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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > April 19 > The Tunnels of time

The Tunnels of time

Mike Morris finds himself marooned in Victorian Ilfracombe

”No, I am not taking my clothes of,” I exclaim. “But it’s a nudist beach,” she retorts. “But it’s February,” I reply. “But it’s Valentines Day,” she insists.

It’s 14 February 2019 and I have invited Deb, a local photographer, to take few photos of me doing my swim from the little-known White Pebble nudist beach round to the Tunnels, Ilfracombe, the popular Victorian bathing pools. I will not waver in my intentions of keeping my wetsuit very much on and of course Deb is relieved that she won’t be needing the extra extra zoom on her camera…

The weather is superb, certainly a winter sun, but pleasantly warm with perfect blue skies and little wind; however, the sea presents herself with a mid-tide chop, a fast moving current and quite large undulating waves. I pause a moment, feeling nervous, as my swim partner has forsaken me for Koh Samui, Thailand, which is where I would rather be. I stand proud facing out to sea in the shallows, trying to look strong, silent and contemplative, but the reality is that I am rapidly losing the feeling in my feet and I am very quietly sobbing to myself. I wade out in the 7-degree water, knowing that I have to dive in at some stage.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Mermaids! Romance! Time travel! Tescos! The April issue of Outdoor Swimmer has it all. We chat with our new guest coach and cover star Olympian Keri-anne Payne about her coaching philosophy, contributing editor Ella Foote meets some swimmers in a supermarket car park, Elaine Howley tells the story of small and repulsive mermaids and Mike Morris slips through time to meet a Victorian swimming champion. And we have two new regular features starting this issue: Eco Heroes, in which we celebrate people and companies striving to save the planet; and Wild About You, where we play matchmaker for solo swimmers looking for love. Plus Plus, how to train for your first open water mile as well as more long distance challenges, training day menus, swimming with cerebral palsy, a dream swim trip in the Maldives and comprehensive UK and international event listings to help you plan your summer swims.