#74: The Tarn at Tarn Hows

Bridget, Colin and I had another very lazy start this morning and then drove down to Tarn Hows. I’ve never been there before but had heard very good things, so I was looking forward to seeing it on this lovely sunny day. Even the drive over there was lovely, everything looking green and fresh and flowers dancing in the verges along the way.

We started with a stroll around the Tarn, the path dappled with sun and shade and the sound of a distant cuckoo over-ridden by the honking of irritated geese. But we forgave the geese when we found a little family with five goslings dabbling at the edge of the water and looking adorably sweet.

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Once we had completed out circuit we sat on the grass at the end of the tarn and ate our lunch. There was a group of people filming just behind us, so I was a bit unwilling to start getting changed until they’d gone. This was also a good excuse to just sit in the grass in the sunshine. We were entertained by a duck swimming around nearby with eleven tiny, fluffy ducklings bobbing along in her wake and by a lone male duck who truly believed that we were going to give him some of our lunch.

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But the film crew left, my lunch was gone and so were all my excuses – there was nothing for it but to fumble my way into my swimming things and make my way into the water. It had been obvious from the shore that the water would be pretty shallow but I was still surprised by just how warm it was. It still took me a while to get in though, desperately trying to keep my balance on the slippery rocks coated with a thin layer of sludge. I was pretty self-conscious during this time – Tarn Hows is a popular spot on a sunny day and there were a lot of people around. Eventually I started to swim and it was wonderful – warm and peaceful and satisfying. I swam about half of the length of the tarn and then turned around, having spotted some geese in the distance and not having any desire to get too close. The water was so shallow here that as the sun was directly behind me I could see my shadow on the bottom which was quite strange.

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Once I’d turned around I took a bit of an indirect route back to the shore where Bridget and Colin were waiting for me, going for a bit of a swim around that end of the tarn. After a bit more than half an hour in the water I made my way back to the shore, ducking down for the underwater selfie on the way. I wished I had my goggles with me to look at the lily pads and weeds growing along the tarn bed. As I got close to the shore a loud, echoing bark rang out across the water – there was a very excitable dog who was loving having its ball thrown into the tarn which was very funny to watch.

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I scrambled out and got back into my clothes. We’d noticed an ice cream van in the car park on our arrival and I started daydreaming about hot chocolate. But by the time I was into my dry clothes, deliciously warmed by the sun, and had sat in the warm for a few minutes watching the gosling family go by I had reverted to wanting an ice cream.

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We bought our ice creams and sat on a patch of grass in the sunshine enjoying them. After a few minutes we were joined by five young belted Galloway cows, vigorously chomping their way through the grass with an amazing amount of noise. A rather comical end to a lovely swim!

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