On Friday the 13th of August we were feeling lucky and headed down the East Coast. Isabella and I were glad to have the company of Frances and Billy (my Mum and Dad) as we arrived in the car park with bags of gear and a table for our Lovefoodandmore Swim Experience. We had a short walk down through the cliffs, taking in the stunning views and getting set up, ready for our swimmers. Laura caught us up as we navigated the sloping path.
I walked back up to the car park to meet the other participants. As I waited the sky began to darken and I thought, “We are going to get soaked!” I watched the changing greys of the sky from behind the memorial and I saw a glimpse of the colours that were to come.
This memorial is a poignant reminder of the power of the sea, in 1881 the East Coast fishing communities were devastated by the “Eyemouth Disaster”. The memorial was created, along with another two, by Jill Watson and commissioned by the 125 Memorial Association, to commemorate the wives and bairns left behind by their men folk who were taken by the sea, the Berwickshire Ports lost a total of 189 men. The tempestuous North Easterly storm left more than 100 widows and more than 350 fatherless bairns around the East Coast Ports. It was a catalyst for the formation of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen and Queen Victoria was one of the first contributors to this fund which provides help for families for stricken Fishermen.
We left the memorial to negotiate the coastal path, ladened with bags of kit – we stopped regularly to check on each other and take photographs. I was prepared for the tunnel this time, with my phone light on.
We could feel the rain approaching as we exited the mouth of the tunnel, so we quickly made our way to where Isabella, Laura and my parents, Billy and Frances, were set up. Tucked in close to the harbour wall for a little shelter, they had a stunning dual aspect vista. Above the harbour wall and looking South East was the most magnificent rainbow, transcending into a double with the soft light radiating around it and off the red sandstone cliffs. On the other side they could see the approaching storm as it descended toward the harbour and us, now standing in our swim wear!
Four of our swimmers had come all the way from the West to enjoy this beautiful venue and were rewarded with the most stunning evening. All of the swimmers had differing backgrounds to Wild Swimming, Laura had come for Front Crawl lessons in the Spring and was continuing to build her confidence up in the Open Water. Morag and Sandra had started swimming regularly on a Sunday, enjoying swim and cake, with social chats each week. Angela and Julie were just getting started, the swim experience being a gift from Julie to Angela to celebrate a BIG birthday!! What better way to do that than with friends doing something together.
We entered the water slowly, taking time to control our breathing. The rain bounced off the surface of the water and the rainbow became more spectacular. Swimming round the boats in the harbour, enjoying the feeling of the cold water on our limbs. Taking time to view the harbour in all of it’s glory in the changing weather and light.
Frances returned to the shore to Isabella and Billy who were keeping the table and all our gear dry as best they could. At 79, Frances had started Cold Water swimming with me again this year in April and had swum every week since. Julie – quite taken with this achievement – yet still to find out so much more!!! – created the hashtag #iffrancescandoit – I will use it! You can see some of our family stories from swimming around Scotland in my February 2021 Blog.
The sea was calm as the rain storm passed, so those feeling confident enough headed out to the mouth of the harbour to take in the full impact of the double rainbow framing the skyline. Bella capturing the moment from the end of the harbour wall.
It was a swim which will remain a treasured memory, spectacular in its imagery, calming yet exhilarating. We cannot guarantee this at every Swim Experience but we can assure you that a magical time will be had.
We got dressed quickly after we got out of the water, grateful for dry kit, thanks Dad (Billy) – and then we settled round the table to listen as Isabella told us of the historical and modern connections with The Cove. Post swim snacks were enjoyed by all, including some homemade cakes – which then resulted in much discussion about favourite recipes. The last of the Wild Swim Scotland Bobble hats were purchased as the girls were given their Autumn bouquets to take home.
As we departed the Cove, the evening light changed again and we took the opportunity to walk round to the cottages to survey the harbour from the opposite viewpoint. Soft light reflecting off both brick and sandstone. Wind whipping over the water, and the tide exiting the harbour as the water levels dropped. We will be back, hope you can join us.