Salt on My Skin – Sarah Norquoy

Salt on My Skin, Sarah Norquoy, Orkney, Gabrielle BarnbySalt on My Skin chronicles Sarah Norquoy’s blossoming love of sea swimming. She invites the reader into her life with humour and enthusiasm, and rewards them with insight into a journey of personal change. Her prose flows rapidly with the warmth of good conversation with a friend.

This is not a one disaster, one epiphany affair. Hurdles are not arranged, they simply spring up and must be navigated. For Norqouy the physical stimulation of cold and her reconnection with the environment is linked with finding a new group of companions to share the sea swimming experience. All give her spiritual and emotional strength. The narrative moves through the space of the past year, looking backwards and forwards in time, in a year where time for Norqouy’s mother, suffering dementia, begins to telescope and drift. The emotional impact of this experience is laid out on the page with honesty. Sarah is a willing companion for anyone going through a similar experience.

The sea calls. One way or another it calls. The answer is individual and changes over time. In Salt on My Skin Norquoy puzzles over why she never tried sea swimming before. A friend answers, ‘It just wasn’t your time.’

Sarah’s answer to the call of the sea changes. With it comes strength and belief – something that others may be unable to understand or prove. She is carried through the seaweed, around the wreck, into the cove, back to the shore, into the pink tent and finally to the car, where she cradles hot chocolate in her hands. The sea carries her forward to love and care for her mother, to stay open and to choose to keep swimming.



Gabrielle Barnby