Heather Simpson talks to Chatter
Here’s Heather’s winter swim challenge story.
“Hi, my name is Heather. I am 69 yrs old and I live in Weymouth on the South coast. I have lived here all my life and have a husband called Martin with whom I have just celebrated 50yrs of marriage, two daughters, two grandsons and three great grandsons and I can’t wait to tell you about my winter swim challenge journey.”
What got you into sea swimming?
Heather states that she started swimming in the sea after seeing a post on Facebook in September 2020 for the Mental Health Swims in Weymouth.
She says, “They dip on the first Saturday in every month with a young girl called Tess. She’s fab.
“Like so many, I had never swam in the sea except as a small child even though I’d lived by the sea all my life. We were just coming out of the first lockdown due to Covid 19 so I thought I would give it a go.”
Heather grins as she recounts her first ever dip in the sea saying “that very first dip in the sea proved to me how beneficial and incredible the effect of the cold water made me feel. I cried and couldn’t explain why I got so emotional. I felt like all the worries and woes had just been lifted from my shoulders.
“The effect was tremendous and physically all my aches and pains through lockdown just disappeared. I had suffered every single winter with chest infections and have been asthmatic, for as long as I can remember. Much to my family’s delight I went through the whole of my first winter without single infection and I haven’t had one since?” Coincidence?
To wake up and start my day with an early dip sets me up physically and mentally for the day. There is nothing on earth that equals the feeling of cold water and a sunrise dip.Heather Simpson
How did you get into the Chatter Challenge?
Heather recalls, “After starting the Mental Health dips in the September, I saw another challenge on Facebook by a group of ladies in the Lake District who were raising money for a young boy with cancer. That was to dip for 30 days in October 2020. I thought that it would be good to challenge myself so I joined and completed that challenge. Then just before the end of October 2020, I saw a post about the Chatter Challenge and thought that I wanted to do that too.
I loved the idea of it then lost the post. So I googled it and finally found you all. I honestly couldn’t wait to join in and keep dipping for my first winter swim challenge.
Heather is renowned for embracing the mini-challenges and dragging her swim buddies into them. She explains, “I think every single mini challenge is outstanding. I love every one of them. It gives me the chance to let my alter ego out to play! Believe it or not I am genuinely shy and grit my teeth when I’m tasked to do anything in public but I do these and enjoy every second of it. My favourite last year was Movember as the moustache really suited me!”
Heather states that she goes in the sea every day that she can. She recalls that during the first winter of the Chatter Challenge (2020/21), she was delighted to dip 120 times and achieved the Platinum award. She added that over the last winter season (2021/22), she achieved the full 151 dips of the Chatter Challenge and loved it.
I have to say that I was immensely proud of her and loved seeing her grinning face every day on the Facebook daily dipdate simply loving life.
This winter (2022/23) she confirms that due to personal circumstances, her priorities have changed somewhat so she won’t put herself under any pressure to dip. She does concede that if she doesn’t go in, she feels unhappy and dissatisfied as she misses it so much. She goes in as often as she can still.
She dips with a core group of 5/6 ladies called ‘The Mermaids’ but there are dozens of swim buddies if to go in with if she needs to.
I love absolutely everything bout the Chatter Challenge. From keeping me motivated and supported to friendship, fun, games and laughter.
It is the companionship and being part of something really special. I made me super proud of myself for biting the bullet and achieving something I would never have been able to do alone without all the support that the Challenge gives us.
And finally, to proving my family and friends wrong… now they shut up!Heather Simpson
Great swim spots
Heather loves where she swims and explains that they are lucky to have quite a few different safe swim spots locally.
She says, “It always depends on conditions wherever we decide to dip. Some places give more cover and protection than others. Our main love is along a spot called ‘Brunswick Terrace’ right on the sea front.
“The row of hotels there give us protection from the winds and rain plus we can park our cars right there next to the beach allowing us cover to change at the back of our cars if the weather gets bad. It really is a superb location to catch those rays in the mornings.
“But generally all our spots are superb down here in sunny Weymouth.”
Heather confirms that she is a member of ‘The Blue tits of Weymouth Bay’, ‘The Blue tits Global Flock’, ‘Weymouth Bay Sea Swimmers’, ‘Mental Health Swims, Weymouth’, ‘The Solent Splashers’ and the ‘National Outdoor Swimming Society’.
She states, “I became involved gradually as my needs evolved and meeting new people who had the same goals as me, just to dip through the winter and be a part of something special.”
The Chatter Challenge
The dip log and Chatter Tribe keep you focussed and motivated.
If you haven’t already, join the Chatter Challenge today.
Thank you Heather – great story!