At the time of writing, according to my calendar, it is Summer. However, the grey overcast sky and slight chill in the air makes it more like the Fall. Someone from the US asked me about how our Summer is going. I said that we had had days that were too cold, days that were too hot and rain in between, and I stand by that description. I like warm weather, but when it is too hot and I need to cool off, I look for water …
I was raised on the coast and, as a result I guess, like to be near water. It is odd really that I live about as far as you can get from the sea in England! It does mean that I like rivers and lakes and, hence, in hot weather I like wild swimming. I should say that wild swimming is not as racy as it may sound; it is not the swimming that is “wild”, but the environment in which one does it. There is general agreement that wild swimming is the use of swimming locations that are essentially unsupervised: rivers, lakes, ponds, coastal locations with no infrastructure, etc. – not swimming pools or organised beaches. It is very pleasurable to spend time enjoying being “in nature” [an interesting term, which is not real English, but compactly describes being in the natural environment] while cooling in water.
It is always interesting to meet people with similar interests and wild swimming is no exception. It seems to be appealing to an increasing number of people, who like to be in water, but have had enough of crowded, expensive and over-chlorinated pools. However, what I have discovered is that different people have different ideas of what wild swimming is all about:
- Some people want to swim a significant distance; others just want a “dip”.
- Wet suits are considered necessary by some wild swimmers; others wear swimming costumes; and others regard skinny dipping as the only “real” wild swimming, as you are more connected with nature.
- Swimming all year round appeals to some; others only indulge in warm weather.
Nobody is right or wrong. Ideally everyone can get along by simply sharing their love of being in the water. I am a non-wet-suit, warm weather dipper, but have no problem with other approaches.