OSS Swim Champ Lindsey Cole began her Dipping to Scotland adventure as a way to reach the Scottish Winter Swimming Championships in early March. Six weeks later, she was still going strong: diving for sugar kelp off the Isle of Lewis; convincing a truck driver to pull up and paddle in a loch off an A-road somewhere; competing in Red Bull Neptune Steps in Glasgow; exploring Orkney and the Shetland Isles and dipping at the northernmost point of the country; slipping into New Cumnock lido before it opened for the year; and generally embracing nooks and crannies of Scotland many Scots have yet to explore. Anyone who has followed her trip on Instagram has learned something, whether it’s swimming spots to add to their list or remembering to leave our comfort zone because it can change how we see ourselves. Here, Lindsey shares what she learned along the way.
Wild swimming is more addictive than I’d ever anticipated. I’ve likened it to injecting my veins with unicorn blood. Whatever dull/craggy/low mood I’ve felt has totally been awash the moment I’ve dunked my head under and come back squealing with delight. It’s impossible not to smile after a quick dip. It’s so addictive that I couldn’t refuse a swim invite. I swam morning and evening most days along my journey even after cycling up to 12 hours a day. The Lake District was just too inviting that I quadruple dipped. And, I’m actually currently still pedalling around Scotland joining wild swimmers. I had a lift sorted back down south after the Scottish Cold Water Swimming Champs, but I was having such a great time, on a massive high that I decided to carry on and accepted more random swim invites regardless of their locations. There are worse addictions you can have I suppose, right?! It really is incredible for your mind, body and soul. This is what I’ve learned along the way:
“We strip in the open air, throw our clothes into a bundle on the shore of the water and dive into the water together. Once we’re in that water we’re all the same. It’s quite magical. I am totally un-body conscious now.”
Follow Lindsey’s ongoing adventures @stompycole