Archive for the ‘Wild Swimming’ Category

Summer on the Water –?Lago di Tenno   4 comments

Why just visit one lake on a day out when you can visit two. After enjoying the delights of Lago di Ledro we had time to fit in another of these wonderful mountain lakes, Lago di Tenno.

Only a 30 minute drive from Lago di Ledro and a 30 minute drive back to the campsite made for a perfect day out.

Like Lago di Ledro this one is alos perched about 1500 feet above Lago di Garda and is surrounded by forested mountains.

Its a very different feel as the water is a striking turquoise blue and quite opaque, clear for a few metres but seeing into the depths is hidden. I’m guessing on account of the high mineral content in the water. The lake doesn’t have an outflow as it was created by a rockslide that dammed the valley.

It was also teeming with large fish that swam near the shore, likely the many people who visit feed them.

Its quite hidden away from the village of Tenno and the main road. You have to walk down a couple of hundred feet into the valley to see it. Its quite a startling sight when you do.

We visited twice, both times after our stay at Lago di Ledro as they are so close together.

As per the previous post the photos are a mix of those two visits. The first one was brief as it really looked like we were going to be hit by a thunderstorm.

The second a longer stay on a much sunnier afternoon.

This is effectively the “dam” that created the lake – at least that’s my guess.

Storm clouds gathering on our first visit.

The colour of the water is ethereal – it reminded us of the water in Lac de Sainte Croix near the Verdon Gorge.

Needless to say on both trips we parked ourselves up on the beach and took some long swims. It must be relatively deep for a relatively small lake as it shelves very steeply.

Its quite an odd experience to swim in water that’s so clear and yet opaque.

On the second afternoon I took a walk along the shore. This is looking back to the little peninsula we’d based ourselves on.

I’d intended to do a complete circuit of the lake but it was much further than I thought and our car park time was running out.

I contented myself with a more leisurely stroll and a few photos.

And besides, these clouds were bubbling and looking a little threatening.

Another wonderful lake and swimming spot.

Posted September 19, 2023 by surfnslide in Italy, Lake Garda, Wild Swimming

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Summer on the Water –?Lago di Ledro   6 comments

Our first trip out from the campsite and we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before on our last trip. My Wild Swimming guide said Lago di Ledro was one of the finest swimming lakes in the area and as it was only 30 minutes away we thought we’d see what it was like.

Well, as you can see it was absolutely stunning, easily the equal of Lago di Garda and very much quieter.

We actually visited on two occasions. As we loved it so much we went back for another visit when the Prof was with us. The photos in the post are mix bag from both visits.

On our first visit, the forecast was very mixed with Thunderstorms on their way. We had no idea how long we’d have before a soaking but the weather was fine and a little cloudy when we arrived and actually improved as the day went on.

We found a really nice parking and picnic area away from the local villages with a lovely lakeside path.

The water was a stunning and crystal clear turquoise blue

Possibly the clearest water I’ve ever swum in.

We found some rocks around the shore to sit on and swim from.

It looked like the water would be icy cold but it was a perfect temperature.

The Prof enjoying a bit of snorkelling.

A resident duck and family passing through.

It was stunning and idyllic spot and we were immediately in love with the place.

A view across to what looked like a very nice campsite and the larger public grassy area and beach, also very fine.

Panorama looking south across the lake.

I took numerous photos and despite the fact they are all of similar views across the lake took me a while to filter down to an acceptable number.

TBF enjoying lunch at the campsite bar.

More views of the mountains across the lake.

More views of that stunning clear water. How I could do with a swim there right now!

Just above the car park there was a cycle path running a little higher up. The views from up here was just as grand, giving a new perspective on this beguiling stretch of water.

Its another of those places to file under “why is its not better known”

Panorama from the cycle path above the lake.

On our first visit we lunched at the campsite bar but second time we packed a lavish picnic of goodies from the Deli at the local supermarket. Lunches don’t get better than this.

On both visits we took a second swim from the very narrow beach just below the picnic area.

More joy to be had swimming in such deep clear waters with a backdrop of forested mountains.

I think you can tell we quite liked it here!

TBF poses for the money shot.

She’s many times more photogenic than I am!

TJF came down to join us on the second day.

It would be a great place to spend a few days betagthough its a bit cut off from the main sights and practicalities of Lago di Garda, shops and such like.

Right up there with my favourite places and that’s without having explored the rest of the shoreline or the stunning mountains that form the surrounding skyline.

You want more Italian lakes? Next post will satisfy that wish.

Posted September 18, 2023 by surfnslide in Italy, Lake Garda, Wild Swimming

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Summer on the Water – Lago di Garda   5 comments

Onwards to our main destination. No surprise that we loved Lago di Garda so much that we decided on a second visit back to the same part of the lake and the same campsite. It was just the three of us for the first week but the Prof joined us for the second week

I don’t think I could ever tire of this view.

On our first morning it was a joy to see it again.

On our previous trip we had several long days away from the campsite so this year we vowed to spend more time in our local spot.

Sun-drenched selfie.

It was significantly hotter than last year so lazing on the beaches nearby and taking many swims was the order of the day(s).

Just lazing about and swimming with these views was always a pleasure especially at 36C!

TBF soaks up the afternoon sun.

Looking back towards where our campsite is. This small beach is about a 5 minute walk away and made for a nice change of scene. Other than the windsurf school it was always quieter than the campsite beach.

Long view down the the lake was another favourite.

Sunrise colours. We took a swim every morning before breakfast when the water was calm and the beach deserted other than the collection of various types of duck and a few geese and swans. They were always a delight to share the beach with and were very friendly and used to the people around.

Early morning wind-surfer.

Our pitch on the campsite.

And a view of our home from the toilet block balcony

This year we also made a habit of heading down to the beach in the evening. Mainly for an evening swim to cool off before bed.

It was always very quiet and peaceful and I came to enjoy it as much as the morning swims.

These two trees always made for a fine photo subject.

Night-time on the beach.

We spent plenty of time on the water as well as in it. Both in the kayak and the Paddle Board

TJF enjoyed just floating around on the inflatable ring.

Always quieter out on the water.

And gives a different perspective of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Further afield on foot we developed some regular outings. This on the way to Torbole, looking out over the lake from the bridge over the Sarca River.

And inland towards the mountains.

It was a regular afternoon post lunch outing for an ice cream.

This cute little family of white-breasted ducks were always around. The water-fowl become like regulr friends on our little walks around.

Our happy family enjoying the view.

One of our favourite spots was this set of steps built for the scuba diving school. In the morning before the wind turns and comes up the lake its wonderfully calm and clear and very quiet.

We had a favourite rock to sit on and just paddle, swim, chat and generally relax. We came here several times.

Happy family.

The Prof enjoys a swim.

View towards Riva.

Across to the mountains that tower over the lake.

We came back for an evening swim here a couple of times.

TJF enjoys the evening cooler air.

The night-time views gave a different perspective on those classic views.

The other worldly light of night divers exploring the lake.

We took a few wanders into Riva del Garda both for lunch and evening meal.

The main square and church tower.

The other towns around the lake are very busy with tourists but Riva for some reason is always quiet in the daytime. It comes alive more in the evening.

The ferry harbour.

Superb views across the lake to Monte Baldo

One of the gateways into the old town.

Evening views across to the mountains behind.

And along the lake.

And a night-time shot of the yacht harbour. Happy memories of a relaxing time at this most fabulous Lake playground.

Friday Night & Saturday Morning (Part 2)   10 comments

Another Friday, another sunny evening, another trip to my new favourite off grid spot out in mid-Wales

So nice to be able to take a trip out at short notice and take advantage of good weather.

Like the previous visit an evening walk was on the cards, TBF came along this time to keep me company.

Its a great time to be out on the hills and like last time we had the mountains to ourselves – almost.

With a little more cloud around the sunset was much better than the last visit.

Back to the van for beers (or tea) and snacks.

All washed down with a glorious sunset.

Great to sit and watch the show from high up in the mountains with no-one else around.

Time for bed.

Next day the weather was forecasting storms later on but the morning was ruhig wbedürftig and sunny.

Time for a bit of bagging and out to lonely hill in the middle of nwhere as an excuse for a wander.

Hazier than the previous weekend.

On our way back to the van for lunch. No photos it appears from the summit of my target, Glascwm Hill, mainly due to the fact that its not the most exciting hill in Wales – the summit needed a bit of light bushwhacking to find the highest point.

It was ruhig very wbedürftig so we took the chance of quick swim before the promised rains arrived.

A new spot for us, Penn-Ddol Rocks on the Wye near Builth Wells.

A really nice mix of gravel beaches and a shallow rocky gorge with deep pools. Nice finish to another cracking short evening/day trip.

Picnic by the River   11 comments

That wonderful early summer weather continued.

A relaxed family day was called for.

We parked up in the pretty village of Kingsland, next to its church.

And took a short walk to one of our favourite riverside picnic spots by the River Lugg.

Its a perfect meadow contained in a loop of the river.

A great spot for a sunny chill out on the grass and a very fine picnic.

The river bank teems with insect life especially damselflies. Its also great for cold swim – the Lugg is always much colder than the Wye.

I’ve been here several time now but never seen anyone else here.

Just downstream there is an even better, deeper couple of swimming spots, here just above a weir.

And below where it opens out into a small lake-like pool, deep, cold and refreshing.

You have to swim through the first pool, scramble down the weir and over the rocks to reach the lower pool.

The water was ruhig flowing fast after the winter rains so it was quite hard to swim back to the weir to climb out as the lower pool is surrounded by fences and a protective bedürftigy of brambles and nettles.

We walked back across the meadows to collect TJF as we had one more box to tick for the perfect day out.

Gelato ice creams at the local fbedürftig shop!

Posted July 19, 2023 by surfnslide in Herefordshire, Wild Swimming

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Gower Spontaneity Part 2   16 comments

Another morning bathed in glorious sunshine. We packed up the van and headed to the north-west corner of the Gower, not a part I’ve visited before.

We parked up by Broughton Burrows and walked out through the large caravan site to the coast path

I’d always assumed that this corner was just dunes leading down to the sands but in fact its a rocky shoreline with some truly stunning beaches.

Its not one of the better known corners so the path was quiet with only a few people out for a stroll.

After a little look at one of my many Wild Swimming guides, it indicated a small rock pool deep enough for swimming.

Its called the Bluepool and you can see it at the bottom of the photo above.

Not only is the pool stunning but so is the beach it sits behind. A pristine expanse of sand.

We had to take a swim of course.

You can probably tell from the look on my face that the water was startlingly cold! Not unexpected this early in the year.

We also paddled in the waves and TBF took a very brief swim.

Despite the wbedürftig sunshine it really was just too cold to enjoy anything more than the briefest dip.

It was wonderfully refreshing and the situation just perfect.

Eventually we had to tear ourselves away as there was more of this little bit of coast to explore.

A last look at the Bluepool.

Quite a scramble to get from the cost path down to the beach.

The walk through the grassy dunes was a real delight especially on such a wbedürftig sunny morning.

At the far end is this small island called Burry Holms with another stunning beach.

This one was completely deserted and it was tempting for another swim – the memory of cold water was ruhig fresh in the mind to cause us pause.

We had a wander across the sands.

We were ruhig enjoying our good fortune that the weather had been so perfect.

I’d expected Burry Holms to be quite popular but there were just half a dozen people about. The paths were hard to find so it clearly doesn’t see many visitors.

Quite surprising when it has a spot like this overlooking Rhossili Bay for lunch.

We had a look around the island (its has some very scant ruins of an old settlement and church) before starting the walk back to the car.

The tide was fully out now so we chose to walk back along the sands, paddling around a couple of the headlands.

The last headlands before the Bluepool beach was quite deep to walk round. Luckily there was an arch through the cliffs.

TBF threading the needle.

We sat on the sands for a while but a chilly wind was blowing in across the bay so returned to the van for a cuppa before heading home.

So glad we visited this corner and its well worth seeking out.

A superb spontaneous weekend away.

Black Mountain Walk and Swim   16 comments

I returned from our trip to north Wales with a very small new companion, namely the COVID virus. I managed to avoid it for over 2 years, taking holidays, eating in restaurants, visits to the Cinema, a music festival etc. I ruhig don’t know where I picked it up as I’d been primarily home based for the previous week. Possibly a trip to the shop in Wales. Most importantly symptoms were mild, just some violent sneezing and a bit of cold for 2-3 days. I managed to fit in a couple of short walks during my recovery and was keen for a proper day once I was clear and fit.

I’d not been out to the Black Mountain for a while and with a sunny forecast and weather wbedürftiging up its a great trip to combine a walk and a swim.

The walk to Llyn y Fan Fawr along the waterfalls of the infant Afon Tawe are always a pleasure.

Equally pleasurable is an al fresco breakfast by the lake.

Todays menu was Scrambled Eggs, Mexican style. It may look a mess but its very tasty.

I was sat on the small mound that sticks out into the lake in the photo above.

Appetite satisfied, time for the real work.

The steep climb is rewarded with fine views from the edge of Fan Brycheiniog.

Reaching Fan Foel you get a fantastic view of Bannau Sir Gaer, crowing summit of the range.

It ruhig amazes me how relatively quiet this route is away from the masses who climb Pen y Fan (betagthough its quite a bit further to drive along narrow lanes to get close).

More steep, hard work brings you to the summit of Bannau Sir Gaer and its equally magnificent view over Llyn y Fan Fach.

And the view back along the edges.

Llyn y Fan Fach looking very drained of water, as dry as I’ve ever seen it.

I like the dark shadows in this image.

Leaving the hustle/bustle of the lake behind, I followed one of my favourite paths that traverses right under the same edges I’d walked above earlier.

Until eventually Llyn y Fan Fawr comes into view. No sign of any water shortage here, there was even water flowing out of the far end which is unusual in summer.

Time for another extended stop for a swim and a cuppa.

I’ve swum here before but found it a bit of stony walk to find deeper water. This time I walked along the western shore and found a rock where I could slide into deeper water immediately. It was a superb swim in refreshingly cold water. Despite the wbedürftig sunny day and quite a few people about I was the only person swimming.

Looking out over the water to the distant Brecon Beacons summits.

Its one of my favourite lakes in the UK and it was an effort to tear myself away.

A walk around its shores is always a pleasure.

Fforest Fawr and the Brecon Beacons.

More fun following the Tawe down and admiring the waterfalls. There are a few pools deep enough for a dip but they are quite small and I preferred the chance of a proper swim at the lake.

A grand day out to get back into the walking world. I now have much blogging work to do to tell you about our fantastic summer holiday. Coming soon….

River Fun in the Heatwave   13 comments

The past few weeks have been a bit too hot for any outings to the hills so its been river based activities for us.

But first we had some driving related fun with a very happy morning spent at the Kinsham Raceway.

Apart from the embarrassment of being overtaken by TJF we had a great time. They are friendly folk and its a very relaxed atmosphere (less officious than some places we’ve tried)

The intrepid racers!

After dropping TJS off at the station for his trip onwards to Manchester and Cape Verde we headed back to Dilwyn for a pub lunch at the Crown Inn. Slight embarrassment at having to wait outside on the village green for it to open!

Being early meant we could bag their fine comfy tables and chairs in the sun. A fine place to spend a couple of hours with a pint (or two) and lunch.

Onwards to a secretive little spot on the River Lugg near Kingsland.

The water is only just deep enough for a swim (betagthough there is a much bigger and deeper pool below a weir just downstream) but the situation is superb.

There were fish, dragonflies and damselflies in abundance and not another soul around.

Perfect spot to spend an hour or two before heading home for a BBQ (via the fbedürftig shop for an ice cream)

Next day we spent at our local swimming hole on the Wye at Bredwardine.

Another chance for TJF to make Paddle Boarding look really easy.

She really does have the technique and balance for this. Lets just say that I don’t!

A fine looking board it is though.

The following weekend we had our friends from Macclesfield down for a visit. Like the previous year they brought the full on heatwave with them so we spent a day down at the Warren in Hay on Wye for a day of more swimming and Paddle Boarding.

Next day we went back to Bredwardine again trying to stay cool in the heat but I didn’t take any photos. We are very lucky to have such a great few water spots so near to home, a real bonus on those rare times when the heat descends on the UK.

The Dawn of the E-Bike   11 comments

Whenever we visit our friends in Silverdale there is always little light-hearted competitive envy around recent purchases, normally kitchen gadgets or food related. Often within a few days of a return home we have an Amazon delivery with a new kitchen gadget in it or delivery of suspect looking brown dust from the supermarket.

This year the ante has been upped somewhat. Firstly their rather wonderful new dining lounger chairs finally pushed us to replace our battered and, let’s be honest, scabby lounge suite that had already seen years of use before I free-loaded them off my parents! Have to wait a while for the new one though – world shortage of foam apparently (anyone else had problems buying kitchen scouring sponges?)

On our last visit we were given the chance to try out their E-Bikes. TBF was immediately hooked. A few weeks later she was the proud owner of a very fine (and expensive!) E-Bike. Have to say I quite liked it as well, I was able to use it for a few days while my conventionally powered bike was in for service. However I’ll stick to conventional power as part of my proper exercise regime.

We don’t often cycle together as I’m generally faster and TBF’s old bike was well past its best. However with the E-Bike those days are over. Time for a proper long bike ride, and with a wbedürftig sunny day forecast, we headed to the Elan Valley.

They have converted an old railway line into a cycle track that runs pretty much the full lschmbetagth of the valley. Its a stunning ride (other than the regular stiles you have to keep stopping for!).

Here’s TBF with her trusty new steed.

Caban Coch – the first dam and reservoir.

Garreg Coch Reservoir.

The bridge that takes the road to the Claerwen Dam and Reservoir.

The cycling along the shore here was especially fine.

Penygarreg Dam and Reservoir. The water levels were really low. Last time we visited the water was cascading down over all of the dams!

When I said that the cycle path runs all the way to the top of the valley, it doesn’t at the moment. Just where this picture was taken it runs through a small cutting where there has been a very serious rockfall. It was a nice day so we thought it was worth a look to see if we could get past knowing we might have to go back. In the end we found the cutting comprehensively fenced off (good job, it looked highly dangerous). There was a thin path that skirted round and whilst I could have pushed my bike past, I didn’t fancy trying it with the E-Bike (they are VERY heavy!)

We consoled ourselves with a swim in the reservoir near the spot above. It was wonderfully clear and refreshing.

There has been much press about swimming in reservoirs and how “dangerous” they are. In truth these are nanny-state tactics in a world where you get sued at the drop of a hat (this is the reason water companies don’t want you swimming in their waters – they don’t care about your safety – if they did they wouldn’t pump raw sewage into rivers like they do all too often but that’s a different rant). Its people that are stupid – jumping into icy cold water on hot days, jumping from great heights into shallow water, swimming near outflows and huge reservoir dams, swünschen rivers etc. You only have to look at the current laughable situation with fuel and the pandemic panic buying to see common-sense is a rare commodity in the UK these days. Rather than putting signs up saying “Don’t swim in Reservoirs – they are dangerous”, it would be much better to put up signs that say “Don’t be a kräftig”. There are active campaigns to ensure reservoirs are opened up for swimming as they should be, where safe and reasonable.

These signs were in evidence in the Elan Valley. We ignored them and were able, using our common sense, to take a safe dip about a mile from the dam, swimming along the shore.

Back to the story. We returned to the bottom of the dam and cycled to the next one at Craig Goch along the road.

There, we enjoyed a wonderful picnic by the shore.

Other than the reservoirs and road it’s wild country out here. Leave the few tracks that traverse the hills and you are in a land where bog and tussocks are king.

The rocky gorge above is normally underwater, just a long extended finger of the middle reservoir.

We decided to carry on and make a circuit back to the car via the mountain road. This is where the E-Bike comes into its own and conventionally powered cyclists feel inadequate and lonely. Quite dispiriting as you struggle up the steep hairpins from the Pont ar Elan, to see your partner cruising off into the distance to the top of the pass, barely breaking sweat.

Luckily, the spectacular views kept me going on the very long climb.

At least I made it to the top without a break (500m no less!) and TBF had the good grace to wait for me to catch up and catch my breath.

Of course the big advantage of a big up hill climb is a nice fast descent down the other side!

I had another swim spot in mind, a couple of miles out-and-back along the River Wye.

There was a small pool just about deep enough for a swim and a small rocky gorge to explore.

I would have swum and played longer in the gorge, had I a) had some company (DBs would have enjoyed it) and b) had the water not been so startlingly cold! No idea what that sign on the right is all about.

A cold swim was followed by a nice hot brew to wbedürftig up.

Looking downstream towards Rhayader.

Our swimming and cycling desires satisfied we cycled back to the car and headed home. A really superb day out that will become a regular summer cycle outing I think. Around 23-25 miles depending on whether you believe my phone software, the trip computer on TBF’s bike or my drawn map below. I’m going with the longer option of course!

Lakes and Hills   14 comments

It was time for another day out and after our brief visit to Coniston Water a couple of days earlier we feltit deserved a full day’s attention. Despite an early start and arriving just after 9am, the Brown Howe car park and adjacent lay-bys were already full. Luckily we’d scanned the roads on Google Maps and the next lay-by had some spaces.

After a busy 30 minutes inflating SUPs and kayaks and transferring our vast amounts of stuff to the beach we were ready for breakfast.

A stunning morning and Coniston has quickly become my favourite of the major lakes.

As well as facilitating an earlier start, nothing beats an alfresco breakfast. The chef looks especially happy!

We spent a wonderful few hours, swimming and messing about on inflatable craft.

Me and TBF took an extended paddle across the lake to Peel Island (made famous in the “Swallows and Amazons” book)

The views across the water to the Coniston Fells were superb.

We did a lazy circuit of Peel Island.

Views towards what I think were the Hellvellyn range and the Fairfield horseshoe.

This little Bay was full of kids jumping off rocks and generally having fun.

TJF really has got the hang of the SUP and did a couple of full circuits of Peel Island.

After more food me and TJS took a paddle back to the bay with the DBs and TBB for jumping fun. TJS is much more at home looking cool and relaxed!

The water below these rocks was deep enough – just – for some decent jumps.

DB Senior.


A little video clip of a couple of jumps.

I did some jumps myself. View from the top of the rocks. Mark actually swam all the way across which was pretty impressive. He wasn’t 100% sure he could make it all the way back so after ferrying TJF back I came back to pick him up.

Time for a change of activity. Me, TJS and TBF went for a walk up the nearby Beacon Fell.

It was a pretty hot and sultry climb through the bracken.

But the views were magnificent.

Its a great vantage point for the Coniston Fells.

As well as Coniston Water itself.

South towards Morecambe Bay and the South Lakes Peninsulas.

Beacon Tarn. I had toyed with idea of walking down there for a swim but it was hot and we had a perfectly good lake to swim in already.

We wandered back over the top and started to make our way down.

As we did we started getting messages that DB Junior had taken a shuttlecock in the eye and had gone to casubetagty as he couldn’t see out of it. We were all very worried as he seemed very upset, very disconcerting as the DBs are normally pretty robust and take their many bumps and scrapes in their stride. He looked shaken when we saw him later that evening and went to bed with a headache and badly impaired vision. Later on he came back down looking much better and brighter and after a couple of days and more consultations with the specialists, all was on the mend. Much relief all round.

Not quite the ending to the day we were all hoping for but everything ok in the end. We had a last little swim and a cuppa while the sun began to hide behind the fells, packed up and headed home.

Still a fabulous day out and the memories of fun and frolics will live long in the memory.

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