Monday, 2 May 2011
The idea of canal swimming has always seemed most unattractive, but today all my perceptions were blown out of the water (as it were). We cycled to the Turf pub on the Exe estuary, which sits on a spur of land that juts out into the water and the wideness of the river with all its changeability. I had hoped to swim there but the tide was wrong and we were surrounded by mud flats. We cycled back along the canal path, and got to Topsham Lock, where the water looked beautifully green and fresh. Without demur, in we got, and it was the most gloriously lovely experience. The canal is fed by the River Exe, and the water was clean and clear and very deep in the middle. A couple of guys were fishing nearby, they told us, for 'big pike with teeth'. The whole thing brought to mind that line in Ducks' Ditty in Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. "Slushy green undergrowth, where the roach swim/Here we keep our larder, cool and full and dim".