Posted by: wildswimmers | December 21, 2012

Midwinter solstice swim and bonfire

Today being the midwinter solstice, Lottie and Duggie did a 10 mile walk with their doggies while I rose late and drank coffee before doing a few easy chores.  Immediately on returning from their walk Duggie did a 1 mile swim and Lottie did a double training bouy swim (1km at 9 degrees).  I only managed a quick dip, supervised by Daisy, and as a result am feeling a bit left behind in the training stakes.  However, Lottie will be away over Christmas, so I can catch up then.  All of us were invited to a midwinter solstice bonfire on the hillside above Jane and Mark’s house.  It was decided that we would cycle there and climb overland to the bonfire site, rather than take the easy way by road (Lottie’s idea).  Cycling there was easy, as the moon lit our way, but climbing up a steep hill through dense rhododendrons, under fallen trees, stumbling over leaf covered mud, carrying a bag full of logs, in the dark was quite tricky (again, Lottie’s idea).  However, we made it, by following the shrieks of excited youngsters and emerged from the undergrowth to a cosy clearing in the forest, a roaring log fire, and delicious mulled wine heating in a large cauldron.  Jane immediately pressed a glassful into my hand and that was practically the last thing I remember.  I recall snatches of interesting conversations on topics ranging from Emile Zola novels, to raptor surveys and the study of storm petrels on North Rona, to mother/daughter relationships, to holidays in exotic locations (ie the West side of Jura) to (of course) cold water swimming.  Children ranged freely and noisily amongst the trees, the fire burned brightly, people came and went, wearing odd but practical clothing and all the while the moon sailed above us, illuminating the exquisite pattern of the branches outlined against the sky.  Eventually I realised I was finding it difficult to balance and luckily, at this point, Lottie decided to shoo Duggie and me home.  We skidded down the muddy hill, not caring this time about getting wet or dirty, and fell onto our bicycles.  Lottie sternly ordered us to STOP! every time a car came along and thus we made it safely home, giggling like children.  Tomorrow we will be heading back towards Spring!  A wonderful thought…. Thanks to Jane and Mark for a memorable mid-winter celebration and to Lottie for seeing us safely home.



  1. Sounds magical. Happy Solstice! xxxx


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