just wanted to say a massive THANKYOU to those of you who got in touch regarding swimming and wetsuits. Thanks to all of you, I am now a successful wetsuit wearer, and am looking forward to continuing to enjoy open water swimming in Scotland’s more usual cooler weather.
I didn’t mention in my previous post that when I was considering starting swimming again (back in 2015) I actually tried on a wetsuit. I found it a profoundly disheartening experience: the problem being that I couldn’t get my left leg in and out of the damned thing. . . it was a struggle . . .it felt awful . . I assumed that the demands of donning and removing a wetsuit were simply too much for my weak left leg and foot to handle, so I just gave up. But after reading Hilary’s practical suggestion about putting your feet in a plastic bag, I felt encouraged . . . foolish even . . . so I bought a very basic, and very cheap ‘Osprey’ wetsuit online (with a bit of searching you can pick one of these up on eBay for around £20)
Well, with the plastic bag trick, I got my dropped foot, weak leg, and the rest of my body in the suit, and took a dip in Carbeth Loch. And even though this is not a suit specifically designed for swimming, it actually wasn’t that bad once I got it in the water.
Having been reassured that I could actually wear a wetsuit, I felt I should try a good one that was actually designed for the purpose for which I wanted to use it . . . a few of you left various recommendations, and Úna suggested trying Wiggle. . . I read a couple of reviews, and assessing my size from the useful calculators on the site, thought I’d give an Orca one a go.
All I can say is that the basic Osprey suit was ok, but the Orca one is a total revelation!
It feels really light and super flexible, is honestly quite easy to get on and off (though I suppose these things are relative) and feels pretty natural to move in, either in or out of the water. The main thing is, that I love this suit, can swim in it, and actually really enjoy doing so!
Me and my wetsuit have been venturing a little further afield . . .
When you have enjoyed looking at a view for many years, it feels amazing to be out there, amongst it, in the water.
How I wish I’d tried this sooner! But then, I’m so glad I’m able to do it now – since the mere possibility of enjoying open-water swimming seemed very remote not so very long ago.
“Are you training for something?” asked a woman, walking her dog along the Milarrochy shoreline, as I got out of the water.
“No,” I said, “I’m just giving it a go.”
And I’ve been encouraged to give it a go because of all of YOU!
The past few months have involved various health difficulties and abandoned plans and swimming feels a particularly positive and important activity for me right now. So thankyou, fellow swimmers, who took the time to leave a comment, send an encouraging email, or message me with practical advice on Instagram or Twitter. Special thanks and big hugs to Úna, Rosee, and Cheryl (whose email made me laugh, and moved me, in equal measure).
Perhaps I’ll see you in the water.