On the hottest weekend of the year, the South West Seal Pups decided to embarked upon on a meticulously planned 10k microadventure down the River Wye. There was floating. There were leaping fish. There were flapjacks. Pup Henry Parker describes the trip and gives some tips on planning your own river adventure.
The South West Seal Pups is the youth/student wing of the South West Seals – a community of open and cold water swimming enthusiasts based in and around Bristol. Our first river swim of the year started from Lower Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, meandering through the Wye Valley and finishing at the historic Symonds Yat. The River Wye is perfect for all abilities with few obstacles and plenty of entry/exit points, there’s even a pleasant current to help you along your way! Located about an hour drive from Bristol and only half an hour from Newport or Gloucester, it’s the ideal day trip.
With the temperature approaching 30°C the wildlife was out in force, birds of prey, ducks, and even the occasional leaping fish joined us. Canoeists looked at us with a mixture of confusion and envy, while dog walkers waved us past. Half an hour in, we opened the flapjacks (they didn’t last long), with some members of the group using this opportunity to top up their tan.
“With the temperature approaching 30°C the wildlife was out in force: birds of prey, ducks, and even the occasional leaping fish”
Shortly, we were back in the water and swimming past the iconic Yat Rock. We floated, paddled and drifted our way downstream, stopping once more to rest before continuing downstream. Whilst it was a hot day, the water was cool, so it was a much-needed thermal break on the riverbank. We only realised later on how strong the sun really was, but it was nothing a little aloe vera couldn’t solve!
We hopped back in the water, suitably warmed and ready to continue (although it did take a bit of persuading to leave the sunny riverbank!). However, all good things must come to an end and before we knew it, we were at our destination where a cold pint awaited us.
Finding your own river swim
Here are some pointers for finding and planning your own river swim near you:
River swims come with their own risks, here are some tips for keeping safe on your swim:
The logistics of a river swim
Unlike a lake or quarry, river swims require a bit more organisation. Here are some tips for executing the perfect river swim: