France (2015- August): Swim Le Arc

As part of my (some say never-ending) “big” birthday year events a group of us went to the south of France. The reason will become obvious……..

Swim Le Arc

As many people have told me over the years, in France there is a natural arch/door in the rocks through which the River Ardeche flows


Rather than go by myself to this French Durdle Door, I went with a group of friends


Here are some of them with the Door in the background


Here are some of them under The Door


Here are some of them “waving/drowning” under The Door


I don’t think all these people turned up to celebrate my 50th birthday but you never know.


The campsite

We all stayed at the same campsite. Now which bit of info do you think Digger is pointing at?


When you reach 50 many people like to holiday in luxury with spacious accommodation. Here is my tent!


Here is the Jepsons “cool box tent” (with mine in background)


The river

The campsite was by the river
It wasn’t always this quiet


At times of Selfies it was quite busy!


Kayak trips

You could hire kayaks at the campsite so we did. Unfortunately you had to carry them to the river yourself!
It took a while to learn how not to go backwards and not to go in circles


At times we almost looked like we knew what we were doing
Even in the “rapids”!
So we headed for The Door
And all tried to get under it!



A few of us decided to go back to The Door, but this time swimming (and walking past the rapids or when we got tired)
Here is the group swimming down the river. What is that interesting looking black bag doing?
Here is a closeup of the DTOTS, or if you like the “Dry Transportation Of Towel/clothes System”. In other words a bin bag!!
We made it


Swim Le Roman Aqueduct

Pont Du Gard. Where Roman archaeology meets River Swimming
Heaven. But why do you need boats?
You just need a few friends from England
Or a lot of friends
These photos are dedicated to Sandra, Graham and Emily who picked up an English hitch-hiker who seemed very anxious to have a swim near some Roman archaeology. Well ok they picked up Digger “scared of flying” from a nearby airport and transported him to his new spiritual home.



There were surprisingly few animals in France


This may be explained by the survival of a hunter-gatherer community in the area. Here one of their leaders is seen practicing for the kill (NOTE. no animals or vegetarians where hurt during this activity)



There were some strange people around
Some looked as old as Romans (the one on the left silly!)
Some wandered around the campsite like this but shall, of course, remain anonymous.
Or not. (boney Maya)
Here two cavemen demonstrate how to dry oneself using hot stones!!
Most of the Swim the French Door at the campsite café (photo taken on Grahams camera by waitress)