The walk back to the car from Meldon Pool has dispelled the cold from our fingers and toes and the simple question is, head home or head to Foggintor Quarry? Given that we could be forgiven for thinking, but for the falling leaves, that this was a mid-summer day, Foggintor has an inevitability to it. And it is sort of on the way home too.
Even had we written off Foggintor, the drive back over the moor where the passing cotton wool clouds allow searchlight beams of sunshine to sweep the undulating hillsides burnished with bracken, put the alternative drive back up the A30 in the shade. The sweeping clouds should have given the game away but we were too busy watching the scenery to take that small detail in.
The small car park at Yellowmede Farm was sheltered in a way that Meldon Pool had not been, in other words the stiff northerly breeze that had only been hinted at earlier was now cutting with a vengeance across the open moor. We stamped our way briskly down the torn up tramway but by the time we reached Foggintor we were beginning to suspect we had made a gross error of judgement. But we were here now, there was just a little shelter under the tall granite cliffs and we had an audience, now or never.
There is nothing quite so unpleasant as squeezing your way into a wet wetsuit, especially one that has been chilled to only just above freezing in your bag. This was consequently one of those moments when I was so glad I had both dry swimwear and a second, dry wetsuit. F said it was cheating to have a second. No, just lucky.
And essential. I didn’t actually squeal as the water percolated up the inside of the wetsuit legs I was too busy biting my lip. I launched forward under the watchful camera of the audience, once you’re in there is no point in backing out. There was however a ‘whoop’ from behind me.
The pool is not big and mostly not so deep except off to the one side where the sides slice vertically into the black, shady water. The rest is mostly just about deep enough that you can swim carefully but every now and then bump into a rock or kick a rock, which would explain the deep cut I found later once my feet had defrosted. Out on the water though the wind whipped up ripples on the surface and turning into it the ripples were flung up in sheets of biting droplets.
Two circuits and there was no more to do so clambering out again into the relative warmth of the sunshine, under the gaze of a new but equally bewildered audience, did not seem to be quitting in the face of adversity. And for the second time today the drama of wet skin vs clinging clothes was played out in dance form.
My 100 Swims South-West Google map.