December 1, 2016

That's it... winter begins today! The 1st of December marks meteorological winter and ends on the last day of February. Simply taking one quarter of the year, as do each of the other seasons.

November 21, 2016

love winter, a winter baby, born in December, the cold makes me smile, I feel at home, happy and content. I love cold water, I crave the freshness on my skin, the purity of coldness, and clarity it brings.

October 23, 2016

Llyn Newydd / New Lake

No. 101 #swimsnowdonia

elevation; 485m, depth; unknown

weather - chilly with sunny breaks

Itching to get out for some fresh air, we headed away from the masses to the desolation of the moors above Blaenau Ffestiniog. Passing our only other contact with humans in the car on the long, winding, single track in we parked up and felt the harsh chill in the wind. I was grateful of the extra coats I’d packed.

Following an old tramway, we passed several small quarries now abandoned, before coming across the first of two lakes. Llyn Bowydd, dark, choppy, peaty and decisively shallow looking. Because the grass is always greener on the other side we headed to it’s sister lake, Llyn Newydd which, was just out of sight a few hundred metres away.

Thankfully, it was infinitely more inviting, although just as windblown and lacking in any shelter, yet a conveniently placed slab of slate made a great seat, so out came the flask. The surrounding area is shallow, peaty and incredibly...

September 20, 2016

Pen y Gwryd Pool

No. 100 #swimsnowdonia

elevation; 290m depth; <2m

weather - sunny and fresh

I always had the pool at Pen Y Gwyrd (PYG) down as my last lake in this project, I would treat myself to a night there with a celebratory dinner and a dip in the lake. Well that opportunity came along early and with perfect timing as I reached my 100th dip instead. Myself and my other half were very kindly invited to dinner by our friends who were residents at the PYG, dinner and a weekend of swimming for myself and Anne, while the menfolk headed out to do climbing.

Saturday flowed so well it deserved to be mentioned in it’s entirety. Meeting at PYG is a treat in itself, the hotel is like a museum to British mountaineering. We had coffee in the residents lounge where you can’t help but gaze in awe at the wood panelled room and wonder about the stories it has heard. It was here that the successful 1953 Everest team did their training, their equipment and trinkets from that trip adorn the walls. There...

September 19, 2016

Afon Y Cwm - River of the Cwm, valley or vale

No. 99 #swimsnowdonia

weather - various, visited numerous times in an 18 month period

Merlin and his pool have had me captivated for the last year and half. I first went searching for his pool in February 2015 and took in a dip there last July (read about that here). But I’d spotted a photo taken by a local photographer, titled ‘Merlin’s Pool’ that looked totally different to all the other photos I’d seen and the pool I’d visited. Whether it was rightly or wrongly titled, I wanted to find it and so started my obsession with Afon y Cwm. 

Now I’m sure most folk could probably walk the length of the river in a day, however I crushed a spinal nerve and had surgery mid way through this 18 months which seemed to hamper my ability to scrabble over wet, rocky, unpredictable (and sometimes steep) terrain at the best of times, but I gave it go all the same just in bite sized pieces.

The area around Dinas Emys is awe inspiring, you feel part of h...

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