From the warm and radiant waterfalls of Corsica to the chillier climes of rivers in England, wild swimming – the practice of taking a dip in natural bodies of water – is versatile, exciting and guaranteed to give you a unique experience each time you try it.
Man made swimming pools have existed for centuries, offering a generally safe, predictable swimming experience. However more and more people are turning to nature to get their adrenaline buzz and exercise all in one. Wild swimming could involve taking a dip in icy waters one day, and leisurely swimming in a tropical lake the next.
Some may see wild swimming as a feat for only the bravest and most adrenaline seeking individuals. Yet benefits can be gleaned by anyone. As well as cold immersion being thought to aid the immune system and soothe muscle pain, mood-boosting endorphins brought by combining swimming with the often harsh environment are another key perk. Indeed, the positive impacts on health seem endless. In addition, the team work, problem solving and risk assessment skills brought by taking a plunge in the wildest waters are valuable to people of any age.
It must be noted, however, that individuals should know their limits and do their research. A respect for natural waters and the dangers that can come with them is essential, with key advice being to never swim alone, always have an escape route, and to check the depth of water before jumping in to it.
Nevertheless, enjoyed safely, wild swimming is a mood boosting and health beneficial practice, as well as one which you may not have to travel far to partake in. Online maps, forums and articles present a diverse picture of the United Kingdom’s lakes, rivers, streams and more. With the Wild lochs of Scotland, the Goldiggins quarry in Cornwall and everything in between, anyone looking for a fun, free activity during our summertime, or indeed anytime, may just have found what they are looking for.
Laura is a soon-to-be psychology student who loves animals, wildlife and natural beauty. Based in Manchester, she is currently taking a GAP year to explore the world before studying.