BOOK REVIEW – KATE REW – WILD SWIM guardian Books. Photographs by Dominick Tyler.
Beautifully illustrated guide to open air swimming in Britain, with a diary of the best swims taken by the author and friends, in the sea, rivers, lakes and public lidos.
The author reminds us that the heated indoor pool is a modern luxury and that at one time all swimming was outdoors. Today, safety consciousness and pollution puts many off open air swimming, but the author argues that our waters are now cleaner than ever and basic common sense will help to lower the risks of drowning. Swimmers should always be accompanied, always check the depth and currents, and in the case of the oceans, check tide times, etc.
The author is all for skinnydipping when given sufficient privacy, but she frowns on trespassing. She offers advice on acclimatizing to cold water swimming too. The diary describes several swims, and the journeys to the locations involved which range from Brighton Beach, to Loch Ness, via the Serpentine, and Lake Buttermere. The Scillies, Hebrides, and the Isle of Skye are included and there are some long distance swims that are listed with the advice that only experienced athletes such as triathlon swimmers should undertake them, while others are listed as easy or for moderately accomplished bathers. Even if a swimming location isn’t listed in the book, the author recommends checking with the young male population of an area as boys will always fondly remember the best swimming holes.
A lovely book that will do for outdoor swimming what Wainwright’s Lake District guides did for ramblers and walkers. It will appeal to nature lovers, swimmers, and skinnydippers and though not mentioned, wetlook fetish enthusiasts too. Cross indexed, with useful maps, lists of outdoor swimming groups, and annual festive swims, such as those taking place on Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s Day around the country.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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