My Daily Raw Swim, Cold Running Tides posts daily on FACEBOOK - Come FOLLOW the tide each day...


Sullen, moody, low lit sunken skies.  An unpromising start.  Temperatures dropping, just above freezing.  A few short minutes ahead of the dawn.  Geese overhead, long discordant calls fracturing the morning.  Brush of air, wing tip & feather.  A golden flash of sound & down.  Early morning waking & breaking.  First shards of light, a hard precision, shattering the first of the day.  Seals rolling in & under the tide.  Dark heads, smooth, slick against a viscous, silver marbled sea.  

In the cold water, no wetsuit, skin bare, such moments of raw beauty create exquisite conflict, yet also resolve this finer keen edge.  Wind, weather, wave & tide simultaneously heighten & diminish its bone-aching coldness.  Even as the spirit soars,  claiming a long acre of sky.  To hold this moment of Wildness close, just for an instant, is a revelation.  One is so instinctively present, it is moment of shattering beauty.  Even as discomfort warns to respect its outer edge.  A moment when opiates & adrenaline compete for supremacy, & reason must hold sway.  A prickling, tingling, flutter of cold fingers along limbs, prompts an animal response, signals blood rushes to warm raw, skin-bare, cold extremities.  Instinctively, the body knows it is time to keep moving, swimming, breathing.  Time to follow each slapping lift of wave, water, tide, light.  This time, shore-bound.  

Another ten minutes, & it is time to come out.  Feet on shingle & sand.  Rockpools still wet with their night of keep with the sea.  In the wind, seconds dry.  Towel-burning friction, skin-singing, mottled redness & goosebumps.  A single quick step into a survival suit & zip fast, hat, hood, gloves, scarf.  Breath coming slow & steady, regulating the cold.  Salt-lashed, pupils wide, dark-saturated, elated.  In their reflection, is the last of the dawn.  Watching sunlight on the water.  Ahead of the day.  Heart, sea drenched.  Eyes blinded, dawn shy.  I am honest when I say.  It is addictive, this Warm Rush of the Cold Tide.  When life is simple again.    

Raw sea, cold tide. No waters quite like these. The North Atlantic. Alive in the Scottish Hebrides. Outside, skin burns, ice cold. Inside, a slow rising heat. In minutes, water & wind are warm.
This Warm Rush of the Cold Tide.
— Tamsin McVean: My Daily Raw Swim


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