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Mystical Experience or Medical Emergency? Cold Water Sea Swimming Part 2

05 May 2021

Part 2

One such occasion was the early morning of Sunday 2 May 2021- when I had woken early to catch the dawn chorus. I walked the short distance from our cottage to the small deserted stretch of shoreline opposite the island church of St Mary’s, beside the Priory ruins and overlooking St Cuthbert’s Island. I divested myself of duvet coat, deposited my towel and mobile phone on a bench and stepped into the sea clad in swimming costume and woolly hat. I had wanted to do cold water (wild) swimming for years - and this was my opportunity. It was icy cold - both the water and the air. I now know the ambient temperature was just 4 degrees above freezing and the water was about 8-9 degrees. The dawning sun had risen and shone low in the cloudless azure sky. There was more movement in my own breathing than in the air surrounding my semi naked body. I surprised myself by walking unquestioningly and steadfastly deeper and deeper into the crystal clear sea. A single bell tolled out from St. Mary’s church as I slipped into the sea. It was glorious. It was also, I discovered, foolhardy and ill-advised.