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Swimming with dolphins

Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 15:48 UK time, Friday, 2 September 2011

I'm a big fan of outdoor swimming and as soon as September arrives, it's time to head for the coast for a bit of sea swimming.

In theory, the sea has been warming up all summer and this is the best time for a dip before autumn takes hold.

Forget indoor public pools - the smell of chlorine, the thought of verrucas and the danger of bumping into people you know (smalltalk is never easy in your bathers!).

Think wide open spaces, the sun sparkling on the water and an invigorating dip anywhere along our stunning Welsh coastline.

Yesterday, after two days filming up in North Wales, I headed home on a beautiful end-of-summer evening feeling a bit travel-worn and tired.

But then a friend suggested a dip in the sea to shake off the journey and before I knew it, we were heading for Llangrannog in Ceredigion.

The sea was calm and inviting - until we got in and realised just how cold it was! But then, after forcing ourselves to go underwater, we were fine. All the cares of the day, gone in an instant.

I'm sure that hardened sea-swimmers would disapprove, but I always wear a wetsuit and am not quite ready to part with it.

There's an entire 'wild swimming' movement, including a couple of websites dedicated to the activity www.wildswimming.co.uk or www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com where you can find out about local events and see a map of the best places in Wales to swim outdoors.

My favourite places include Tenby's North Beach, Barafundle Bay and Traeth Llyfn - all in Pembrokeshire.

Rivers are also a great option, as long as you know where to go, what the hazards are and which bits have public access.

We can't all be like David Walliams who's just announced his plan to swim up the entire length of the Thames (not for the faint-hearted) but earlier this week, a list was published of the most improved rivers in the UK and the Taff and the Dee were in the top ten, so there's no excuse.

Back in Llangrannog and as the sun was lowering in the sky, we saw a big splash further out to sea and realised we'd been joined by a dolphin, throwing itself out of the water and showing off, much to the delight of everyone watching on the beach.

Which just goes to prove, you don't need to go anywhere exotic to swim with dolphins - Ceredigion will do nicely.


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