A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned one of my favourite places in London – Hampstead Lido (Parliament Hill Lido), which is an incredibly lush experience on a hot summer’s day.
So when I saw the writing prompt fromSarah Elizabeth Moore, I thought I would share with you my favourite place for wild swimming – Hampstead Ponds!
The whole of Hampstead Heath brings a real mix of memories to me. Many good and some devestating. I wrote about the conflicting feelings and memories I have in a post called: Memories…Letting The Happy Ones Dominate.
I featured my memories of an evening I spent with friends a few days before I was attacked in another post last year. This is an excerpt from it which will tell you about Hampstead Ponds:
I used to meet friends every Thursday for an intensive keep-fit boot-camp. Normally we would run down to a local cricket pitch, where the class would start. We would run sprints, and do squats and leapfrogs and all sorts of different exercises. But this night was different. One of the lads was leaving London to move abroad as he was engaged to be married. So we were going to have the boot-camp at a different location – Hampstead Heath.
We drove to Hampstead Heath. We ran from the Highgate side of the Heath over to the Hampstead side. When we reached the Hampstead Ponds for mixed bathers (there are men only and women only ponds too), we stripped our running clothes off and all of us had our swimming costumes on. We jumped into the water and swam a couple of circuits around the pond. There was a bit of splashing each other too. There was hardly anyone else there at that time so we weren’t annoying anyone.
Afterwards, we put our running clothes on over our swimming costumes, and then ran back over to the Highgate side of the Heath. There we found a grassy spot and the guy who took the class shouted out some instructions which we followed, press-ups, squats, leap frogs and stretches.
Two of our friends (a married couple) had a VW Camper Van. So we all got changed in the back of the van. The girls went first, we had to take our damp clothes off and have a quick dry off and put on our warm dry clothes. Then it was the lad’s turn to change. Once we had all changed, we walked up the hill so we could have a goodbye drink with our friend who was moving abroad for his wedding.
I loved that evening. My hair was slimy and smelt like ducks afterwards. But I loved it, and I am so glad that is one of my happy memories, just a few days before I was attacked.
This was my post in response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore: