Today I tried something new… in a tucked away part of Brecon Beacons, I stripped off and slipped into a river's refreshing embrace.
For today's route I choose a free download on ViewRanger from Trail Magazine. The route happened to be to some plunge pools, but it was the right length and in the right part of the Brecon Beacons that it seemed ideal. It was only as I was boiling some water for tea just off the ridge of Fan Dringarth high above the river, that the idea of taking the plunge actually started creeping up on me.
By the time I reached the river, my mind was made up – I was going to do it! I don't think I chose a particularly suitable plunge pool – it was only waist deep with a layer of slippery algae covering the river bed – but my already fragile courage was disintegrating and I just had to get it over and done with, so in I went!
Initially it was cold… but almost instantly my body got used to it, and it quickly felt almost warm. After a few minutes of splashing water over myself and trying to encourage the dog to join in, I moved over to where the water was flowing stronger (and therefore removing the debris from the river bottom I was disturbing) for a finally soaking.
After maybe five minutes, I clambered out, put on my Chocolate Fish merino baselayer and replaced my soaking underwear (for both decencies sake and the practicalities of sitting on slime I sensibly kept them on) with my dry trousers, and put on some water to boil. Compared to the cold river water, the warmer air felt positively toasty, and as I sipped my tea, both my body and mind glowed as I reveled in the tranquility around me. As a gentle shower started, I felt possibly the most content I have done in a long time – it was magical.
Eventually I had to move on, and I set off up the final peak of Fan Fawr with a bounce in my step and my underwear dangling off my rucksack (I am exceedingly grateful that I did not encounter anyone before I reached the car though!)
It was an amazing experience that I would gladly repeat, so the next time you are walking past an isolated river or lake why not take the plunge – you won't regreat it!