Wild Swimming.

Ahimsa

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Thinking about something new and exciting to do when the weather gets warmer I came up with the idea of wild Swimming in remote places. I used to be very keen on going to my local pool but since lockdown and social distancing this has not been possible. Neither do I think it will be a safe recreational activity for quite sometime, even if the pools are open. So, having just watched a programme on wild swimming I'm wondering if any members have tried it, particularly if they live in the UK. 🙂
 

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I did a lot of wilderness backpacking in my 20s and swam in a lot of the lakes and tarns I came across. One time I was swimming across a lake and as I neared the far shore a bear came down the hill side and got in the lake too! I kept a safe distance and it never noticed me. Another time I swam across the Snake River from Idaho to Oregon and back....in hindsight that was pretty dangerous as it took all my strength not to get swept downriver into rapids.
 

Ahimsa

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I did a lot of wilderness backpacking in my 20s and swam in a lot of the lakes and tarns I came across. One time I was swimming across a lake and as I neared the far shore a bear came down the hill side and got in the lake too! I kept a safe distance and it never noticed me. Another time I swam across the Snake River from Idaho to Oregon and back....in hindsight that was pretty dangerous as it took all my strength not to get swept downriver into rapids.
Thankfully, rapids and bears shouldn't be too much of a problem here in the UK. 😂
 
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Thinking about something new and exciting to do when the weather gets warmer I came up with the idea of wild Swimming in remote places. I used to be very keen on going to my local pool but since lockdown and social distancing this has not been possible. Neither do I think it will be a safe recreational activity for quite sometime, even if the pools are open. So, having just watched a programme on wild swimming I'm wondering if any members have tried it, particularly if they live in the UK. 🙂

Yes, but I didn’t think of it as anything special. I just call it fresh water swimming. I used to do it all the time when I had a car and lived in a more rural area.

I’m allergic to chlorine. I much prefer lakes and rivers to swimming pools.

Tips:

Do some research on the bodies of water first. See if the lakes/ponds are spring-fed or stream-fed and how deep they are. Spring-fed ones tend to be colder and cleaner.

A lot of shallower ponds in remote locations are not that good for swimming. There’s usually too much vegetation. Look for a depth of more than 6’.

Man-made swim holes such as used stone quarries are popular, but they can be dangerous. Sometimes, there are sharp objects submerged somewhere (discarded machinery). Deaths and injuries from that are not uncommon. Don’t jump or dive in. Swim with caution.

Swim holes in mountain streams are amazing, but they tend to be very cold. This is great because it’s refreshing. Just fyi.

Also! Be aware of any dams. Upstream from a dam, there can be a strong undertoe. It can suck you down and drown you against the dam. A lot of people swim near dams, upstream from them, anyway. But I think it’s a bad idea.
 
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Ahimsa

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Yes, but I didn’t think of it as anything special. I just call it fresh water swimming. I used to do it all the time when I had a car and lived in a more rural area.

I’m allergic to chlorine. I much prefer lakes and rivers to swimming pools.
So do I these days! Lol. Fortunately I don't live in London anymore, not many lakes and rivers there, apart from the Thames, in which case you'd risk coming out as a mutant. 👹
 
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NYC Gardener

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So do I these days! Lol. Fortunately I don't live in London anymore, not many lakes and rivers there, apart from the Thames, in which case you'd risk coming out as a mutant. 👹

I just edited my post to add tips. I love wild swimming.
 
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Ahimsa

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Yes, but I didn’t think of it as anything special. I just call it fresh water swimming. I used to do it all the time when I had a car and lived in a more rural area.

I’m allergic to chlorine. I much prefer lakes and rivers to swimming pools.

Tips:

Do some research on the bodies of water first. See if the lakes/ponds are spring-fed or stream-fed and how deep they are. Spring-fed ones tend to be colder and cleaner.

A lot of shallower ponds in remote locations are not that good for swimming. There’s usually too much vegetation. Look for a depth of more than 6’.

Man-made swim holes such as used stone quarries are popular, but they can be dangerous. Sometimes, there are sharp objects submerged somewhere (discarded machinery). Deaths and injuries from that are not uncommon. Don’t jump or dive in. Swim with caution.

Swim holes in mountain streams are amazing, but they tend to be very cold. This is great because it’s refreshing. Just fyi.

Also! Be aware of any dams. Upstream from a dam, there can be a strong undertoe. It can suck you down and drown you against the dam. A lot of people swim near dams, upstream from them, anyway. But I think it’s a bad idea.
Thank you! 😘
 

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Perhaps you have a wild swimming club in your area ? I've always read that you should avoir lakes and ponds.


Lakes and ponds can be home to nasties such as blue-green algae, a scum on the surface at of the water that can make you sick.

 
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Ahimsa

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Perhaps you have a wild swimming club in your area ? I've always read that you should avoir lakes and ponds.


Lakes and ponds can be home to nasties such as blue-green algae, a scum on the surface at of the water that can make you sick.

Thanks Shyvas, we actually live in Wales and some of the places this article mentions is not far from us. We did go to a place called Tything Barn in West Wales where they have made lagoons in what was once a quarry. It's a safe place but the water is always very cold. 😱
 

shyvas

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Thanks Shyvas, we actually live in Wales and some of the places this article mentions is not far from us. We did go to a place called Tything Barn in West Wales where they have made lagoons in what was once a quarry. It's a safe place but the water is always very cold. 😱

That is what I was thinking. :cool:
 

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When I had first moved to France I lived with my boyfriend in Avignon, which is not far from the Roman aqueduct
the Pont du Gard. We used to go swimming in the Gardon river not far from the aqueduct. The river was quite clean, shallow or deep in places with little islands where we would sunbathe. He knew where to go that wasn’t crowded, driving down a little track to park then walking down a small trail to the river.
Way back then in 1987 it was possible to go up onto the Pont du Gard on the Very top of it or along the inside part of it.
I went onto the top but, only for a few minutes, even walking along inside of it was scary enough for me, I did manage to go from one side to the other inside it.
The last time I was there was in 2006 with my husband. There is a huge car park impossible to park for free for miles, they have built a Visitor’s centre which is very slick and modern.Lots of info and presentations. It was the first place that I have ever been to that had an overhead water misting system! And of course now it is Impossible to get anyway near to the aqueduct!
 

Ahimsa

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When I had first moved to France I lived with my boyfriend in Avignon, which is not far from the Roman aqueduct
the Pont du Gard. We used to go swimming in the Gardon river not far from the aqueduct. The river was quite clean, shallow or deep in places with little islands where we would sunbathe. He knew where to go that wasn’t crowded, driving down a little track to park then walking down a small trail to the river.
Way back then in 1987 it was possible to go up onto the Pont du Gard on the Very top of it or along the inside part of it.
I went onto the top but, only for a few minutes, even walking along inside of it was scary enough for me, I did manage to go from one side to the other inside it.
The last time I was there was in 2006 with my husband. There is a huge car park impossible to park for free for miles, they have built a Visitor’s centre which is very slick and modern.Lots of info and presentations. It was the first place that I have ever been to that had an overhead water misting system! And of course now it is Impossible to get anyway near to the aqueduct!
Our last holiday was spent in France. The carefree days of wild swimming (no bathers required) seem like a lifetime ago now. We travelled all over at the time, intending to retire somewhere in the SW of the country, until Brexit that is, and now we're destined to spend our days mainly in this damned climate rather than somewhere warmer! 😡
 
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1956

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Our last holiday was spent in France. The carefree days of wild swimming (no bathers required) seems like a lifetime ago now. We travelled all over at the time, intending to retire somewhere in the SW of the country, until Brexit that is, and now we're destined to spend our days mainly in this damned climate rather than somewhere warmer! 😡
France is definitely the country of my heart...
Ireland is very special too and I am glad to be living here, just would have preferred to stay in France...
 
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Jamie in Chile

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I have done wild swimming a few times in the UK in lakes. At first, you may be treading on pebbles or sludge or going through reeds as you wade in but it gets better as the lake gets deeper so don't give up. Lake water can be beautifully fresh and cool without the saltiness of the sea. Lakes are often a bit colder than the sea, so if you haven't done it before, be prepared for that.

Some places are perfectly safe to swim provided there are no people around. In a national park or a picnic area or anywhere busy you have to consider whether kids or someone with less skill are likely to copy you, whether you want to become a spectacle, or whether some busybody or official can come and tell you not to swim in the lake for no good reason, or whether there are boats buzzing by. It feels better when there is no-one (even though that actually makes it more dangerous if you are with no-one). I think it works better the less people there are. A second-tier Snowdonian mountain (that's pretty much all of them except Snowdon itself) on a weekday outside of school holidays will be good for example....there'll be no-one there.

I was often alone, so it then becomes a bit tricky about whether you want to leave your wallet, phone on shore and launch into the lake, or take turns. So it's better to have someone else that isn't swimming or plan in advance to take cash only and no phone so you feel more relaxed.

If you are going alone tell someone where you are going and that you will call them at such and such time when you get back.
 
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Ahimsa

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France is definitely the country of my heart...
Ireland is very special too and I am glad to be living here, just would have preferred to stay in France...
Yes, we'd like to have lived there too. Wales is okay, when the sun shines, but that's not very often. Lots of nice places to go when it does though! 🙂
 
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Tom L.

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I don't suppose this was wild swimming because it wasn't remote. But I've swam in the Atlantic Ocean 5 places: Maine (BBBRRRR!!!! CHILLY North of Cape Cod); Cape Cod, Massachusetts (when I was very young- I barely remember it- but it was in the bay, there weren't any waves at all, and I stayed in the shallow water with my Dad); Morehead City, North Carolina (I stayed close to shore mostly because of the speedboats, not sharks or tides/currents); Atlantic City, New Jersey (the Horsehoe crabs were doing stuff- I'm not sure what); and Miami Beach.

Back in the 1980s I went canoeing and camping in the Saranac Lakes. I did a bit of swimming. But our group of 8 camped on a small island overnight, and THAT was fun (even when my canoe partner dumped me in the lake when we were setting out the next day- that was an extra, unexpected swim, and I dried off quickly in the canoe as we paddled along).
 
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Emma JC

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hmmm I didn't know that "wild swimming" was a thing either - just thought it was swimming - I have been swimming in all of the Great Lakes, the St Lawrence River, the Atlantic Ocean (with Spotted Dolphins and without) , the Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea and many inland lakes and ponds in Canada and the USA.

I am not a fan of muddy, murky bottoms and so prefer to swim off a dock, raft or boat. When I was a child we went every summer weekend to a beach on Lake Superior and in one of the parks we went to the water was shallow for about a half mile out and so was perfect for children to build sand castles and learn to swim. We often had a cottage in Thunder Bay area and the water there is very COLD! I am very thankful that we went to a cottage on a lake every year that I lived at home with my parents, it was never anything grand and sometimes they were off-grid but it made amazing memories.

I am definitely a water person and feel very uncomfortable if I am not close to large bodies of water or directly on them. I can see Lake Ontario from my home and it is very comforting and interesting.

Emma JC
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shyvas

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muddy, murky bottoms and so prefer to swim off a dock, raft or boat. When I was a child we went every summer weekend to a beach on Lake Superior and in one of the parks we went to the water was shallow for about a half mile out and so was perfect for children to build sand castles and learn to swim. We often had a cottage in Thunder Bay area and the water there is very COLD! I am very thankful that we went to a cottage on a lake every year that I lived at home with my parents, it was never anything grand and sometimes they were off-grid but it made amazing memories.

I am definitely a water person and feel very uncomfortable if I am not close to large bodies of water or directly on them. I can see Lake Ontario from my home and it is very comforting and interesting.

Emma JC
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Lucky you.
 
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I guess I have been wild swimming many times.

two highlights. one time I was vacationing in the Bahamas and I dived off of a sailboat, to get the anchor better planted in the sand. and while I was down there I found a conch.

While I was in Utah I hiked down a creek that went thru a narrow pass and half the time we had to swim or wade up the creek.
 

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