Iam standing on an inflatable paddleboard in the middle of a lake. The water is calm, the surface mirror-like and my paddle makes barely any sound as it propels me forwards. Clouds are rolling down from the surrounding hills, lit by the golden glow of the recent sunrise, and in the distance three ducks take flight, skimming across the surface of the water.
It’s freezing cold at 7am on a Sunday, in the middle of a lake in Wales. But I’m not chilly. My wetsuit keeps me insulated from the morning breeze, and adrenalin warms me from the inside. This alone was worth the five-hour drive from London to the Pant-yr-Onnen campsite in Bala, Snowdonia.
My friend Debbie Burton and I are on a girls’ weekend, but there isn’t a spa hotel or a cheesy nightclub in sight. We’ve chosen the New Girls’ Weekend, a back-to-nature adventure where the closest thing to pampered luxury is the tiny log-burner in our lakeside shepherd’s hut. You might not necessarily associate paddleboarding and open-water swimming with two women aged upwards of 35, but psychologist Emma Kenny says Burton, 55, and I are right on trend.