Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Swimming in the River Esk

I was the oldest child, born after seven years of marriage and a number of miscarriages. My brother Michael was born nearly nine years later, after two more miscarriages.

This made our parents a trifle over-protective. Their attitude to anything involving physical danger was along the lines of "Oh no! There's a tree! Little Daphne might climb up it and fall out and DIE!" I longed for riding lessons - far too dangerous. How they came to allow me to ride a bike I don't know. Even the carved Victorian banisters in our house were ripped out and replaced by nasty 1960s painted panels, just in case little Daphne or little Michael might get their precious little heads stuck through them.

However, one area all this didn't extend to was swimming in rivers. Rather ironic, really, since swimming in rivers is nowadays generally held to be Far Too Dangerous. Currents! Hidden holes! Weill's disease! Killer pike!

But both our parents were keen swimmers, especially my mother, and because she'd been brought up to swim in rivers she didn't think there was anything wrong with it. And, as I have written before, immersing her children in freezing cold water was something she considered entirely necessary.

I loved it. But then, a lot of the time we were swimming in the River Esk near Boot in the Lake District, which was stunningly beautiful and has not changed at all since those days. Here is the pool where we used to swim:

It's quite deep - about five feet I should say. The water is beautifully clear and the current is just strong enough to have fun with.

I take safety in the water seriously - my husband Stephen's father drowned in the sea off Cornwall when Stephen was eleven. But I'm going to go back to Eskdale, and I'm going to swim there again.


Blogger What's in a Name? said...

I swam here too, under the Doctor Bridge, when we were on holiday here, when I was 13. I agree - it's a wonderful river.

2:56 pm  

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