Monday, 18 October 2010

Spur of the moment


Sat in work in my office looking out of the window at the clear blue sky, daydreaming about my dips yesterday. Is this the last warm (ish) day before the good old welsh winter sets in?

It looks real nice out there and the memory of yesterdays water urges me to send a text to Owen "wat u doin this pm?". My phone rings instantly, "What you got planned?". Squared a half days leave with the boss ad i'm soon skipping back to my car with the warm sun on my face. Owen picks me up at 13:30 and we head to Pont Nedd Fechan. Halfway there i realise i have forgotten my aquasphere goggles, how did i manage that, the most important part of my swimming kit. We arrive and park the car up in a sunny spot and get changed. Luckily Owen finds a spare pair of Mr Zoggs pool goggles in his bag and i fight with my old winter wetsuit which i haven't put on for a long time. I eventually get it on and zipped but can hardly breath. The thick neoprene holds in my beer belly and a cast a shadow of a much younger and slimmer me.

We stash the keys and set off, just wetsuits and goggles, no baggage so that means no camera, no pictures, unfortunately for you. The gorges we travelled through were amazingly green, ferny, misty grotto's made even better by the dappled sunlight igniting the colours of the autumn leaves and the amber peat stained water. Amazing colours that wouldn't transfer to photos but are now burned into my brain.

We walked along the path to the horseshoe falls, got in and swam, stumbled and fell all the way back to the Angel Inn. We saw herons, huge salmon, dramatic cliffs and many waterfalls. Swimming underwater was always a competition as to what would bring you to the surface first, being out of breath, being unable to take the extreme cold ice cream headache or a large dark bolder looming up in front of you waiting to take a chunk out of your head.

We both suffered several dangerous slips and the strange looks of the elderly riverside walkers. Diving to the bottom and pulling yourself along on the boulders enable you to get up a fair bit of speed, i have never felt more like a fish! you had to be careful though because the submerged black moss covered boulders would appear out of knowhere trying to knock you out.

We had been in the water for 2 hours by the time we had finished and were cold. We got changed in the sunlight by the car, my neoprene reluctantly releasing me from its grip, in the battle of man versus wetsuit, man wins!

Our core temperature was so low as we sat in the sunny beer garden supping Guinness, that we ere actually cold from the inside as the sun warmed the skin of our faces, this was a very strange feeling that stuck with us for a good few hours.

The cold hunger led us to the Llangeinor arms for a homemade pie and chips and a pint of Hobgoblin, a fitting way to end the afternoon just as the days workers are clocking off. Our busy afternoon consisted of slipping down a river, feeling more close to nature than i had for a long time.

Owen and the old man went back to the falls the next day to take these pictures -

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