Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Green Pool

Sunday 29th August 2010

After perusing my OS map the previous night we decided to check out a potential spot just North of our local stretch of the M4. We parked up at the end of the road and set off, rucksacks laden with wetsuits. When we eventually found the start of the footpath, and believe me, this took some time, we walked through a farm yard and got a friendly wave from a farmer driving off in his tractor. We headed up the track which zig zagged up the steep hillside. Tracking through the dappled shade of a wooded valley alongside a tumbling babbling stream we kept disturbing sheep from their sleep. We passed a cave with a spring issuing crystal water from its base and carried on up the steep path. Suddenly the view opened up to our right and we saw the large green mirror of the lake below us.

We decided to go off the path and track down through the trees to the base of the valley. The overflow from the lake spilled down a 100ft long brick shoot sounding like a large waterfall. Owen crossed the shoot but got caught in brambles on the other side and had to come back. We eventually got to the bottom and crossed the stream and worked our way up the other side through the ferns and undergrowth and onto a path. In front of us lay a steep grassy bank, the covered wall of this old disused reservoir, we both had huge smiles on our faces as we climbed it. At the top we got our first close up view of the pool, greeny blue and perfect surrounded by woods and heath either side with no roads or buildings in site. It felt like we had been transported to the Canadian wilderness and we half expected to see a bear stumble out of the undergrowth. Keen to get in we got changed into our wetsuits and climbed down to the edge of the bank.

Owen was in and straight into a front crawl across the lake sending out parallel ripples to the banks either side of him. I stood for a moment up to my knees savouring the view and then took the plunge. We swam to the opposite bank and noted the sounds of a possible waterfall to be explored at a later date. We walked around the edge of the lake and sunk back into the water through some partially submerged trees in the top corner. It felt like we were in a mangrove like we had seen so many times on the discovery channel.

As we swam through the water the cold began to take hold and Owen informed me he had a secret stash of bacon and a camping stove in his rucksack, what more incentive do you need, we raced back across the lake.

We fired up the stove and slapped on the bacon. We watched the smoke and steam from the bacon drift, like the sweetest smelling mist, out across the lake. It was a memorable bacon sarnie.

We lounged about for a bit and then the urge to do something I had always fancied doing took hold of me, I shed my towel and t-shirt and ran into the water, naked. My first naked swim, why did i take so long to try it? I swam in a rather small arc and climbed out and made a quick check to see if everything was still there, it was, only just. We both agreed this was a spot we would revisit. We walked back down the path but took a wrong turn which ended out as a right turn because we got back to the car much quicker than expected.

Later that day I took the kids down the beach to catch some prawns for tea, we had quite a good haul and I phoned Owen to tell him. He was back at the lack and intended to stay for the night, by himself, with a fillet steak, king prawns and a hip flask full of cask strength laphroiag. I still cant think of a better way to end that day.


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