Home to the Western Isles for Easter and a chance to join the Hebridean Triathlon Club’s open water swim on Saturday morning. I say club but, as it’s only just started, it’s mostly a nice man called Colin who was happy for us to join him on his weekly swim at Coll beach.
He was prepared. He had an orange buoy to help with sighting, emergencies and generally keeping safe in the water. We had wetsuits and serious doubts we’d last more than five minutes in the water.
It was FREEZING!
“Six and half degrees,” said Colin.
And then 30 second later.
“Good news, it’s now seven!”
I couldn’t feel my feet. I’d not worn swim socks as I find them uncomfortable. They’re like two heavy bags strapped to your feet.
Not that I knew if I had feet. I couldn’t feel anything below my knees as I waded in.
“Dip your face in,” said Iain.
Like The Weeknd, I couldn’t feel my face.
So, that’s what that song is about. It’s not about cocaine at all, it’s about open water swimming.
“I can’t feel my face when I’m with you!”
I tried swimming breaststroke for 10 minutes keeping my head carefully out of the water. Then, once I’d acclimatised, I tried some freestyle. (Or free(zing)style.)
I couldn’t feel my ears.
I was noticing a pattern.
Cold water is, well, cold.
But the sun was out. The swimming was good and it was great to be swimming again in more extreme conditions than a heated pool.