Lake District Week

One of my favourite places in the lakes to swim is the small, stone, Birks Bridge  over the River Duddon in Dunnerdale.

I like it so much because the water tumbles down into various small pools, frothing up water that is like a chilly jacuzzi if you can manage to climb into them, then down into a gorge that narrows under the bridge where it speeds up and gets deep enough at points to jump into.

Be careful though because there are rocks just under the surface, that can be very dangerous if people were to jump from the bridge in the wrong place.

But  on my way there I stopped first near the southern end of the river to swim in some of the pools and for various reasons took a while to make it down to the bridge on Friday, but when I got there I was just as happy as when I first found the place.

I put on a pair of clear goggles and a pair of boots, I wanted to be able to see underwater and the boots were so I could walk over some of the sharp rocks, then got into the water around thirty metres down river from the bridge where the rocks get low enough.

The water is crystal clear, but at first too fast to swim against so I swam down to the bottom where the water is slower. The air is the same in that is is slower near the ground than high up because of the resistance it gets from objects. The water is also slower at the edges, so I made it quite a way up the river and then stood up and walked a short distance using the booties I was wearing to get over the rocks.

Near the bridge the water gets faster, but I managed to get under the bridge and past it to stand on a stone that is nearly at the surface, it felt like quite a mission as the water was quite fast after a few days of heavy rain.

Under the bridge the water can be quite deep, there are eery spaces where some tolkienesque gollum figure would be happy chewing on fish, there’s an arch that you can swim under, nooks and crannies, then when the water is slower you can clamber up the stones into the pools higher up, but this time the water wouldn’t let me.

I was cold when I got out as I must have been in there half an hour, I almost lost my balance because I was colder than I thought, but I felt invigorated as always and left feeling happy that I found my favourite swim spot again.

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