May and June Microadventure Wild Swims
I started my wild swim microadventure last July. I challenged myself to swim outside, once a month for a year. In June, I completed this challenge.
May – Ballycastle Pebble Beach
Being a teacher, May and June are very busy months for me. Although I got swimming in May, I never got around to writing it up. I was in Ballycastle with friends, we first got a tour of North Coast Smokehouse where we picked up some smoked salt and pepper. Then we headed down to the beach and lit the BBQ. We made a pretty phenomenal steak there. But just before that happened, we went swimming in the sea.
Ballycastle beach looks stunning. We had amazing waves crashing too which put most of the other swimmers off. The beach is however really, really sore to walk on! Luckily, I brought wetsuit shoes. I didn’t care that I looked like an idiot with shorts and socks on. The beach is interesting in that it gets really deep, really fast. Then it shallows off again and levels out. Once again I found myself in the gorgeous waters in the North Channel with views of the mighty Glens of Antrim. The last time I was in these waters though, it was snowing!
Despite the glorious weather, the sea really was quite choppy. It never looks as bad in photos as it does in real life! The Northcoast Smokehouse Pepper Crusted Steak was the perfect meal to make after being battered by the waves.
June – My Final Microadventure Swim of the Challenge
In June then, for my final wild swim, I was in Cable and Wake Aquapark. OK, this wasn’t perhaps a very wild swim and there was a lifeguard but I was with my Scouts and I think I deserved a fun one! The aquapark is situated in the disused Knockbracken Reservoir, just outside Belfast in Carryduff.
Another glorious evening, we were there on a Friday night, the session taking the place as a fun and alternative end of the Scouting year. A final meeting before we head on Summer Camp.
This was so much fun! I imagine a deep reservoir like this would normally be cold but we have been so lucky in this part of Ireland recently. It’s been lovely and sunny for about three weeks so the water was lovely and warm! The Scouts had an absolute ball, playing on all of the different apparatus. I have to admit, I had a great time as well. Mostly just knocking people into the water and jumping off the high bit. I had a couple of dives off the lower levels and was happy with them. One of the Scouts was able to confidently dive off the top. I was pretty impressed and got a few tips from him. He told me jump further out than I might have otherwise done and not to point my arms too early in case I over rotate. So I thought I’d give it a go.
Standing on the top, always on guard in case someone decided to push me in, I was going to go for it! I stepped up to the edge, made sure there was no one beneath me and made a dive. I completely bottled it, I think I even screamed in terror! My right hip is still bruised from the flop and I write this four days later! I have yet to master diving…
The End of my Swimming Challenge
So 12 months of wild swimming has come to an end and looking at a map of Ulster, I think I have represented the province pretty well. There are two glaring absences though which I hadn’t thought about until I plotted the map. Those gaps are Lough Erne and Lough Neagh. I also think a few swims in Donegal are pretty necessary! My microadventure challenge might be over but that doesn’t mean I’m done with swimming. The challenge has given me the confidence to carve adventures out of nothing, to make time where there is none and to get outdoors more! Even if I don’t always have the time to write about it!
Besides, there are gaps in map that I need to fill.