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!