Taking the Plunge with Wild Swimming
Yes, yes, we know, happy campers. The thought of plunging into chilly waters, in sub-tropical Scotland, is none too tempting, but if anyone can convince you to give it a go, it’s probably Kate Rew, director of the Outdoor Swimming Society and author of Wild Swim.
Outdoor – or wild – swimming, says Rew, is experiencing something of a renaissance, with a variety of special events happening across the UK. This fortnight, Scotland takes the plunge with The Big Dunk in North Berwick. Marking the first official day of spring, swimmers are invited to take the plunge and join the past time of a growing number of followers, from TV star Robson Green to Team GB.
For Rew, who has been swimming in lakes and rivers since she was five, the resurgence has been a long time coming, and since 2006 she has been working to change people’s perceptions, and get them outdoors, both for the health, social and lifestyle benefits.
‘Normal social barriers tend to come down immediately when you go swimming, and when all the normal social chit chat is washed away, real friendships are made quite quickly and become quite lovely.’
‘It’s such a phenomenal experience, unlike any other forms of exercise. Our grandmothers knew it – many of them were daily sea swimmers, embracing the invigorating and enlivening effects of cold water. It doesn’t matter what the weather or your mood, a wild swim will always bring you health and happiness.’
Working with Nairn’s, as part of their new national campaign Nairn’s Natural Woman, Rew is hoping to highlight how vital such activities can be to our over-all sense of well-being.
And you don’t have to be an experienced swimmer either, with many safe tidal and river pools across Scotland to take a first dip in
‘Whether it is swimming in rivers, lakes or the sea, outdoor swimming gives people a wonderful sense of freedom and adventure,’ says Rew. ‘It transforms the landscape around you and how you feel yourself - whatever you get in feeling like, you come out with a feeling a wonder, and deep natural happiness. The more people know or find out about it, the better.’
North Berwick Beach, Edinburgh, Sat 20 Mar, 2pm. See www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com; via www.nairnsnaturalwoman.com