Awe aye, the nights are fair drawing in. Summers done again, gone are long lazy warm swims into the evening sun,(well when I say warm, I mean tepid). Summer nights lead to a few memorable camping and swimming adventures. Summer in Scotland is truly amazing, it’s that constant feeling of adventure, every day has the possibility of a swim, any evening could have a spontaneous camp, anything (or everything) is possible.
Starting wild swimming’s has lead me to more adventures, It must be the constant interaction with the outdoors. I don’t know if it is the swimming, but there have not been many mornings for the last couple of years when I didnt wake up with a smile, I am filled immediately with excitement, a whole new day to have fun. Sure laughs were always close by, but since starting firing on a wetsuit and spending and hour or so concentrating on breathing. (Is there any other activity with such a focus on breathing? Yeah yeah, scuba diving but for the majority of folk that’s not a regular activity and a tank of air limits the activity. ) The constant, total focus on body postion and action. Breathing, a mouthful of water recenters thoughts, a mindfulness that settles out all the jaggy spikes of life. Being surrounded by majestic hills in a middle loch, untouchable from stresses and strains, increases the feeling of happiness. Sounds dreamy, but as the temperatures start dropping, that warm settled environment with the chance to swim forever, has gone for another year.
That was fast.
Reaching that calm warm mindfulness seems at the end of a very long, dark, wintery tunnel. It has been replaced with shrieks ands whoops entering the water. There is something amazing getting into cold water with a bunch of people. Even the James Dean type coolest, hardened, sophisticated person is reduced to a gasping edjit for a few seconds, as the intense cold feeling engulfs the body.
I imagine Numbskulls,(before smart phones and tablets there was the requirement of comics. Numbskulls were characters from the Breezer and Beano) running round my brain trying to deal with all the emergency telegrams from my body’s numbskull extrimities, trying to figure out what’s happening and ordering the brain’s numbskulls to return my body to warmth and safety. It is with a laugh I remember a swim with my wife, after persuading her that the water temperture was heating up earlier at the start of summer. We walked into the water having a conversation, her numbskulls must have been predisposed or sleeping. I managed to capture her normal pose then a couple shocked expressions as the numbskulls went into panic mode.
Its this intense feeling I miss in July, the numbskulls dont go into freefall, in warm water they must follow the laminated procedures sellotaped above their work station.-
Right boys for the next hour were not allowed to daydream…..very long,
Make sure there’s not too much water taken on board,
Ambition and ability must NOT be allowed to swap workstations.
Ambition numbskull can act like a halfwit if left unchecked, don’t get me wrong he makes the rest of the guys enjoy life to fullest, but when left in charge for long, he can lead to trouble, if out for a run, it’s possible to get the communication numbskull to organise a taxi, but there are not many watertaxis in scottish lochs. Sending the numbskulls into cold water shock is nearly possible in the middle of summer, by removing my wetsuit in the shallows after a swim for a short dooking, but not nearly as good as when the temperatures drops close to 10 degrees.
There is a different calm( it’s better than the summer swimming warm calm) that settles over the wee numbskulls, after a cold swim after the intense, (repeating “oh god” over and over) getting changed process has been concluded, with many layers of New Zealand finest wool layers and a drink warms, and returns the wee guys into a deep relaxation. Right now the water isnt cold enough for manic uncontrollable shaking yet, but both trepidation and excitement numbskulls are in a state of agitation knowing that temperatures under 10 degrees are not far away. Ooh ya dancer. Now that does give the wee guys a calm that is unreachable with chamomile tea. My smile seems increase when the cold water temperatures make my palms spread open. Does this mean the hand supervisor numbskull struggles to keep control of finger reports and the wee guys in charge of my teeth chattering and smile are on overtime. Bring on the winter ooooh yeah