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Whilst Walking Alone

Whilst Walking Alone

When we are walking alone we perhaps notice more about our surroundings than when we walk with a companion. I know that when I am alone, I take greater care of where I place my feet, what the weather is doing, what smells drift past me and how I see. I mainly walk with others, I enjoy walking with friends and family and I am far more familiar with this but when I ended up alone in the Lake District for half a week I was determined to go and explore without the comfort of being accompanied. The weekend before I had been nervous and apart from researching a little I tried to push it from my mind.

I was lucky and the Lakes greeted me with fine weather, my adventure had begun. I quickly researched some simple walks and the area of Greendale caught my attention. It was described as a remote walk up to Greendale Tarn, perfect. I drove an hour and parked on some grass: packed a small rucksack and headed up the hill. The path followed the river all the way up to Greendale tarn. After an hour and a half walk up, I was hot from the steep incline and said to myself all the better for cooling off. I tried to use any excuse to push me to take the plunge.

Learning from my first dip in Spitchwick River I was going to try and find an area in the tarn that wasn’t only knee height. I skirted around the tarn until the reeds stopped and the water turned obsidian, this was the spot. Looking around, I was completely alone; this was another reason why I should go for a swim. I set a camera up, whipped my clothes off revealing my mismatched bikini and grabbed my go pro.  One step, two steps, three steps, breathe. I have watched films where people make this look easy, for me, it is far from easy, far from elegant as I slip and slide, gasp, pant, and make many hissing noises from my mouth and panicked facial expressions. What I realise in the fleeting moments is that my brain is recognising pain and has already decided that to go deeper means sudden death, I push on and when I get the courage to dunk, my brain is totally proved wrong, my upper body isn’t even that fussed by the cold and it’s suddenly quite easy. I have proved my instincts wrong and I swim forward. However, another part of my brain now decides that most definitely something is beneath me in the black. I try to touch the floor and when I can’t the panicked expression comes back. I can swim well but suddenly my imagination takes over and I decide to swim a little more and then swim to get out. I clumsily climb out, feeling a lot like the little mermaid trying to walk for the first time.  I jump up and down to keep warm and slowly pull my clothes back on, my leggings sticking to my wet legs. I feel revitalised and full of courage. I take in the views as I walk back down to my car, watching every step I place on the wet rocky path. As I get back to my car, the light starts to fade and I sit inside the car marveling at how invigorating my adventure had been.

The Space Outside // Knowledge and Wisdom is being launched on my website, www.shimnixfilms.co.uk, on the 1st January 2018. Start the year right, by listening to some incredible people share their ideas of what adventure means to them.

Taking The Plunge

Taking The Plunge

 

 

I have decided to explore some of the suggested adventures, which are featured in my second film. My main aim is to create an introduction with movement before the interviews commence. I started with a journey to Spitchwick River on Dartmoor, which was recommended to my boyfriend and I by some dear friends and was also mentioned in the Wild Guide South West book by Daniel Start, who is also featured in the second film.

“Ed, my boyfriend, drives us through the autumnal woodland till we get to a very busy car park. Kayaks and people fill every available space and there is lots of energy and adventure around us. I, however, sit in the car looking at all these people outside thinking ahhh! How do I get up the nerve to go to the river, take off my warm clothes and get into the river? I also have the added pressure I have created for myself, to film this event for the second Space Outside film. After some encouragement from Ed, I step outside and film him flicking through the pages of the Wild Guidebook. I then have a freakout and sit back in the car. This is out of my comfort zone and this is going to take a big step to push myself out into going on an adventure. We have a chat, mostly about how I feel a fraud and how high my anxiety levels are. But in this talk, Ed brings me around and I find calm, the car door opens and I step out. I have no idea how to film myself, I am used to filming other people. So I organise my kit the best I can and we set off. The walk does me good and I focus on the beautiful surroundings. Then we reach the section of the river that is well known for swimming in the warmth of the summer months. However it is mid-November and no one is around and only Kayakers can be found on the river, which is perhaps a good thing! I settle on wanting to film a section of the river that is hit with red, yellow and orange reflections of autumnal beech Trees, it is so beautiful that I do not take in to account the height of the water in this section. I look around, still no one. I have brought my wetsuit but the light is going to be behind trees soon so I discard the suit and after some explaining to Ed how to focus the camera manually, I whip my clothes off, realising how white and hairy I am, eek! Great now my body will be on camera and I forgot to shave. But I had the reassurance that it was my footage and if I didn’t like it I didn’t need to show it. Suddenly two people turn up, oh great! Now I have an audience, however, they yell out encouragement and I shout back with my thanks.

Remembering some advice from Myrtle Simpson, who’s advice features in the second The Space Outside film, I walk into the river very slowly and go up to my knees. I then start to walk in the middle of the river to get deeper but the levels stay at my knees, so I slowly with lots of panting and deep breathing sit down. I then declare that this is enough and stand up, take one step and slip, plunging myself up to the neck, I yelp and Ed shouts out, after laughing at my clumsiness “well you’re in now, so you may as well swim!” I turn around and start to breaststroke the width of the river, the current is quite strong and I am very aware of this so make sure I swim against the current.  I think I lasted maybe 2 minutes before striding out of the water to my towel. But I did it and my body feels tingly and revitalised. I slowly and very shakily put my clothes back on and Ed commands me to run to a distant tree and back due to my dramatic shaking. I run and run and feel even more exhilarated. *

We walk back and I sit back in the car, where I had sat only an hour before, crying from the fear of stepping outside my comfort zone. But I did it and now I know that it is not that bad, in fact, it was great and in that step into the water and that accidental slip I stretched my comfort zone. “

*I have recently been told, by Freyja Hedinsson, who features in the second The Space Outside film, that during and after being in the cold water some people can experience a drop in core body temperature; due to the blood rushing to the bodies extremities. So make sure after your wild swim, you have a warm beverage and if this is not to hand wrap up warm and have a run.

If anyone has any more tips please do share!

What is an Adventure?

What is an Adventure?

Since April I have been interviewing people for the second installment of The Space Outside. I have traveled across the country and met remarkable people; I set out to understand how to go on adventures but soon started to look at what we perceive an adventure to be. Every person I talked to, in my eyes, was being adventurous but in fact, some of them disagreed with me, stating that, what they are doing is choosing a lifestyle that gets them outside.  This led me to see adventure as a frame of mind; maybe we say it to make something more exciting and therefore the word adventure actually has a huge amount of sway over how we perceive what we are doing. Something that seems normal to you may seem adventurous to others. Getting outside of the comfort zone is for me at the heart of whether something feels adventurous and because everyone’s comfort zone is different that means everyone’s adventures should be different too. Deciding that the only way of going on an adventure is by climbing massive mountains or sailing around the world is somewhat of a limiting belief.  Throughout the year the film has evolved to include the many stages of Womanhood and the title has changed from The Space Outside // Practicalities to The Space Outside // Knowledge and Wisdom. This second film shows adventure in all shapes and sizes and aims to connect more people with a notion that they have the power to decide how they want to take a step outside their comfort zone and that they do not need to measure the step against someone else’s.

 The Space Outside // Knowledge and Wisdom will be launched on my website on the 1st January 2018