Thursday, 15 July 2010

Dover and The Dump

Last Friday the 9th July KGB and I travelled back to Dover, our first visit since 2008, the 350 drive was more or less uneventful, the usual delays on the M25 but nothing too severe.With some availability problems I had arranged our accommodation earlier in the week, we arrived slightly earlier than anticipated and hoped for a nice place to rest our heads. To say we were disappointed at the state of the place which will remain unnamed is an understatement, it was a smelly dump.

No other accommodation could be located, so we disappeared into town, initially we drove to the marina were Cliff Golding (two time Channel Swimmer) had just returned from what was hoped to be his third crossing, sadly it wasn't to be today, he was in good spirits which was nice to see despite his disappointment.

After brief hellos and goodbyes to Cliff and his crew, it was time to feed and have a beer before running the gauntlet back to the dump. KGB was shattered from a very recent trip to Greece as a result of which she did eventually fall to sleep. I, on the other hand had a sleepless night listening to the drunken anti social behaviour, rowing and fighting outside as well as the other residents in neighbouring rooms via paper thin walls. I had decided before daybreak that I would sooner sleep in the car than spend another night here.

Saturday morning I checked out first thing just as soon as I heard signs of life from the owner, I declined breakfast, preferring to head into town. We parked on the sea front and went for breakfast, on our return I noticed that Freda Streeter (The Channel General) had already arrived we crept up and surprised her, as always we were greeted with smiles, kisses and hugs. It was really great to see her, we immediately felt the weekend was getting better.  We soon caught up with Barrie the Shingle stomper and were made to feel completely at home.
As we stood on the promenade overlooking the pebbles, watching the solo swimmers prepare themselves for a full days training,  I noticed Frank Chalmers of 'Crossing Hells Mouth' fame readying himself for a seven hour swim. I had spoken with Frank some time ago via email, and was very keen to meet him in person. I rushed across with KGB and introduced myself to a man who turns out to be one one the nicest, sincere and most modest men I have ever met, a true gent who restores my faith in humanity.
Moments later we were approached by the ever smiley Sarah Tunniclifffe who swam a Channel Relay only days earlier, we had hoped/planned to meet up with her having first met at the River Nene swim, she is a great laugh and fantastic for morale the sort of person I would want as support crew, hence the reason I asked her to come with us to Winderemere in August / September. I also managed to say hello to Sally Goble at long last too, I have been trying to do so for the best part of three years so it was long over due! She was in fact the first person I spoke to when the Channel became a serious intention back in 2007.
This is turning into a ramble!.....The fog was now rolling in but the whole day remained very warm, I did get into the water!! it was at the same time as the relay swimmers just before 10am as the mist descended, they had been assigned 90 minutes, I swam for 2hours 10 minutes, returning to the beach once I noticed the solo swimmers had completed their second feed. The water temperature was 63F by my watch (60F on the Sandettie buoy). The first hour dragged a little but then I was back in familiar territory, swimming laps of the harbour, the water was OK both in terms of temperature and conditions, I was day dreaming as usual, with thoughts of 2008 and much longer swims. All in all it was good to be back once the first hour was out of the way. It was in fact my longest salt water session this year, without a feed too which is pleasing.

 Having approached the shore KGB and a number of other thought it would be fun to throw pebbles in my general direction for old times sake, pretending to tell me that I was not allowed out. We all laughed, it was nice to get out under no pressure having done exactly what I had planned.
The rest of the day was spent socialising with old friends on the beach, helping out with the 6 hour feed and relaxing in the sunshine, we were sad to miss Emma France who was away sunning herself on a swim trek holiday, and also Jane and Kevin Murphy both of whom were out observing swims.

The plan had been to stay two nights however, what with the previous night and some domestic issues, we  found ourselves driving North after a lovely day, another whirlwind trip but hey, whats new.

This year has been very steady progress, with a slow methodical build up, Sandycove 2 miles, Epic Series 3.8km, River Nene 5km, BLDSA Wykeham Lake 5km, Dover approx. 7km... next stop is Derwent Water 5 miles on 31st July.

1 comment:

Karen Throsby said...

Hi Mark
Looking forward to seeing you at Derwentwater - sounds like your training is going great.