The spring and summer beckon….2015 is up and running!

We have had an interesting winter. We’ve dipped, dived, shivered and lived in a caravan. We’ve renovated ‘Dipper Towers’ and are finally emerging from the dust.

We have had many requests for weekends and 2015 brings a few, we will indulge in the delights of the River Dart and Avon. We will embrace challenges (mostly based around 40, why I can’t think) and we will swim up and down the Dart and Avon as always.

Bantham

Our special knowledge exists in the River Dart and the River Avon (Bantham/ Burgh Island) and we know every nook and cranny as we’ve swum here all our lives and we invite you to share our secrets and swim the best bits, supported by friendly support crew, delicious brownies and warming stews! Every swimmer needs sustenance and that’s exactly what we offer.

If you’d like more information or you miss out on more commercial options contact us for further information.

Here to swim and smile. It’s very simple.

 

Dart Swims July 2014: Remembering why we swim.

This weekend was Devonshire Dippers first official weekend of bringing people together to swim in our local River, the River Dart. We have been swimming in the River Dart for many years, we have hosted swims for our friends and lovely local swimmers since we moved here and it never fails to amaze me how beautiful the River Dart always looks when you are in it and on it.

For us, we like to swim and be part of small groups. Nothing beats the tranquility that the river brings when all you can see for miles is you, a few of your trusty swimming friends, a supportive kayaker and the beautiful surroundings. Even if you are swimming through rain there is a sense of magic that swimming like this brings.

Our team of 11km swimmers. A brilliant bunch!

Our team of 11km swimmers. A brilliant bunch!

This weekend provided exactly that. 16 swims took place over the two days, 4km, 6km and the most popular 11km. I imagine going 1km over the Dart 10k spurred people on a bit but mostly I think open water swimmers just love to get together and swim.

 

The weekend has left me feeling very happy. It has made the simple Devonshire Dippers formula more important to us than ever before. Small groups, friendly swimmers, tasty treats, good natters, a quirky sense of humour and most importantly lovely swims.

The River Dart is magical but it isn’t just the Dart that offers magic around here as many know. There are so many swimming spots to explore and that is what we will keep showing our visitors. Devon is a treasure trove of swims, just take a look at Sophie Pierce and Matt Newbury’s book “Beyond the Beach: the secret wild swims of Torbay”. Sophie also writes a blog: http://secretwildswims.wordpress.com and they are currently exploring Dartmoor as I type to write another swimming guide for us. Devon is an amazing county for swimming so please keep coming to visit.

2nd 11km and 2nd 6km. Pretty impressive!

2nd 11km and 2nd 6km. Pretty impressive!

In the meantime, a huge thank you to our first bunch of swimmers.We would welcome you back like a shot. In the words of one of our swimmers ‘it was epic’. It really was!

We hope to see you all again, very soon and we will as promised post new dates and updates asap.

 

Flat water, sunshine breaking through the cloud. Just lovely

Flat water, sunshine breaking through the cloud. Just lovely

Delight in the Dart – River Dart Swims

We’ve only gone and done it! Finally we’ve set some dates for some delicious swims in the Dart.

With so much river to explore we have set aside 3 dates to take you swimming in what we think are the most beautiful parts of the river. Hopefully we’ll see the seal but we won’t be sharing our cakes with him!

What can you expect? 

A lovely swim, either 4k, 6k or 11k: Choose the distance you’d like to tackle and we’ll help you do it. Please bear in mind that this 11k is not tidally assisted as we swim out and around the tide not with it so it will be a lot harder than any 11k you’ve ever done before. You are welcome to try it but we highly recommend you can easily swim a mile in 30 minutes in open water and have swum more than 3 miles in open water before you tackle this

Huge amounts of encouragement from us: We’ll be in kayaks by your side, we’ll smile our way along and keep an eye on you, guiding you to the best bits and making your swim easier

Safety cover: We are all Qualified Surf Lifeguards and we will have all the necessary knowledge to keep you safe in the river as long as you are sensible too. I’m afraid our moto is:  ‘If there is any doubt we’ll get you out!’

Refreshments and delicious treats: Refreshments and refuelling on the river and some delicious home-made treats upon your return.

Post-swim social: Please don’t rush off, whatever the time, refuel and get to know your fellow swimmers, arrange to meet up again for more swims, this is just the start of the Dart!

The Dates: 5th July/ 6th July/ 17th August 2014

Any questions please do not hesitate to contact us and we’ll either sign you up or put you on the waiting list. Numbers are limited so get booking! See you in the River.

SLSGB Surf Lifeguard Training

A brilliant week of training, physical and mental began on Monday 27th January. Two of us signed up to become SLSGB Qualified Surf Lifeguards. First things first – were we fit enough?

A 400m swim in under 7 mins 20 seconds. Seemed fine, it was. A run of 200m in under 40 seconds, well, now, neither of us had undertaken a timed run of this distance since our school days so this was anyones guess. We were fine (Stu more fine than me) but we were also suited and booted and hatted and gloved in 5/3 ml wetsuits, booties, hats and gloves so it wasn’t your usual scene and I had a little chuckle to myself, as did many a bystander.

Next up 200m run, 200m swim, 200m run in under 8 minutes. Sound easy? Well, we weren’t so sure given the surf forecast and whilst we were based at the slightly calmer beach of North Sands, we weren’t at all sure the hail storms were going to aid us on this occasion. The hail abated and the sun came out just in time and we were off. First 200m run, fine and I took it a bit easy knowing I was going to have to dolphin dive my way through some larger sets of waves. Into the sea in our winter wetsuit clobber and the swim was by far the toughest part. Out 100m back in 100m and I felt like I’d done a round with a pair of seaweed socks in the washing machine but we were out and the final 200m run was ahead of us. It was fine, we were (are) fit enough and we were starting to get into the swing of things.

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We still had a lot to do though. Rescues of conscious and unconscious casualties on rescue boards, rescues of conscious and unconscious casualties using rescue tubes and completely unaided rescues. We were also required to demonstrate our ability to catch a wave, handle a board, check equipment, bring casualties ashore, question them and provide first aid. And all of it with a complimentary piece of seaweed protruding from Stu’s ear. This was just the physical examination and a grilling in the classroom followed.

The course is thorough; 40 hours training (split between the classroom and the beach) plus a full day assessment. Much of the training was focussed on first aid with the remainder dealing with lifeguarding techniques and rescue procedures. We now feel confident dealing with first aid and rescue situations which might occur on the beach and waterside.

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On a serious note, this was an amazing course, if only everyone had access to at least a basic first aid course, hundreds of fatalities could be avoided. Bantham Surf Academy delivered the course and both the tutor and assessor were very knowledgeable, thorough and interesting. Experienced trainer Dave Renaud has first hand experience of many of the situations we covered. His frankness provided gravity and context to the first aid theory. Their approach is real and I am confident that they have started us off on our journey well.

We would very much recommend this course to those who spend a lot of time by the water.

The Weekly Dip – Rig takes refuge

It was too good to miss! An offshore platform is taking refuge in the bay and it seemed swimmable. A better look was in order.

Wow! It's asking to be swum to!

Wow! It’s asking to be swum to!

A very wet and very grey day but the light on the sea was glorious. Swans were swimming in the bay highlighting how grand and imposing the platform actually was. Three rig boats were supporting and likely anchoring the platform and the sea was calm and just waiting for a couple of rubber clad swimmers.

What a juxtaposition. How marvellous.

What a juxtaposition. How marvellous.

A quick change and in we popped for a closer look. Once out of the sanctuary of the bay the sea seemed rougher and a dark cloud loomed from Brixham and was set for us. Our time was limited so we swam as close as we felt safe to and had a better look. Amazing to imagine hundreds of skilled offshore workers carrying on highly technical daily tasks whilst we were simply floating/ bobbing around not far from their ‘desks’.

Back inshore after operation 'rig'

Back inshore after operation ‘rig’

With the cloud edging closer we decided to make our retreat and had a lovely steady swim back to shore. With our trusty wetsuits keeping us warm we felt we could carry on for a while, mind you our hands and feet had other ideas so a quick snap for good measure, a duck and a dive for the swans and we exited our lovely local beach and headed for the warmth of clothes, cups of tea and toasted hot cross buns. Perfect.

For interest the rig was about a mile offshore from Broadands, it is certainly achievable to swim it. However I would certainly have felt bolder and safer with a friendly kayak by my side but I may well try for another closer look. Let’s hope our local rig stays a while longer and next time I’ll take a waterproof camera, some amazing photo opportunities I’m sure (if I’m brave enough to get that close!)

For now that’s it, The Weekly Dip. Over and out.

Our Christmas in Dips

Diving into Stoke Gabriel Creek. 25/12/2013

Diving into Stoke Gabriel Creek. 25/12/2013

An entire week off over Christmas meant lots of fabulous dipping action for the Devonshire Dippers. As our time was being spent in Devon and Cornwall we visited some of our favourite spots and searched out the best dips. From Stoke Gabriel Creek to St. Michael’s Mount, we dipped and dived our way through the festive season.

Christmas Day was our chilliest but of course most festive dip. The weather held and it was a dip to remember. Flat calm, very cold and the best way to start the day.

Our second dip was off Battery Rocks and it was a gloriously sunny day but very windy. The water didn’t seem that cold but the wind chill led to a memorable dip! Quick dunks for all concerned followed by hurried donning of clothing to protect ourselves from the chilling wind. Luckily Christmas Day leftovers beckoned to warm us up.

Following our dip in Penzance we headed for Sennen but it was clearly a day for watching in awe and not playing in the waves. Very big seas so it was pictures and hot chocolate for us instead.

Boxing Day Dip in Penzance

Boxing Day Dip in Penzance

Big beautiful seas - respect

Big beautiful seas – respect

Having kept our distance and missing out on a dip in one of our favourite spots to play we headed back to Penzance for a dip under the watchful eye of St. Michael’s Mount.

Wintry seas at St. Michael's Mount

Wintry seas at St. Michael’s Mount

Brrrr

Brrrr

So that was it for Christmas Dips. New year bought many more. From the River Avon to Hope Cove and back to our local dip at Duncannon on the Dart.

Some fabulous dippers dip in Duncannon

Some fabulous dippers dip in Duncannon

It was a festive season full of daily dips and let’s hope it’s an early sign that 2014 will bring many a memorable swim with many memorable visitors.

Happy New Year Everyone, we look forward to seeing you in 2014.

The Weekly Dip

We’ve always dipped. It’s a daily concern. However, since the arrival of our two darling daughters outdoor dipping has taken another type of dip. In order to rectify this and to coincide with the launch of Devonshire Dippers 2014 sees the start of ‘The Weekly Dip’.

This is exactly as it sounds, we will decide our dip location and in an ideal world take a pic and share it with you. If you live locally we’ll be posting our dipping intentions via the wonders of Facebook and twitter and welcome anyone who’s up for joining us.

As luck would have it, The Weekly Dip, is also the name of our blog, which will act as an online newsletter for all the goings on in 2014 so keep your eyes peeled for new trips being launched, media updates and general West Country ramblings.

I hope this serves you with a few laughs and a few ideas and also a deep desire to come dipping with us. We do puddles, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, lidos, estuaries, coastlines and if that doesn’t clean us up, the occasional bath.

This weeks dip is simple, it’s our local beach, Broadsands and we’ll be dipping and diving there on Saturday morning unless the tide is high in the River and in which case we’ll wander down to Duncannon for an estuary dunk. Either way we are anticipating an enjoyable chill factor.

Dart 10K Training Weekend

On 19th – 20th July 2014 we will be running a weekend with a focus on swimming in the Dart Estuary. The weekend is particularly geared towards people who will be entering the Dart 10K swim in September.

We will ensure you get to swim long parts of the course and may even arrange a full practice swim if the demand is there. Let us know if you are interested.