An Epic Start to 2016

Firstly, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! After working extremely hard in December with the lead up to Christmas (we worked 30 days straight, sometimes 100 hours a week each!) we finally got a chance to get out into the countryside. Being couped up inside for so long isn’t easy for people who love the outdoors so much and today was our first day without any kids. The weather forecast wasn’t great so we decided to go to the waterfalls, somewhere we haven’t been for a while. Our first stop was the Waterfall Centre in Pontneddfechan. We were looking around when I spotted myself!

Me on the magazine

Me on the magazine

Now, anyone who knows us personally knows we don’t do anything by halves…. We arrived but the car park was full so we followed suit and decided to park on the grass like other people. Our car is 4 wheel drive and has mud+snow tyres on it so I wasn’t overly concerned – until I pulled onto the grass and slid sideways into a waterlogged ditch – ooops! It was wetter than it looked! Even with the wheels locked so all wheels got 25% of the power, all 4 wheels were spinning. Unable to get out, we decided to go for a walk and worry about getting out later on.

Afon Mellte

Afon Mellte

The photo above was a scene that caught my eye – we actually stopped here to put a post on Facebook to ask if there was anyone who could help pull me out of the ditch. We carried on walking down to Sgwd yr Eira. At the bottom, I got my camera out and shot this scene.

Sgwd yr Eira

Sgwd yr Eira

The lens was getting covered in spray so I put it away and switched to our waterproof point and shoot camera. Knowing we would get wet we walked along the river to have a look behind. The spray and power of the water was nothing short of amazing! It was so wet, I was wiping the lens and taking a photo immediately after and the lens was still soaking!

Behind Sgwd yr Eira

Behind Sgwd yr Eira

Drenched, we headed back up the steps and along the path. When we go into signal, we found we’d had a few replies. After a quick exchange of messages help was on its way! I left Anneka behind whilst I walked as fast as I could back to the car. It wasn’t long before Richard Morgan was on his way. He turned up, we hooked up my tow rope and we were out of the mud in seconds. The power of Facebook is nothing short of amazing as is the kindness of some people. We are extremely grateful Richard, thank you!

Getting pulled out of the mud - you can see where I slid sideways as soon as I was on the grass!

Getting pulled out of the mud – you can see where I slid sideways as soon as I was on the grass!

We drove down the road, stopped and had a quick discussion of what to do next. “Shall we have a dip?” suggested Anneka. “Definitely,” I replied. We turned around and went to find a suitable river.

A good looking spot for a wild swim

A good looking spot for a wild swim

The air temperature was 10 degrees C but I have no idea what the water temperature was. I took my boots and socks off and my feet were immediately in agony on the cold, wet grass. We deliberated for a while and then decided that if we didn’t jump in then we would regret it as soon as we walked away. The best way is straight in! It was me first and it wasn’t long before I was in the water!

Me wild swimming

Me wild swimming

OMG, the water was cold. I couldn’t actually speak sentences! It wasn’t long before I was out and drying myself off. Anneka helped me with clothes and I was soon warming up – my body was literally on fire! It felt so good! Then it was Anneka’s turn. She was soon in the river.

Anneka in the river!

Anneka in the river!

It wasn’t long before she was out and warming herself up. Having a dip in a cold river makes you feel so alive! We were literally glowing after our swim. We only started wild swimming recently and it is incredibly addictive. The feeling of the cold water on your skin and then the warmth afterwards – you have to try it to understand it (but obviously be aware that water can be dangerous and so is hypothermia).

Our post wild swim glow

Our post wild swim glow

We couldn’t resist a quick play with our waterproof camera – this was under the water at the edge of the pool.

In the river

In the river

Warm, happy and generally content with life and our day we decided to treat ourselves to a post-swim pint. We’d driven past a nice looking pub on the water to the river so stopped there and had a little tipple.

The New Inn in Ystradfellte

The New Inn in Ystradfellte

Our extremely hard work in November and December has given us an incredible enthusiasm for creating new work and also for making the most of our free time. This year, 2016, we fully intend to make the absolutely most of our time on the planet. Watch this space for this year’s adventures. Happy New Year everyone!

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