Wild Swimming Guide
What is wild swimming?
Wild swimming is when you swim outside in an area of water that isn’t a swimming pool, that could be a river, lake, or the ocean. It’s a great way to unwind and get back to nature, so it’s no wonder that it has become very popular over the last few years. But what wild swimming gear do you actually need?
What are the benefits of wild swimming?
There are many benefits to wild swimming, both physically and mentally! It can decrease stress levels and clear your mind, all while listening to the sweet sound of nature around you. Wild swimming can also do wonders for your immune system as the cold water can increase your white blood cell count. As well as being a relaxing activity, it can also be very social. There are many wild swimming groups and clubs across the country that you can join, making new friends in the process.
Swimsuit or wetsuit?
The biggest choice to make when going wild swimming (apart from which natural beauty spot to head to!) is whether to pick a swimsuit or a wetsuit. As we are in the UK, many people find swimming in the wild quite cold, even in the summer months. This means you may be more comfortable in a wetsuit as you’ll be able to stay in the water for longer. However, some people may find their movement slightly restricted.
If you choose a women’s swimsuit, we’d recommend one with thicker straps to ensure everything stays in place for your swim. Tie back bikinis may look great poolside in Spain, but you don’t want to be worrying about any clothing falling off as you float downstream. Men will most likely feel comfortable in any style swim shorts.
Wild swimming accessories
If you’re worried about feeling the cold, it’s a good idea to invest in a swimming cap. As we know, most heat is lost through your head, so having an extra layer of protection really helps to lock in your body heat. Brightly coloured swimming caps also make you visible to other people and boats as you bob in the water.
Aqua shoes are great to ease you in and out of the water more comfortably as they add a layer of protection between your feet and sharp rocks.
Tow floats have become popular recently as more and more people head out wild swimming. They are inflatable, brightly coloured dry bags that attach to you and then float behind as you swim. They have two uses; one is that their brightly coloured nature makes you even more visible in the water and two is that you can store your valuables like your phone and keys in it as it is completely waterproof.
What to bring for after your swim
Now that you know what to bring for during your swim, it’s time to talk about after your tranquil dip. A towel or changing robe is essential to dry off and warm up after being in potentially chilly waters. A changing robe is a particularly good investment as they can be worn while doing other things like heading back to your car or relaxing on the bank of the river with a book.
Speaking of getting dry, once you’ve got warm and toasty, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes. You may also find some warm socks, a hat and gloves are needed, even if the day is relatively warm. Wild swimming can be colder than you expect, and these accessories should warm you up quickly.
Some of the best wild swimming spots in the UK
1. St Nectan's Kieve, Cornwall, England
Is there anything more magical than a waterfall dip? St Nectan's Kieve is one of our favourite hidden Cornwall spots, walk through the breath-taking woods to a spectacular sixty foot waterfall.
2. Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire, Wales
This former quarry has been flooded by the ocean, creating a glistening pool that is perfect for wild swimming and kayaking. To protect breeding seals, the lagoon is usually closed from mid-September to early November. But you can still walk around the gorgeous cliffs during this time.
3. Windermere, Lake District, England
The largest natural lake in England, Windermere is a popular spot for swimming and can be adapted to suit all abilities and ages. Windermere is over ten miles long so it’s a great place to go for a long-distance swim.
4. Falls of Falloch, Crianlarich, Scotland
This large, circular pool is overlooked by a beautiful waterfall and woodland. As well as swimming, it is a popular place for picnics and a great way to spend a sunny day.
5. Linhope Spout, Northumberland, England
This sixty-foot chute of water is an impressive sight, and the plunge pool is great for a leisurely dip. The walk up to the Spout is also a great chance to spot red squirrels!
The most important thing to remember when wild swimming is to do it as safely as possible. Do your research on where you’re swimming before taking the plunge, don’t swim alone, start with short swims and never push your limits.