A12 swim journey 2016: 33 FB POSTS

My Facebook posts as I did them with comments and photos after each swim, together with updates about timing and location for those joining me and reflections on each day. In each post I directed people to my Facebook page, as the trip was to raise money for charities relevant to the ends of my parents lives, St Elizabeth Hospice (Suffolk) and the Stroke Association, as well as to remember them one year on. Afterwards I wrote a round up of it: A12 swim journey June 2016: I did it!

All of my 33 Facebook posts for 4, 5, 6 June 2016:

Day 1

1. First swim of the day and the journey! Gorleston. With Tina Potter and photos by Bridget Heriz. 13.2 degrees, 5 minutes. As Tina says, an awesome swim, lovely clean sand, thanks to all.

2. Fab and longer swim with less neoprene or none for Tina at Lowestoft/Pakefield, and Celine’s paddle was freezing and mercifully short! Second of the day. 13.4  degrees, sound of foghorns! Thanks for support and photos by Chris.

3. Swim 3 of my challenge at Covehithe, double dip! With Tina, photos Anita, support Celine and Chris.

4. Southwold and the sun has come out. Friendly people, thanks to lady who took photos. In with Fiona Bettles , support Anita, Tina, Joe and wavers from pier and benches. 13.5 degrees. Wore glam cossie!  

three swimmers with arms round each other at the edge of the sea, blue sky, power station outfall structures
Fiona, Imogen, Tina at Sizewell, photo by Anita

5. Blythburgh 14.6 degrees with Tina  and Fiona support Anita and Joe and Mr Spenser. Lovely.

6. At Dunwich cafe, refuelling before our swim 6! Glorious sunshine. Lovely meeting Swim Walks at Dunwich, gorgeous swim! Massive thanks to a walker and an angler who each donated.

7. At Eastbridge – lovely , green , leafy , hot! Water 14.7 degrees.

8. Sizewell, my favourite Suffolk swim spot, where my mum taught me to swim and swam here too. 14.7, felt cooler, but sun hot now. In her cossie. Also in sea Fiona and Tina, support Anita and Joe Now for ice creams.

9. Aldeburgh by the sluice. Now 15 degrees. Anita s first swim of the year. Also Fiona swam and Joe supported. Much thanks to them and Tina, who have gone off now. Nice chat with Lynn in car park.

10. Iken was warm, 17.6 degrees, silky mud – see the mudlarks having a wonderful time, wish I’d done that. Big thanks to the lovely Dom at Iken canoes for letting me go off his jetty. Gorgeously warm and peaceful picnic in the car park with Anita, who also supported from bank. Nice people chatted in car park earlier.

11. Swim 11 was actually just a paddle, at Langham Bridge, a wonderful place, about 15 degrees. With Anita.

12. Swim 12 was lovely, and I put my whole head in twice! Stratford St Andrew. 14.6 degrees. Fantastic day of swims, very grateful to all my supporters and donors. Now how to get some sleep before tomorrow’s marathon!

Imogen in swimsuit on jetty in front of mud expanse and tidal river
Imogen at Iken on the Iken Canoes jetty, photo by Anita

Day 2

1. First dip (of the feet!) (first swim spot wasn’t possible) of Day 2 at pretty Marlesford downstream from the dry ford. With Anita, photos and support, and much help from my brother at night stop.14.5 degrees. First of day 2, now on to next to get properly wet!

2. Swim 2, 14 degrees, Wickham Market, bracing, shall we say. And going down from layby beside busy A12 reminiscent of John Cheever’s The Swimmer, the story that inspired Roger Deakin s Waterlog.

3. Ufford 15 degrees. Sun starting to show, warming up but a breeze. Lovely swimming hole, popular with kids and dog walkers. Beautiful place, sunshine and very green. Support Anita and Clive – thanks!

4. Quick break for coffee and Belgian chocolate brownies in Woodbridge while tide rises enough for swim 3, back to Milford Wilford bridge 1130. With Anita. Too shallow 10.30, much better when I swam, shallow and warm at edge and deeper in middle. Swimmable at the right time. Wilford bridge, Melton, 17.1 degrees, balmy (or barmy), tide and current just right, silky mud under brackish water. With Anita and some other onlookers.

5. Swim 5 Fore street baths – the friendliest pool I know, indoors, 30 degrees! With Emma and Anita.

6. West End bathing place, Ipswich, was an absolute revelation! Orwell and Gipping meet here so a two river swim. 15.4 – 16.5. With Emma and Rachel, three brave souls. Man passing wanted to rescue us! Staff in Marshall Jaguar were delightful and helpful, took photo, interested in history of site as bathing pool.

Rachel, Emma and Imogen selfie in swim costumes in front of river
Rachel, Emma and Imogen at West End bathing place, Ipswich

7. Bramford : how a swim place should be in summer! Pretty, fun. Temp unknown, possibly 15 or 17  degrees. With Emma and Rachel, photos and support Kirstie and other nice people. Massive thanks to Rachel for meal she rustled up for us! This swim was for everyone who has had a loved one pass away in the Ipswich/ Suffolk area.  

8. Stratford St Mary, with Emma and John, support Jill and two boys on bikes, the farmer whose field we swam from, drinkers at Le Talbooth pub and the lady who runs the Stour Preservation Trust solar boat! 16.1 degrees, felt cooler than Bramford.

9. Lexden: another revelation. Deep, weed free, warm ish, 16.5 degrees, could’ve parked near but forgot from my recce. Saw no-one till I got out then two golfers from Playgolf Colchester, a bit surprised. Running late, to Kelvedon 19.25.

10. Well, swim 10 was a paddle – up to thighs – instead, as I am running a bit late. (will be at Witham 20.20). Was deep enough for a dip though, just below the A12 bridge at Kelvedon.

11. Swim 11 was in two rivers, Blackwater and Brain, 16.1/16.5, plus a paddle in Brain under A12. Nice, hazy sunset. So late now I won’t do another swim, but will pop by Langford on my way to campsite, there 21.30.

12. Well, no swim 12 at Langford, but never mind. Now going to be late to bed! If anyone is coming to Ulting first thing tomorrow, see you 645/7.00 in the water by the church (get there how you prefer).

I’ve had a wonderful Day 2 of my swim journey, met and swam with many lovely people, and look forward to more tomorrow!

calm river with small trees and blue sky and cluds reflected in water
River Chelmer at Ulting

Day 3

1. Swim 1, Day 3, Ulting, was not as hard as I feared. 15.7, beautiful spot, peaceful, gentle current. I was very respectful of the wildlife and surroundings. 

2. Boreham, swim 2 and the sun is out! Water still 15.7 degrees. Swallow swooping over my head, skylark ahead, rush hour traffic over the bridge. Bet they envied me in the water. Today is going to be a scorcher. Join me if you can, or follow my challenge on Facebook.

3. A fiendishly tricky place to find – Sandford Mill Lock. A12 bridge, 15.4 degrees. Funny to think of all those cars roaring overhead. Willow down on the water looks like snow, but warmer. Thanks for photos and support Peter.

4. This would be an idyllic spot if not for the lorries going over the bridge! Peter was bank support and photos, then had a paddle, then surprised himself by getting his shoulders under, then said he wouldn’t have believed how lovely it was once you were in. 16 degrees. Really only deep enough to paddle and splash. And do downstream weed surfing! Near Galleywood.

Peter lying back in river smiling with big feet in foreground
Peter in the River Wid at Galleywood

5. I’m going to skip the Roding, possibly just a quick look and paddle, and then back on schedule at Hackney Marshes Centre at 14.00.

6. Amazingly warm swim in the Old River Lea, 19.9 degrees! Fantastic support from Mick taking photos and helping me back up the bank. Not sure he was expecting this to happen on his afternoon by the river!

7. With good friend and fellow swimmer from South London Saraka, at London Aquatics Centre, even better than her lovely local Crystal Palace pool. Even did a couple of classy dives. 27.3 degrees. Swim 7, two more to go!

8. Penultimate swim of the day , with Saraka, photo taken by Karen and nice chat with her,  also with Linda after. Fun community pool, lots of local kids learning to swim. The heart of Hackney, well Clapton actually. Kings Hall baths, my local, too. 30.1 degrees.

9. Last swim of the third and last day! With Fiona, who not only came up from South east London, but brought me a wonderful cake made with her own rhubarb. Photo taken by Ben. Too warm for Fiona, at 26.4 degrees. Nice to see the pool busy and families enjoying the last of the day’s sunshine. More reflections on the whole experience to follow, but it has been wonderful, especially the people I have met and who have joined me.

Road map with pins showing swim spots along A12 from Great Yarmouth to London
Map showing swim locations on Imogen’s A12 Swim Journey

Read a round up, including charity information, A12 swim journey June 2016: I did it! https://www.imogensriverswims.co.uk/blog/imogens-a12-swim-journey-june-2016-i-did-it/

And the significance of the locations for each day:

Swim Journey 2016 Day 1 places and significance
Swim Journey 2016 Day 2 swim places & why they matter
Swim Journey 2016 Day 3 swims and why I am doing them