We recently found a new cycle route to the river, meaning that we can leave the house and be in the water within ten minutes – bliss! Perfect for an end of day swim, you can bake in the sun on the rocks and when you do hop in the water there is a very handy channel where the current is strong enough that if you swim leisurely you don’t actually go anywhere. A bit like having an “endless pool” but outside in the middle of nature. The best part about it? There is nobody else there.
I absolutely LOVE wild swimming. Weirdly, I have no reservations about jumping into ice-cold lakes, rivers and streams and there are so many perfect places round here to do it. We have another fabulous spot en (cycling) route to the shops. Flat rocks to picnic on with a great pool above for swimming. Just cold enough to feel the delicious shock of the cool water as you dive under.
Before we had been river swimming this summer and in view of the baking heat to come I decided to rig up a cold shower outdoors (see photo). It’s rather rudimentary. It is a hose pipe fastened to a tree branch, but it’s become the shower I look forward to at the end of each day.
My first experience of cold showers was through necessity not desire, but I’ve been hooked ever since. It was around fifteen years ago in Nepal while I was trekking for a month in the mountains. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done, every day saw me sweating and pushing myself, walking at altitude with my pack on my back. There was no way I was going to bed at night caked in mud, sweat and tears so the cold shower became my nightly ritual.
Washing the grime and hard work off my skin and hair with ice-cold glacial water, then allowing my body to regulate its temperature and warm me up, my blood vessels opening for better circulation, flushing away toxins as I got ready for the deep sleep that only seems to come after strong physical exertion. I’ll never forget that month in the mountains and the pleasure that came with my nightly cold showers.
And now, years later, I still can’t get enough of the delicious feeling of getting under an ice-cold shower at the end of a baking hot day and subjecting my body to the shock of the cold water. That feeling of being truly alive, my skin tingling in the afterglow, feeling nourished and moisturised somehow from the icy water. Afterwards, wrapped in a towel, I laze on the swing under the horse-chestnut tree to dry off.
I don’t think I’ve ever loved a summer so much ♥
Do you like cold showers and swims? What are you doing this summer to cool down? Leave me a comment and let me know ♥