|Roly thinks better of it. Photo: Karen Rivron|
Once in, oddly, it felt warm and I was quickly pulled by the current into a deeper, less turbulent part of the river where it was easier to swim. Suddenly, I couldn't feel the pebbles on the bottom anymore - but at least I felt more in control and could just manage to swim upstream against the current. I swam back towards the rocks. It was a struggle to make headway in the shallower, narrower fast flowing part, and I had to resort to grabbing onto the branches of willow trees to pull myself along. Back at the rocks I thought, why not, and set off downstream again. It was great to get close up to the river, feel the current pulling you, see the ripples on the surface at eye-level, and feel the pebbles and rocks of the riverbed with your feet - instead of simply admiring it from a distance. It was great fun, too. Here's to more wild swimming. (Don't try this at home, as they say. Please don't go jumping into rivers on my account: check out the risks first).
If that wasn't enough excitement for one day, Karen and I were driving through Leyburn in the dark, about 9.15pm, when we saw what I can only describe as a UFO. I use the term in the strictest sense: it was simply a flying object we couldn't identify: I suspect there's a perfectly commonplace explanation for what we saw, but we don't know what it is.
It was a cloudy night. Looking out of the passenger-side window I saw a single light in the sky that seemed to illuminate something above it with an orange glow. I seemed quite close. It was moving Northwards quite slowly.Odd, I thought, that it should be close and slow-moving. Then I thought that it might be a microlight, flying at night (how would it land, I wondered?). At first, what I could see fitted that explanation, but then the "something" seemed to be oblong, the wrong shape for the delta wings of a microlight. Then slightly more of it became visible: there was more to it than the oblong, but exactly how much more was difficult to tell. We'd slowed down, but the car was still moving, and the buildings on our left obscured the view. We turned left in the Market Square and suddenly got a view of the sky again. The light in sky was still there, but it had moved off into the Northeast, and seemed to be a lot further away all of a sudden. At first I thought it was a bright star,and not the light I'd just seen, but the sky was cloudy and it wasn't quite the right colour for a star. Over a few seconds it got fainter and fainter before going out all together (presumably it had disappeared into the cloud).
What was it? It just didn't seem to resemble or behave like any aircraft I've seen before. At first it was low and slow moving then, in a very short space of time, it seemed to be higher up and moving considerably faster. I've heard of the military using small robot planes in Afghanistan and, from my very limited knowledge of such things, I can only assume that this was one of them, or something like it. (There is an RAF base not far away). Or perhaps we were visited by extraterrestrials? Personally, I doubt it, but it's quite amusing to think of someone travelling lightyears on a voyage of discovery only to discover Leyburn. It's a long way to come to discover the teapot shop's shut.