April Wild… Paddle? – Groomsport
It’s the end of the 10th month of this Microadventure Challenge and I have brought myself to Groomsport. My challenge was simple enough, I was to swim, outside every month for a year in a different body of water or stretch of coast.
This month I thought I’d leave work and head to Groomsport on the coast of North Down, a few miles east of Bangor. I’ll level with you, I didn’t have time to get a proper swim in this month. Between visiting family, a wedding, a stag weekend and being away with the Scouts, April got away from me. To try to do something wet this month, I went for a paddle in Groomsport on a glorious evening after work.
I made my way through the small fishing village I was struck by how beautiful it was. I work just over 1 mile from here and I have never stepped foot in the place. On the slipway, I took of my work shoes and socks, rolled up my suit trousers and stepped in. I could feel the stress from a day in the classroom pouring off me. I stood for a few minutes watching the tankers, listening to the birds and generally just taking note of everything. From inside the harbour office, I could hear someone practising the bagpipes. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard bagpipes in Ulster without it being connected to some form festival, usually within some Scottish element.
It was such a clear day I was able to see across Belfast lough towards Whitehead. The dramatic cliffs from this angle reminding me of Nordkapp in Norway. I could even see across the North Channel toward Stranraer in Scotland.
Even though I wasn’t able to get swimming, I felt like I was true to point of this challenge. To make a little time to go to see more of where I live and to take a moment to calm things down. I will make two promises to myself though; because I sort of bowed out this month, I will do a much more substantial swim for one of the last two months of my year of wild swimming. But also, when this challenge is finished, I will go back to Groomsport to get a proper swim.
I couldn’t pass this charming community herb garden without taking a photo. What a great idea!