(image from here)
Oh it was hot yesterday. I met C after work and we jumped on the Number 24 to head to Hampstead Heath and the bathing ponds. The air on the bus was stifling, the seats prickly on our bare legs. By the time we had walked up the hill to the accompaniment of chirping grasshoppers, made a false turn along a gravel path through the long dry grass, then finally found the entrance to the mixed pond amongst the trees, we were aching for the cool water. It was less appealing on first sight however, a dark, murky brown, bordered by a strip of muddy grass scattered with ogling men, but it was so hot and we had come all that way, so we quickly changed into our swimsuits and clambered down the ladder before the warning signs about potential ear infections and gastroenteritis could put us off completely. Not quite the bathing scene from Atonement I was imagining!
Our (very) brief swim was actually extremely refreshing, surrounded by leafy trees and drooping rushes, and there is a sense of satisfaction from swimming outdoors in London. I am definitely keen to investigate some of London's other outdoor swimming spots, I have heard that Tooting Bec Lido is particularly worth a visit. I am also tempted to return to the Ladies Pond in Hampstead Heath, I have been there once a few years ago and remember more grass space for lounging than was at the mixed pond. Any recommendations?