Dark Night of The Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

Swimming for me, as for many of you my readers, provides a valuable part of my life, not least of which is the meditative and mostly non-stressful pursuit, where we swim not just in water waves, but also in alpha-waves. (Though occasionally the more dangerous the water is, the better for my mood and preference). But as…

The Atlantic – I

The Atlantic Ocean is in me. For almost 20 years since it got its hook into me, I’ve been haunting, (in a moderate non-weird way), the Irish Atlantic coast, primarily the west, south and my own Copper Coast in the south-east. For many years, in the depths of grim nights, I have stared into the…

Tom Blower and the first successful North Channel swim

I came across this gem from 1963 in Sports Illustrated archives a couple of years ago. I’m just going to reprint it. Hey, an easy day, no writing! * From Donaghadee in Northern Ireland to Portpatrick in Scotland is a fraction under 21 miles. Between the two land masses the sea rages in swollen tides and hungry eddies. Out…

Lots of thrift.resized

The Copper Coast: a Thrifty shore

Sea Thrift that is, Armaria maritima, also known as sea pinks. Ireland’s Copper Coast has a lot of it, growing all along the coast on the cliff edges, in rock crevices and stony ground where nothing else grows. It’s a perennial which has a high drought and salt tolerance, in fact it seems to do best…

Hook & reefs.resized

A visit to Hook Head

Hook Head is one of our favourite places in Ireland. I’ve been lucky enough to finally get a new halfway decent camera so I wanted to take a visit to the Hook for some long-hoped-for photos for the site. A long flat low bare almost treeless peninsula in the south-east, at the other side of…

Monday Morning Similarities – Stephen & Lisa

I find a lot of similarity between Stephen Redmond’s fantastic Molokai Channel and Lisa Cummins’s two-way English Channel. Waiting for news and updates all through a Sunday afternoon and night. The trackers working intermittently or not at all, and hoping for more updates from the boat through third parties. The agonising last 10 hours, wondering where they…

Lewis Pugh

Introducing a precise open water swimming temperature scale

I get asked various questions related to cold because I like to write about it. Those questions often inspire further writing ideas. One thing I realised was there was no good agreement on cold water. A poll of open water gave the following results. Under 5ºC (41ºF) – 0% Under 10ºC (50ºF) – 7% Under 12.5°C (54.5°F)…

Lethal is good. So is deadly. A little bit of Irish slang.

Rapid, massive and savage are also all very good, as are dingin’, crackin’ and the dog’s bollix but cat and manky are pretty bad. Grand is the gold standard for good though sometimes it’s only barely acceptable. A cute hoor is someone of whom to be wide of but a sound man is yer only man while a tool and a chancer are definitely not…