Beginning the day early in Somerset we headed to Portishead Open Air Swimming Pool in the West of Bristol. We arrived at opening time: 10am, and were handed a leaflet about how the pool operates in busy times. It was set to be busy, with a forecast of high 20s and bright cloudless skies in October! The pool had opened especially, having been already shut for the winter season.
As we were such early birds we had no problem diving in, but the crowds of other swimmers prevented us from actually swimming. We bobbed about for a while then emerged into the sunlight, where we reflected that we have been spoilt by the Cheltenham Lido and the Jubilee Pool in Penzance, and that maybe the hype about Portishead was not really deserved as it is a bit on the scruffy and small side.
So we jumped back in the car upon an invitation to picnic by the Avon near Bitton, crossing Bristol to reach the East of the city and arriving ages later no thanks to the traffic. We parked on Church Road, hoping to join up with the cycle path and find the picnic area.
We made our way down a footpath, crossed a field and decided we were lost. We could hear the river and see the cyclists, but could not work out how they connected to where we were. So we jumped over a barbed wire fence, crossed a field of cow pats and stinging nettles, jumped an electric fence and we were there.
The second swim of the day was much colder, but much more exhilarating than the first. After some food and conversation with friends, we made our way back home, to the centre of Bristol, where I turned around and ran 4 miles, just to complete the healthy, outdoor feel of the weekend.
Despite the hours in the car, I felt I'd made the most of the sunshine.