As I grew up in the Lake District I spent many summer days taking a dip in tarns, rivers and lakes to cool off on hot summer days. I love how invigorating wild swimming is, a completely different experience to a warm swimming pool. I must admit I do like a wet suit when it’s not glorious sunshine in the Lakes as I’m a bit of a wimp for freezing water.
I now live in Suffolk so don’t get to enjoy as much wild swimming as I used to, I get to dip in the sea when visiting the coast now. I always go prepared when heading to the beach whether its East Anglia’s or Scotland’s coast there’s always a dry set of clothes in the car. I love swimming off the shores of Islay and the Isle of Mull where the inquisitive seals pop up in the distance to see what we were doing.
I love being in the water with my dogs, although they can sometimes use you as a buoyancy aid and dunk you under if you’re not constantly moving. My favourite place to take a dip with the dogs is a large pool in the Borrowdale valley, I’ve swum here most summers since I was a child and have taken friends and family to try their first wild swimming experiences. It’s a glorious place to try the fresh water as you can introduce yourself gently walking in from the shingle river banks or take the leap off the slate rocks with a clear safe pool to jump into.
Non swimmers and first timers – make sure that check conditions water can deepen suddenly and currents can be strong so make sure you’re researched your place for a first plunge.
Slips, trips and falls – rocks can be very slippery when wet especially when wearing rubber soled shoes, bare feet give you better grip.
Hypothermia/cold shock – swimming outdoors can be very cold, make sure you test the water and acclimatise yourself slowly and that you have got a set of dry clothes at the ready for after your swim.
Jumping and diving – make sure you check the depth of the water, even in areas you may swim regularly water levels can fluctuate. Check new waters for any underwater obstructions before jumping in.
Solo swimming – solo swimming can be very dangerous make sure you let someone know where you are going, what time you intend to be back and keep your loved ones up to date if anything holds you up.
Blue-green algae – this usually fills waters after warm wet weather often in summer time, the algae can make you ill if you swallow it and can cause a skin rash / irritate your eyes so make sure to check for any local updates for blue-green algae before setting out for a swim.