourish the fish snatches another something but I could neither see the grabbed nor the grabber.
The flow whisks me downstream hands outstretched as buffers through a narrow channel and into the shallows. It is simplest just to get out on the bank and walk upstream before another go around.
The sun however has clearly abandoned me for the day and despite a vigorous swim against the flow in my very own endless pool the chill is making itself felt and it is I think towel and cake time.