A few weeks back I went up to Lake Windermere with the Chester Frosties for the Chillswim open water swimming event there. This is a big international event run – or rather swum – over the first weekend in February, with an equally big sense of fun.
There are a range of races, including a series of relay events on the Saturday. I think I was something like fourth reserve for one of the Frostie relay teams, but fortunately wasn’t called upon. Wetsuits were not allowed and I have to say I wasn’t that keen on plunging into a Cumbrian lake in February… although everyone else seemed to jump at the chance.
So instead I busied myself providing moral support to the Frosties who were taking the plunge, and catching up with the great outfits worn by some (most) of the teams at the event. The less said about the German men’s team strip the better (‘strip’ and ‘less’ being their design ethic) but the French team – of course – won hands down for style and elegance. I just had to take a photo of them restoring their circulation in one of the event’s hot tubs after their race, and one of the team (‘Frogmum’ – such a good name) asked me to email her a copy of the photo.
This I duly did, and a few days later had an email back saying thanks. At the bottom of her email was a link to a website which I followed out of curiosity, and was delighted to find a kindred spirit trying to encourage more people to do more stuff outside – and especially to inspire kids to have fantastic adventures in the great outdoors. If you’re ever in the Bay area in California with your family then you should definitely give it a look, but the site is much more than that – it covers adventures and activities with global appeal. Explore here.
What I loved most about this chance meeting was the great example it provides of the power of sport to create serendipitous opportunities to find like-minded people trying to make a difference.
One of the several directions I’d like Cox Bank Publishing to take in the future is to find new writing to inspire more people to do more in the great outdoors. Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire may not have the Pacific Ocean or the Sierra Nevada on their doorstep but we do have beautiful landscapes of our own – think of the Staffordshire Moorlands, the Peak District, Cannock Chase, Shropshire Hills, Snowdonia.
And we have a myriad of ways of enjoying it, from walking, cycling and jogging to fell-running, mountain-biking, kayaking and yes, even open water swimming. If you want UK-based inspiration, then try Alastair Humphreys’ great site here as well – he’s all about finding microadventures just outside your own back door.
His book on microadventures is an brilliant and often jaw-dropping read. Enjoy exploring…