Harbour Lights

The past few days I have been snuggled up in the perfect winter bolt hole to write, read, and catch up with friends. A little bit of me time.

I’ve been staying in an old fisherman’s cottage in Newlyn. It dates back to the early 18th century and is packed full of wonderful old features and character.

The cosy snug

The very wide staircase used to be a passageway in which to barrel loads of pilcahrds were rolled through from the harbour, which had originally been much closer to the cottage than the present harbour.

Having all this lovely cottage and time to myself, I have been able to get stuck in to some writing, and feel I have made progress in both my current short story project and my plans for future scribbles.

It also gave me the opportunity to meet up with a group of sea swimmers in Penzance, lead by Katie Maggs. She is a true inspiration, starting Tonic of the Sea, after her own battles with poor mental health and discovering the benefits of cold water sea swimming.

the amazing Katie Maggs

The group always meet at 7am either along the prom or in the harbour at Penzance, hats off to them for always swimming that early!

As I had no transport it meant that I set off from the cottage at 6:15am kitted out in dry robe, swimming cossie and bobble hat, to march along the prom in the dark.

I had thought that I wouldn’t really see anyone but I was soon swept up in a group of about thirty school kids that happened to be on a geography trip to the Newlyn fish market. I heard one of the say “my mum wears a coat like that, she’s so embarrassing “.

It’s scary how one comment can totally undermine someone’s conviction. I immediately began to berate myself for being me and doing something that I enjoy, just because someone I don’t know made a comment.

I quickened my pace and continued along the prom and soon the sight of the dark sea, the twinkling lights of the harbour and town and the sound of the waves dragging the pebbles about like ripping Velcro made me forget my insecurities.

Penzance Prom

After a nervous few minutes waiting for the group to arrive (of course I was early) and desperately looking for anyone in a dry robe and swimming hat, a few smiling faces began to appear.

Soon we were all stood at the side of the road, stripping off, goggling up and giggling about how cold and windy it was.

Its not just the cold water that lifts the spirits, it is the great friendship that is within the sea swimming community that has such benefits to well-being.

So on this dark, windy and pretty chilly morning (water temp 6°) we all swum and splashed about, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

Scillonian in the background

Despite the chill as we all padded up the slipway and huddled back in the doorway to dry off, the warmth of the group and the feeling of being energised and inspired to enjoy the day left me buzzing.

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