August 22, 2021 4 min read
Considering I didn’t really want to go on this trip it turned out to be the best tonic. Add one good friend and lots of belly laughs and that’s life’s tonic right there.
Baxter and I set off on our own on the Thursday and it was a beautiful summers day. I was grumpy and bit fed up to be honest, but once we pulled up at the site I knew it was worth going. I was met by the sites owner who was a proper Yorkshire man “Are you on your own?” he said “Well I’ve got Baxter,” I said. He replied “Well bugger me, good for you!”
And then I impressed him with my reversing skills and do you know what they are skills and it’s ok to be proud of ourselves.
Once we were set up I got my book and just sat and read and snoozed and sat and read and snoozed for hours and do you know what, I needed it. I’d convinced myself throughout lockdown that I wouldn’t let my life go back to its manic self, I bet a lot of us did. Low and behold, here we all are again, running around like headless chickens. The caravan is my down time and I definitely need it, even if I don’t think I do.
We were staying at a lovely little site near Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire. It’s such a beautiful part of the world with lots to offer. My mate Liz was coming to stay the night so I’d looked in the Wild Guide I have for the area and planned a couple of walks with swims. Now I must point out at this stage that Liz is not a natural wild swimmer, she’s got Mediterranean blood, so you can imagine her view of swimming in UK waters. But she was up for it and I respect her for that, plus it’s a bit of a giggle watching her facial expressions as she lowers herself into the water…sorry Liz!
Baxter and I headed up to Brimham rocks on the Thursday evening hoping to catch the sunset and also to avoid the crowds. The clouds stopped the sunset but I think we were the only people there. Brimham rocks is already a magical place and without loads of people it’s the best place to visit.
The next day Liz arrived and off we went for our first walk/swim. We were heading to Ghaistrills Strid on the River Wharfe. We walked from Hebden following the river for about 3 miles and on the way passed various swim spots at Linton Falls and Grassington Weir. I’d set my heart on going down the naturally formed chute at the Strid so we kept going. Ok, maybe my 20 year old brain had set it’s heart on going down the chute but when we got there it was another matter. Safe to say we watched teenagers going down the chute and hurting themselves while we had a very sedate dip in one of the pools.
Anyway, a really lovely day and then back to the caravan for beers.
The next day we planned to walk to a place called Guisecliff Tarn for a swim. The handbook described it as ‘A secluded little wooded tarn, nestled in the hillside.’ What’s not to love?
Liz decided she’d done her dipping for the weekend. The weather wasn’t so good - think low mist over the Yorkshire hills and a constant drizzle. The directions weren’t great in the handbook but undeterred we set off. We had to back track a few times and we didn’t actually know for sure if we were heading in the right direction so you can imagine when we finally came across the tarn, there was lots of excitement…from me mainly. It was stunning, a small tarn surrounded by trees and no one around. I can’t explain what happened next only that it was a sudden urge that came over me. This was the perfect spot to skinny dip!
I have not laughed so much in a long time and oh boy was it exhilarating. I was swimming away completely stark bollock naked while Liz looked on and then I noticed a change in her, was she considering joining me?
Oh yes she was, off came the clothes and there we were 2 middle aged women whooping and hollering in our birthday suits, what a hoot. Liz got out first, it’s the Mediterranean blood in her, and off I went for a swim. What can I hear, voices in the woods! I don’t think I’ve swam as fast since I competed in a swimming relay race at school, there were people coming!!!
I was out of that water and covered up with seconds to spare - they’d just missed the show! They said they could hear us laughing as they were walking down and knew what we were up to, felt like naughty kids and it was marvellous!
Just a quick shout out to Baxter (the most unadventurous dog) who didn’t get out of any of the walks this time. He did it and I’m proud of him but I think we broke him. He slept for a straight 24hrs when we got home, with toilet breaks of course.
I’m learning so much about myself at the moment, I think we’re always learning. I know that I enjoy adventure and going out and trying new things, seeing new places. I need it, I don’t want to feel held back or too scared to try something. I’m not going to do anything dangerous or fool hardy, just little life adventures that make me feel like me. And if there’s a belly laugh to be had on the way and a friend(s) to share it with, then I’m in. Equally if I have to have life’s little adventures on my own, then bring that on too, life’s to short!
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