51-year-old Angela Jones spent five weeks exploring her favourite river, the Wye
I have swum all over the world and the UK but there is only one place that holds me… The Wye. It runs through my veins and is my workplace and playground. Early last August I set off for 5 weeks with my dog Jack to explore the whole of the Wye. Kayaking it first, running back up it and then swimming down it. Starting from the source in the Cambrian Mountains, I slept on its banks as I continued my journey. I kayaked 100 miles, ran 160 miles and swam 84 miles.
At home on the river
I can be found swimming the Wye all year round. And more often than not, gliding along the river beds, where the excitement of a glimpse of eels and fish in weeds is truly magical. I always felt more at home in and under the river than on land. Mono fins are a favourite of mine as I can shoot along the river bed and see much more.
The swim took about nine days. For the whole five weeks away, I had no real focus on anything but playing on the Wye. I shot rapids and felt its force; I also saw its calm, serene state. Some sections I glided down, some I was catapulted down. At every opportunity I deep pool dived and bounced along the glorious depths. I tasted the sweet clear water and the pollution of the busy Hereford section. I even managed to pop over to the World Bog Snorkelling Championships and take part with my dog. One night I slept out at Gilfach nature reserve and swam in the ice falls and deep pools looking at rock formations.
I got slapped by a huge salmon that I surprised, glided over eels in the weeds, watched cormorants diving. I had the excitement of a child. I slept out on the banks and shared the pleasure of sleeping and waking on its banks for five ecstatic weeks.
My trip finished on the Sunday evening and work started Monday morning with my first client, a wild swimmer in the Wye. I have one of the most amazing lifestyles ever with my dog Jack, where the Wye is my office: kayaking it, swimming it and running it every day and, whenever I can, sleeping by it.