Each Easter we visit St Ives in Cornwall. We have visited each year since child No1 was a babe and we love it. We visit with friends and its mostly tea drinking and chatting, pasties, Ice-Cream for Lunch and more recently, sea-swimming.
Last year I swam a little in the sea but not much. Im not a Thallasophobe – but I do have enormous respect, bordering on fear of the sea. I have only been swimming properly and in open water since 2016. Last year I dipped a couple of times under the watchful eye of nay on-swimmy friends. I did try to hook up with a local-ish group but it wasn’t to be.
My Instagram feed is mostly swim related now and I have been following the lovely Laura (St Ives Mermaid) for a while. Yes, she really is a part time mermaid! She is also an all round top woman and advocate for wild swimming for mental health and wellbeing – Her posts are brutally honest and I enjoy and appreciate her message. When I saw that she had started a sea swimming group in St Ives, I knew absolutely that this would be the group for me. The Wetsuit and several costumes were packed before anything else.
I swam every day in the sea this trip. Twice with the group, which was an utter joy on both occasions. I was initially fearful of reaching out and seeing if anyone would swim with me – I don’t find it easy to make myself vulnerable in this way, but swimming has made me braver and I did it. I am so glad I did. Some of us were in skins and some wet suited. I found them all to be warm and interesting women and we each had an individual and deeply personal story to tell about how we found wild swimming and why we love it. I felt safe and welcomed by these warrior women. On the penultimate day of my trip I left them, windswept and salty – with huge hugs, grins and a promise to return.
If you are down in St Ives they meet every Monday at 10am by the Rocks under the Pedn Olva hotel on Porthminster. Be brave. You won’t regret it.
Facebook group St Ives Sea Swimmers
Instagram St Ives Mermaid