At the end of last week I visited the new Alpkit shop in Hathersage to get an opinion of which size to chose of their Silvertip wetsuit. I'd had both a Medium and a Medium Tall sent in the post and felt that the Tall version suited me best. Ben in the shop agreed and so I left with a nice refund.
Today was the wetsuit's first test and the start of my new season and I went along to Doncaster where I first dipped my toes in last year. The water at Hatfield today was measured at 11.7°C which really did take my breath away as it crept through the zip. I had to do head-out breast stroke for quite a few minutes to settle my breathing and get used to the water, then a few face down strokes with eyes closed and eventually managed to get going. Once settled in I was content working around the small novice circuit at a steady (or slow?) pace. After 4 proper laps I could tell that my hands were getting stiff and the cold starting to penetrate deeply so called it a day.
Getting changed was the usual struggle of cold, stiffness and eventually shivers but I didn't take too long to reach the cafe for a hot drink. I was one of the first out of the water although a few of the others around me had certainly felt the cold!