Swimming at Potarch Bridge

Sunday diary: good food and wild swimming

Today started at around 2am with the cat meowing at me. She wanted to go outside but we don’t let her out at night and usually she’s very happy with that. I think her bowel movements must have got out of sync and she was desperate to go and crap in the neighbour’s garden. Eventually I caved into her demands and unlocked the cat flap before falling back asleep. I awoke again when she climbed back onto the bed and briefly glanced up to make sure there were no nocturnal mammals in her jaws. Thankfully I think her midnight adventure was just a number 2.

For breakfast I made myself vegan scrambled eggs and avocado on toast. I used Bonsan organic breakfast scramble which is really delicious. I like all their products.

Then I cycled into town and spent about half an hour in the queue outside Bandit Bakery to get some of their world famous sourdough. It was worth it. I got two loaves of sourdough, a focaccia, and also three of their double chocolate marshmallow vegan cookies.

Ever since we returned from our holiday in Braemar Daniel has been asking to go swimming again. The weather here has got much cooler lately so we haven’t been keen …. that is, until today. While standing in the hot sun outside Bandit Bakery I decided a swim in the Dee would be perfect. The kids were keen and so we took off for a picnic and swim at Potarch Bridge.

It got to 19C in Aboyne today. I was actually surprised there was no one else in the water at Potarch. We were the only people there. The water was cold but not as cold as the Linn of Quoich and we all quickly got used to it. Then we enjoyed eating our focaccia and chocolate cookies on the banks of the Dee.

If you’re keen to do some wild swimming in a cold climate I have some tips.

  1. Get some swimming shoes. It’s tricky walking on rocky uneven surfaces and the shoes make it much easier, especially if your feet are cold.
  2. Take a woolly hat with you even in summer. When you eventually get out of the water you’ll feel cold and it can take a little while to warm up again. A woolly hat can make a big difference.
  3. Get some snorkeling gear. We love looking beneath the surface of the water to see the wildlife. We saw fish today. I’m pretty sure they were juvenile salmon. Daniel said he also saw an eel.
  4. If you don’t know how to swim then don’t go in the water or make sure you’re wearing a life jacket.
  5. Don’t dive in from the side. There could be rocks beneath the surface and you’ll end up breaking your neck. I would also recommend caution when jumping in. I have heard of people leaping from the side and smashing their foot into smithereens on a sub-surface rock.

We’re all hooked on river swimming. It’s wonderful and highly recommend it. Here are some pics.

8 thoughts on “Sunday diary: good food and wild swimming”

  1. Looks beautiful – but river water in a non-temperate climate can chilly at the best of times, as you say, so a warm day is definitely required 🙂

    We’ve had some unseasonably warm days here in Christchurch lately, which we’re thrilled with, but also a little nervous about what it might be saying about climate change. Fingers crossed it’s just a weather glitch. We have a cold and wet spell coming up, apparently, so maybe it will balance out.

    1. I have been swimming here in winter but after our summer swimming adventures I do agree it’s much nicer when it’s warm. For the first time since I moved here I’ve really enjoyed the summer. Normally I can’t wait for winter again but this summer has been nice with all the swimming. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get a cold snap.

  2. A hat is a good idea. Dryrobes are becoming more popular on the beach as you can change underneath them. When I went surfing my Airbnb host lent me one and it was very warm (if heavy). Last week Rhiannon and I were in a cafe (drinking coconut mochas, which is something Rhiannon has introduced me to) and someone came in wearing one. When I explained what they were, neither of us could work out why someone was wearing one in the middle of town miles from the beach.

    1. I should have added dryrobes to my list. We don’t have those but I was thinking today how useful they’d be. Maybe we’ll get some. It’s hard getting changed after the swim – usually two of us hold towels around the third while they change. Dryrobes would be much easier. It’s important to change out of wet bathers as quickly as possible here so you can warm up again.

      1. It’s warmer on the Cornwall beaches in summer I suspect. I have a special long (old and baggy as well) jumper that I use for outdoor changing as I am usually by myself. But a hat is a good shortcut. I had a look at a child’s one second hand for me, I think I could get away with doubling it up as a coat.

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