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Bikini dips 2 and 3 of week 15

I feel like I haven't been in the sea much recently, it's been too rough and I went back to work this week - only three days a week, but still, that's three days I can't get in the water as at the moment it is too dark before/after work. I did my super ice smashing dip on Monday up at Harbottle Lake, and so by the time it got to Friday, I was left with 2 more dips to do.

The first took place in the River Aln, at the Pastures in Alnwick which is opposite Alnwick Castle. I have swum here before, but only once and certainly not when the river was as high as it was that day. I walked along with my friend Lynne and her faithful companion, Breeze the collie. Breeze is actually our swimming mascot and she comes everywhere with us, she is dearly loved by us all, such a gentle, sweet loving dog. We walked through the town towards the river, a 10 minute walk until we reached the fields and saw the river. It was high and fast moving, and ordinarily I wouldn't have chosen to get in - and if it hadn't been for my bikini challenge I can say with confidence that I wouldn't have got in at all! It was late afternoon by the time we got to the dipping spot, the pink and grey sky reflected perfectly on the water in front of the Castle, which loomed over the water from the opposite bank. The river itself was moved a few metres away from where it originally flowed, way back in the 1750's by the first Duchess of Northumberland, Elizabeth Percy. There are a couple of explanations proffered for this, but the most enduring, and romantic one, is that she took advantage of a flood and asked (demanded!) for the course of the river to be pushed back so that she could see it from the state rooms above. Two weirs were constructed in the river, which meant that the river flowed smoothly, creating a glassy effect akin to a mirror. The Pastures itself was designed by none other than Capability Brown.

Thus, a stunning spot for a dip. We walked a little further up from the weir, where Jane and I had got in last time, but where this time the river was flowing far too fast for a safe entry - we would have sailed