I had to visit Tow Law today to get a new tyre for the knipemobile and set off on this short journey in dense and chilly fog. A little way up the hill out of Crook, however, I broke through the fluffy but clammy blanket into a different world of blue skies and sunshine.
So, I determined to add some variety to the dog’s daily trundle and decided to head up Weardale where it was nice and sunny.
We randomly turned up at Park Head and marched off up the old railway track towrds Rookhope, turning downhill even more randomly to enter the upper parts of Stanhope Dene where we could follow the beck downstream as far as the salmon pool. This is the pool where spawning salmon gather in early November (about now, actually) before heading off upstream.
Its a bit of a suntrap and the car thermometer had been reading 17.5 degrees above Stanhope (only 10C at knipetowers in the fog) and I couldn’t resist a little November dip. I meantersay, its not often you get to have a proper dip in darkest, dreich November. A fish jumped. Which made me jump, actually. Lucky was more interested in the hillside full of waskally wabbits just above the pool. And the water temperature was, more or less, “doable”, although I’ve had a lot of practise recently and your body does get acclimatised to proper water. I had three dips altogether and it was, you might say, “refreshing”.
I’m currently reading Andrew Fusek Peter’s book “Dip” – wild swims from the borderlands in which he details 12 months of wild swims and dips. Peters claimks that a dip in cold water has a very positive effect on the immune system and, more particularly, on an individual’s mood. It certainly affect tired muscles and, I think he’s right about the mood. I certainly get a bit euphoric after a dip and its starting to get a little addictive. I’m not sure I could do 12 months, though…
After getting wet, we finished the circle by heading up the Crawleyside incline back to the car. It was only four miles.
Note that the feet do belong to me – I haven’t yet had the nail polish removed. The fingernails took some doing, and they’re still a bit pink. If I have an accident, I have an explanation already rehearsed for the paramedics and the nurses in A&E. if its a fatal accident, please note that I want the nail polish left on for the funeral. I meantersay, you have to go with just a smidgeon of style, innit?