Becky Bettesworth: my favourite wild swimming places
Grab your cozzie and er, maybe a thermos! Muddy dips into the Torquay artist's favourite local places for a daily paddle whatever the weather.
While Torquay artist Becky Bettesworth and her vintage travel posters are all about the destination, she’s been languishing at home during lockdown like the rest of us, with husband Matt and three children.
But no vegging on the sofa for her. Since last summer, she’s been taking a daily dip in the seas off Torbaydos, and not even in a shorty, mind, but just in her cozzie. We caught up with Becky to find out why (why, Becky, why?) and more importantly, her favourite where’s.
Ahoy, Becky, the water looks lovely, we’re coming in! (Actually we’re not, just going to chat to you from here if that’s okay?!)
Bravo, Becky! How do you ditch the wetsuit in winter?
My advice would be start to start in the summer and keep it going. It might be a bit of a shock to the system if you start in winter! Bring a thermos for afterwards. We bring a jerry can of warm water to douse ourselves in when we get out. It really warms up those freezing cold extremities!
What’s the appeal?
It’s a bit freedom during lockdown – an adrenaline rush. It makes me feel alive and invigorated, and I’d recommend it to anyone. There are loads of health benefits too, not just physically but for your whole wellbeing.
Tell us your favourite local beaches…
You can walk here along the south west coast path all the way round from the harbour. It’s a real locals’ beach: safe, with parking on the road opposite so good for paddle boarders and wild swimmers. It’s one of those lovely family beaches, and brilliant for rock pooling with little ones when the tide is out.
Stunning in the summer, I think it looks like Greece when it’s hot but it’s maybe a bit more rugged in the winter. You have to park at the top and go down quite a few steps so it’s a bit of a trek but it’s brilliant for a wild swim.
Providing the wind isn’t a south-easterly, here is great for a swim at low tide. The beach is a little bit pebbly, so you might want to wear a pair of rock shoes. I’ve seen seals here, but never up close. I’d probably scream if I did though I’d probably scare it more!
Torre Abbey Sands
A big sandy beach, really convenient to get to, with steps down and railings so you can be quite ladylike, nip down and be back in the car in no time. Winter is the best time, as it can get pretty touristy in the summer but off-season people go there just to swim because it’s very safe and not rocky underfoot.
I’m not sure I want to tell anyone about this one! I love it too much. My friend Penny and I call it our ‘Heavenly Steps’. It’s perfect for wild swimming, with easy steps down and a little dovecote, on the main road out of Torquay, so unless you’re walking you might not spot it.
It’s here that’s inspired my latest artwork, Stay Wild, which is the first one I’ve made about wild swimming. Normally when I’m in the creative zone, I’m really quick but there’s so much going on with the kids at home and we’ve got builders in at the moment. It’s taken a leetle bit longer than usual!
WIN a Stay Wild artwork signed by Becky!
So inspired is Becky by her new hobby, she’s created a stunning new artwork, Stay Wild, and she’s giving away a signed one worth £24 to Muddy readers! Freestyle it over to Muddy’s Reader Treats for your chance to win.