Friday, 14 September 2018

The 7 stages of swimming with Suzanna

Photo from Suzanna Swims
It turns out I'm more of a wuss than I thought I was.  Last year me & Steve invested in a wetsuit each and have been enjoying a little open water swimming.  We've explored a number of lakes and a couple of beaches but never quite had the nerve to launch into a river.  Last week I met up with Suzanna from Suzanna swims and over the course of a few days she took a number of us out wild swimming in the lakes, rivers and tarns of north Cumbria.  I'd been really looking forward to it until I heard we were going sans wetsuits!  Eeek!  (To be fair, we could have worn one if we'd wanted but I didn't want to be the only wuss in the group!)

Anyway, having been out with her on 3 separate occasions (including once at 7am!) I realised that there are 7 stages to swimming with Suzanna and they look something like this...

Stage 1:  Woo hoo!  This is going to be awesome!

Photo from Suzanna Swims

The excitement of the unknown!  Heading off to do something different and brave, surrounded by a like minded group of people.  What could possibly go wrong?

Stage 2:  Hmm... this is looking a bit remote...


As you head higher into the fells the reality of the situation begins to sink in.  You spot the river, or tarn, from afar, and begin to wonder what on earth made you agree to do this in the first place...

Stage 3:  What was I thinking?


I won't lie to you - as you begin to strip down to your swimsuit on the side of a freezing cold river, you *will* question your sanity.  Suddenly those grotty changing rooms from compulsory swimming lessons at school become appealing.  In fact anything with walls and a heater becomes appealing.

Stage 4:  Holy &%$£*@!!! This is cold!

Photo from Wild Rambling

Rivers are not heated.  Rivers are cold.  Getting in will be painful but, as I kept telling myself, the only thing stopping me is me.  It's best to keep going because a) a slow and steady pace is best and b) if you stand still for too long Suzanna does this...

Photo from Wild Rambling

Stage 5:  This is actually rather lovely

Photo from Suzanna Swims

The first minute is by far the worst.  Once you get past that your body adjusts and the whole thing becomes rather lovely and invigorating and you understand what drives Suzanna to do this day after day as she guides groups through the experience.

Photo from Wild Rambling

Stage 6:  Can I stay in a bit longer?

Photo from Wild Rambling

Once we were all in, getting us out again within a safe period of time became the issue.  Suzanna has her watch on and keeps close tabs on us at all times, she know exactly how long it's safe for us to stay in and ensures we are all out and drying off before we get into any trouble.

Stage 7:  That was FANTASTIC - when can I go again?

Photo from Wild Rambling

Once you've done it you'll definitely want to do it again, I promise you.  It's such a fantastic experience!  Yes you get cold but you also get warm again afterwards and the hot chocolate tastes so much sweeter when it's hard earned!

If you're looking to do something different on your next visit to the lakes then definitely track Suzanna down - you can find her website here or follow her on social media:  Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

Photo from Suzanna Swims