If Carlsberg Did Friday Mornings – Swimming from Aberystwyth to Clarach
I don’t write blog posts about all of my training and activities here. Probably a good thing as not only would it take me forever to do but I’m sure most of you would switch off pretty quickly if I did. Most of my runs, bike rides, swims and kayak sessions aren’t that exciting after all.
Some of them are worth blogging about though and Friday morning was one of those days.
Swimming from Aberystwyth to to Clarach
It was actually supposed to be a rest day for me, but the forecast for a pre-work swim was perfect. No wind, early morning sunshine and an incoming tide. There was only one thing for it and that was an adventure from South Beach in Aberystwyth all the way to Clarach. We usually only swim to Consti as then we can just walk back to where we started along the prom. Swimming to Clarach adds a little to the adventure. We swim under the shadow of the dramatic cliffs of Constitution Hill. We venture past Craig y Fulfran (cormorant rock) and then into the sheltered shallow bay of Clarach. From here it’s a short walk or run back up the steep coastal path to the top of Constitution Hill where there are impressive views out over Aberystwyth and Cardigan Bay before dropping back down beside the cliff railway to Aberystwyth and the walk / run along the prom.
If Carlsberg Did Friday Mornings
I was surprised to find just 4 of us up for the adventure on Friday morning. Everyone else was going to miss out!
The four intrepid swimmers were Richard, Ian, Beth and myself. We all left shoes by the lifeguard hut in Clarach and then drove to South Beach in Aberystwyth for a 7:00am start. We usually set off earlier than this, but a 7:00am start made it a relaxed morning and would give us an extra little push from the incoming tide.
As we waded into the water it was clear (pun intended) that this was going to be a special swim. The water looked like tap water in the shallows so we could clearly see the pebbles below our feet. The air temperature was 15ºC, the sun had already risen above the sleepy streets of Aberystwyth and the sea temperature was a pleasant 15ºC too. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and barely a ripple on the water.
We set off out towards one of the 8 knot buoys at first. I led the way and stopped at the buoy to wait for Ian. Richard and Beth were cutting the corner somewhat and hugging the rocks of Castle Point. I had a quick chat to Ian once he made it to the buoy. From this far out to sea it was easy to spot the buildings of the caravan park at the far end of Clarach so I said I was just going to swim in a straight line towards them, and off we set again.
I took it nice and easy and Ian sat on my feet for a few hundred metres getting a nice tow. After a while he dropped off my feet and I soon left him behind. I fancied a nice steady swim without too much stopping so just continued on taking it easy. This was a rest day after all. Pier Rocks were soon left behind and we flew along across the wide bay of Aberystwyth’s North Beach. Soon the tall cliffs of Consti loomed to my right. I was far enough out to sea that I didn’t enter into their shadow though so had the sun on my back the whole way.
Large Compass Jellyfish emerged into sight, some with flowing tentacles many metres long. Fortunately I didn’t get stung today – it was after all turning into ‘probably the best Friday morning in the World’. Their bulbous Barrel counterparts hung in the water too pulsating like alien beings as we swam past. We were temporary visitors to their strange world.
before long I was entering Clarach Bay. Rather than head straight for the lifeboat hut I headed across the bay to the other side. The water was shallow and clear here so the bottom was clearly visible giving me a sense of speed as I glided along. Swimming in these conditions gives a sense of flying. The effort is minimal, your mind is free to either wander or concentrate on your stroke. The hustle and bustle of modern life miles away.
I made it to the beach, stopped my watch and looked for the others. Ian had taken a more direct route to the closer end of the beach and was just about to make it to shore as well. Richard and Beth weren’t too far behind him either. The strong incoming tide had aided us nicely and kept the gaps between us fairly small. My Garmin had me swimming at 1:07 minutes per 100 yards. That’s some pretty good going for 2 miles. If only I could swim at that pace without tidal assistance.
Running back to Aberystwyth
On the beach we had a quick chat and then prepared to head back over the top of Consti. Ian headed off to work in his van that he had left in Clarach. I got out of my wetsuit, put on a T-shirt, some shoes and then noticed that I was particularly well colour coordinated thanks to my green top, pink and green ‘Uglies’ and green shoes. Even my toenails were matching today. I was looking good and feeling great! With my wetsuit in my rucksack I started a run up over Consti and back to Aberystwyth.
Richard and Beth decided to stroll at a more leisurely pace.
The view from atop the cliffs was amazing. The clear blue waters below sparkled in the sunlight and the rocks could clearly be seen through the azure waters.
What a place to be, could Friday mornings get any better? I jogged along at a steady pace, nothing too strenuous with plenty of time to take it all in. Soon I was at the top where views out across Aberystwyth greeted me.
I then headed down the steep gravelly trails to the prom for a gentle jog along its length in the shade of the Victorian terraces. Aberystwyth was just waking up. A few people were walking dogs on the prom, council workers were out clearing up and there were one or two people out swimming gently in the bay.
It was still only 8am as we had made good time in the swim and the jog back didn’t take too long either. In fact it was only an hour all in but it had felt like I’d already done loads and had a good day as I headed off to work at the University. Most other people were barely getting started and probably still staring blankly into a bowl of Cornflakes. I’d already had ‘probably the best Friday morning in the World’.