Saturday, 22 October 2011

Swim 15 Catch-up - Cassington Cut to Trout Inn (ish)

It was with some trepidation that I approached the swim today. The main group did the swim two weeks ago and since then temperatures have plummeted and we were expecting a long cold swim. Also, being only the two of us with no support team, there was to be no coffee and cakes at the half way point - just an energy gel stuffed down the front of our wetsuits. But the weather was glorious so spirits were high as we walked to the start point. It turned out to be quite a walk, the Rubberwear Hiking Society getting a good outing. Half way there we met a couple of lads with a dog who looked at us strangely - until I pointed out that one of them had a tennis racket and that was no less weird. Cue much laughing!

When we arrived at the the start point we found a large group of ramblers there and had a long chat about what we were doing. So when we finally started it was already 3:30 - an hour later than planned - and there was some doubt in my mind as to whether we would make it to the end before dark!

Resplendent in full wetsuit, boots, gloves and neoprene hat I ventured into the water and, wow, was it fresh! The beautiful weather made it seem warmer though and the first two kilometres went fast. The sun was shining and we had the river to ourselves - we only saw two boats in total, and one of them was a cool steam powered launch. After 2k we stopped for a break and a gel and then ploughed on. Kings Lock appeared at the 3km mark by which time the sun was definitely starting to set and the cold was seeping through the wetsuits.

Determined to finish, we pushed on and as the sun started to set properly the bridge under the A34 appeared, followed shortly by the Trout Inn bridge. Only it was getting dark and it wasn't clear where we were supposed to get out. There's no obvious exit point by the bridge and the branch towards the Trout Inn was festooned with "Danger" signs. We pushed on again and before long Godstow Lock came into sight and we got out there, with some relief!

Cold now, we rushed back to the car which was in the public car park, not at the Trout, and changed as quickly as possible. As we were changing we met a guy and his kids getting into the water there without wetsuits. Turns out he was acclimatising to the cold water. They only spent a few minutes in, but we had a chat and I suggested he should join us for future swims.

Swim Distance - 4.75km
Time - 2:30
Water Temperature - Really Rather Cold.

And tomorrow it's the next, rather shorter, stage which sees us officially arrive in Oxford!

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