#70: High Dam

Here I go again! Yes, I know, it’s been a very long time since my last post. Last year I was travelling around Asia and New Zealand so although I did do some swimming none of it was in the Lake District. But now I am back in the UK and ready to get back into my challenge! Unfortunately I am no longer based in Cumbria so it’s going to have to be done on visits up here so my posts might be a bit sporadic.

So… Yesterday I met up with Torben in the car park at Finsthwaite and we had a lovely walk up through the woods towards High Dam. We came up to a body of water and thought we were there but quickly realised that this was just a smaller tarn below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA moment later we spied a stone wall ahead of us – the eponymous dam; this looked more hopeful! As we came up to the level of the dam we got our first view out across High Dam – and it was stunning. Sparkling blue water surrounded by trees with a generous sprinkling of flowers in the grass and a clear blue sky overhead with just a few wisps of cloud.


We decided to walk around the tarn first which was lovely. Torben has been doing a lot of foraging and as we walked he was picking various things for me to try. I can now say that wood sorrel, bitter cress and bilberry flowers are especially delicious.


Our walk was very gentle with stops to gaze over the water, nibble on the flora and talk about life, the universe and everything. We’d spotted a good spot to swim from near the start so we made our way back there and prepared to get into the water. Although Torben has joined me on two of my swims, at Parkgate Tarn he just stood on the bank and laughed and at Wastwater he was my support boat so he hadn’t actually swum with me before. He was more than happy to fall in with my technique of getting in very slowly to allow our bodies to acclimatise – which was slightly spoiled for me when I slipped on a rock and got the front of my t-shirt wet. There was a bit of a breeze which didn’t help us to feel any warmer – especially now I was wet! As we stood there, still chatting and in no rush to fully immerse ourselves shoals of little fish gathered around our feet and legs and started nibbling away at the dead skin. I’ve experienced this before in Alcock Tarn but it still felt very weird! Also it turns out that some parts of my legs and feet are really quite ticklish….


Eventually we plucked up our courage and slid into the water, swimming towards a little island. The water was amazingly warm – the weather in the last few weeks has obviously had an effect. Torben instantly got ahead of me, swimming much faster and I trailed happily behind, loving being back in the water in such wonderful surroundings. The sun shone, the breeze blew and somewhere in the trees a cuckoo called over and over.


The island was very close to the far shore and Torben got out for a couple of minutes before deciding to head back to where we’d stared. But I was nowhere near ready to get out and swam around the island and then around one side of the tarn. It was so peaceful and calm and it just felt so good to be swimming again!


After about half an hour I decided I was ready to get out. I ducked under for the traditional selfie and then sat in the shallows for a few minutes letting the little fish nibble away a bit more. Then I sat on the bank in the sunshine and waited for Torben to come back from another foraging excursion.


We walked back down through the woods to our cars and then headed over to Newby Bridge where we sat by the river in sunshine and had chips and hot drinks.

Another wonderful day, what a great way to get back into my challenge. I’ve been itching to get some swims done and it feels great to be doing it again. Hooray for the Lakes!

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