Twelve months ago I was introduced to someone online after posting about the idea of me getting in the water (around the time we had all that glorious weather). There were a few emails back and forth, with me explaining that I don’t want to train for long distance swims or even swim properly. I just wanted to give it a shot. Rosie gave me lots of reassurance that I would be fine and I would enjoy it and left the ball in my court. Fast forward a few months and our paths cross whilst I am working at Crieff Highland Gathering and we chat about it once more.
Then radio silence by me for no other reason than it was just something else on my list that I would get around to. Nearly a year passes without any more chat between Rosie and I about this until we both comment on a post on Facebook. Before I know it I’m saying “and I still need to take you up on the offer of coming swimming with you” to which she replied “I’m going on Thursday, join me.” So I did.
It’s only been six weeks since I tentatively dipped my toes into the water for my first dip in a loch. Already it feels like this has been a part of me and my life for so much longer. I am enveloped in the feel good factor, achievement and energy that come before. during and after any of my swims.
Even when I am not in the water I find myself working out when I can get my next fix. I have launched myself into YouTube wormholes watching vlogs and videos about outdoor swimming. I’ve joined more Facebook groups than I can count and read numerous blog posts, all with a different perspective.
I’ve decided to share with you five reasons why I enjoy wild swimming.
Five reasons I enjoy wild swimming
In the busy world of social media and it’s pressures to be constantly updating stories and posts, whilst I am in the water I can forget about all that.
I’m not worrying or thinking about anything in particular – not the next load of laundry or even what is for dinner (that’s a strange concept for me). All of this isn’t even a conscious thing that I do, it just somehow happens. All my worries and stresses are left on the shoreline.
I have met some really lovely people in the last few weeks, all of whom have been welcoming and supportive. My very first dip I was joined with five other ladies who all have their own stories about why they do it.
There is something about getting over that initial cold shock as you dunk your shoulders under the water for the first time. The one that makes you squeal with some sort of childish delight mixed with a hint of sadistic pleasure. Every. Single. Time.
There is a feeling of belonging and an affinity with nature whilst I am in the water. Eye level with ducks, they are quite happy to glide passed me when I’m swimming. This last few weeks I’ve had close up encounters with ducklings swimming along with their mum and also Great Crested Grebes. Neither particularly phased by my presence.
The movement of the water is mesmerising. Watching the ripples is one of my favourite things.
I’m far from being a Mermaid status swimmer but it feels calming and natural to be in the water.
So far I have only swam in two places but I have found myself looking at waterways differently. Places where we have walked by plenty of times and now leave me wishing I brought my costume and a towel.
I love planning our road trips. Checking out foodie hot spots, view points and walks but I have already started adding in places to swim now too. So there is an added sense of adventure to my long term plans of exploring Scotland more thoroughly.
For me there is also an element of the unknown. When things brush passed my legs and I haven’t got a clue what it is. Trying not to freak out thinking that Nessie’s long lost cousin is about to devour my left leg!
Immediately after my first swim I knew that I would want to do it again (and I did, the following day). So I bought a lightweight changing robe and a bigger dry bag to carry my kit in too.
I have followed accounts and hashtags on Instagram, joined Facebook groups and watched countless “How to” videos on YouTube. Friends have messaged me with documentaries or short films on iPlayer or Netflix (please do the same if you have any suggestions) too.
Something else I have found myself doing is ending my shower with a cold water blast. Not quite the same, but something is better than nothing.
With all of these positive outcomes, I am wondering why the hell I didn’t do it sooner. Why didn’t I take the plunge last year during the hottest summer Scotland has seen for many years? It’s my own fault that I missed out but I’m really pleased that I can now share with you five reasons why I enjoy wild swimming.
Even after much cajoling it seems the Dude won’t be joining me in my watery adventures (least not the ones IN the water). He mentioned something about he would rather stick pins in his eyes, very extreme but I won’t push him just in case.
I am also lucky enough to have been gifted items to keep me safe and warm by Glasgow based Lomo Watersport. I am currently using the tow float and changing robe and will be writing about them soon.
My plan is to keep it up and try and go through the winter months too. I don’t want to go down the wetsuit route, so if that means I am in the water for just five minutes, then so be it.
Here is a quick video of my first time in the water.