Fire and Ice
Some times it’s nice just to take a break from life and escape to something different and yesterday that happened to be a Sauna and Dip session with a friend at Divers Cove. It’s the kind of experience you need the chilling waters of winter to be able to do properly – running from a hot sauna to lukewarm waters in the summer just misses some of the tingling fun of doing the same run into the ice cold waters of winter.
Divers Cove is one of those hidden treasures you read about and keep saying you are going to go to – a small, sandy bottomed swimming lake hidden just outside of Godstone in Surrey. When you first follow directions there you really wonder if you have gone the wrong way as there are various commercial barriers for a lorry run from a depot out to the motorway that you have to traverse. Once you find the entrance and pull into the tree topped driveway-come-car park you enter the magical world.
Being the hardy, mad, insane cold water swimmers we are and faced with an empty, blue lake it was hard to resist not taking the cold dip first. Slowly edging in, welcoming the pin pricks of cold across our skin and the associated sailor talk (my mother would not approve lol). For safety reasons, when doing a sauna session you are limited to just dipping – so with no expectation that we “had” to swim, we just enjoyed the cold waters embrace and allowed the world to slow down and stop.
After a chilly 10 minutes in 10 degree water we headed into the sauna for a 10 minute zen session – just sat enjoying the heat and the silence, feeling the cold water slowly evaporating. I have a love/hate relationship with saunas. I enjoy them, but still find it very hard to switch off properly so after 10 minutes we were heading back out for a dip.
Although it had only been 10 minutes between our first dip and this second dip, the sudden change from the sauna to the water meant our teeth were chattering and we only managed 5 minutes before heading back to the warmth of the slightly cooler of the two saunas.
One more dip and the requisite photo opportunity – did it really happen if you haven’t got photos – and we were very much done, the final dip just lasting 3 minutes before the draw of our dry robes beckoned.
There is a whole science behind why mixing sauna’s and cold dips are good for you…. But suffice to say, I felt good afterwards and was a change from the normal Saturday shenanigans. I think having the location near enough to ourselves also helped the relaxing even more and we are already planning another trip up during the winter cold.