Morning dip before work in the center of London

Friday, June 12, 2015

My new office will be in central London.  A few times a month, I have to go in for meetings to make sure plans are correct and we have ordered the correct equipment.  My friend Elle posted about a new pop up swim pond near Kings Cross and I thought I would give it a go.  So Tuesday morning before heading to work, I braved the cool London air for a 20 minute outdoor swim session.

Photo from kingcross.co.uk
Kings Cross Pond Club is run by Fusion. Only 160 people are allowed to swim each day because of the natural filtration of the pond (yes, there are plants growing and a dirt bottom on the shallow end and no, there isn't any chlorine). Each slot lasts 2 hours and depending on the time of day, the price will vary (mine was £3.50).  The website says there are showers and changing rooms but no hair straighteners. You also need to bring a lock or you can buy one for £5.

It was a bit of a trek to get to the pond. There is a huge arrow outside Kings Cross station saying 'pond this way', but that is it. It isn't listed on any of the local attraction maps and the construction meant I had to walk around a park rather than cut through it. There weren't any big signs to the entrance but the viewing platform you couldn't miss. I got there about 7.30am and the staff were really nice. A bunch of swimmers were just leaving which made me feel like I wasn't the only crazy one. I had my swimsuit on under my clothes which worked out well as there are about 8 changing rooms (like you would find at a shop) and the lockers were outside.  I had too much stuff for 1 locker but I was allowed to bring a bag to the pond at my own risk.  

Before entering the pond, you have to shower. And the water isn't warm. I wouldn't say it was ice cold but I wasn't warmed up at all by it.  The pond was no warmer. It took me a few minutes to build up the courage to get in all the way. I think I just waited until my feet lost feeling and then jumped in. The next two people to come in were women in wet suits.  They moaned about the cold too as it slowly seeped in.

There aren't any lanes at the pond and it is a kidney shape.  It is about 25m long but I had trouble going in a relatively straight line. In the end, I tried to stay near the wall as a guide. It is really good open water practice as you need to be aware of who is around you and the shallow end doesn't have a high wall to push off of.  
Natural filtration from www.domusweb.it

A few more ladies turned up.  Some were chatting with each other and others were enjoying a leisurely swim. This early morning time slot was peaceful as there were only 5 people there when I was.  I am sure the cool weather helped this too.

I finished my 1.5 miles and headed out of the pond to shower. The sun was peeking out a bit now but it was by no means as warm as it had been he last few days. I washed my hair outside in my swimsuit, completely aware of all the construction workers and flat windows that could see me.  I then headed into a changing room.  They almost locked me in but I made it out just in time with my wet hair in the end.  My toes were still frozen so I found a bus to take me to work.  It was nice not to have a lingering smell of chlorine on my for the day.

Overall, I really enjoyed my swim. Next time, I think I would choose a warmer day.  It would be a great place for a refreshing dip after work on a warm day.  If you are able to stay for the full 2 hours, it would be worth the higher tariff too.

As an Aquarius, I find being in the water extremely relaxing. I can't wait to make the pond a part of my monthly routine.

Where do you swim? Do you prefer a pool or open water?

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