The knapsack is a bit empty at the moment.
It’s where I will pack ‘swimming stuff’ like book reviews, suggestions and general musings.
But these will have to wait for the long, dark, wet and wintry nights when pages of photographs are the closest I’ll get to the water.
Seasoned wild swimmers will already be well aware of most of the titles that I have tucked away – but if not, here’s a few to tempt you…
- Waterlog – A Swimmer’s Journey Through Britain by Roger Deakin. Athough to say so seems like a cliche, this is a truly seminal work that has given inspiration to many, myself included. If you read only one book then this really has to be it!
- Caught by the River. This collection of words on water; short essays in which the authors expound the charms of their favourite rivers is beautifully presented with sumptuous engravings.
- The Wild Guide by Daniel Start, Tania Pascoe and Joanna Keeling. From the same stable as the Wild Swimming guides below comes this wonderful collection of quiet Westcountry swims and other ‘off the beaten track’ activities.
- Wild Swimming by Daniel Start. Beautifully illustrated guide to inland wild swims in the UK
- Wild Swimming Coast by Daniel Start. Sister volume to the above guide, this book describes coastal swims. A new version entitled Wild Swimming Hidden Beaches has just been published – an eagerly awaited birthday present!
- Secret Beaches South West by Rob Smith. Another image-rich guide that describes truly hidden beaches – (be prepared to scramble) – together with walks and ‘watering holes’ along the way.
- Wild Swim by Kate Rew. Another lavishly illustrated offering, this is more than just a guide, it’s also a journal with compelling accounts of Kate’s swims in river, lake, lido and sea.
- The River’s Voice. Produced by Common Ground, a charity which seeks to link nature and culture, this is a rich anthology of poetry spanning many centuries and styles. Roger Deakin provides the foreword, so it seems perfectly reasonable to include it in this list!
- Sea and Shore Cornwall: Common and Curious Findings by Lisa Woollett. Hands up, this is not a book about wild swimming. But it is an artisan publication of great beauty that will enhance your knowledge and love of any Cornish beach. It deserves to grace every coffee table in Britain!
It’s also worth diving into a few websites – possibilities include:
- www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com and, in particular their wild swim map at www.wildswim.com
And finally, here’s a couple of local blogs to further whet your appetite:
- www.wildwomanswimming.wordpress.com Beautifully crafted accounts of swims in my local patch – a real source of inspiration
- www.devondispatches.blogspot.co.uk Another fine blog from an author and expert on the coast of South Devon
… and some from further afield:
Musings of an Aquatic Ape – and Mrs Ape Reports (sub blog) Lovers of Tooting Bec Lido and other more distant swims
Lone Swimmer The tag-line “who dares swims” says it all – a marathon, cold water master with a wealth of experience
Wildswimmers A year-round watery diary from the lochs and (often stormy) seas of the Scottish west coast
Ben’s Watery Travels Aquatic adventures enjoyed in many modalities
Swim happy !