The What, Where & Why of Wild Swimming.
by Joel Peart on Aug 17, 2022
Pack away the paddling pool - it’s time to dip your toe into the more adventurous outdoor activity of wild swimming.
Whether you favour the ferocity of the front-crawl or prefer floating around aimlessly, the UK is home to some of the most awe-inspiring wild swimming spots. Take your pick from plunge pools, remote rivers and lavish lakes and make the most of an exhilarating swim in the great outdoors.
Escape your back garden and reel-in the hosepipe, in favour of something a little more spectacular this summer. Just make sure you take advice from Swim England before doing so.
What is Wild Swimming?
Scattered across the length and breadth of Great Britain are spectacularly scenic and secretly secluded natural pools of water and if you choose to swim in one, you will officially be wild swimming.
But it’s also much more than that. Wild swimming is a way of transporting you to another time. A time gone-by when bathing and washing outdoors was a way of life. Free from the constraints of taps and temperature - at the mercy of mother nature herself!
Wild swimming is a chance to reconnect with nature. Imagine it as your very own nature documentary, as your senses absorb the surrounding sights and sounds and succumb you to the sanctuary that is wild swimming.
Why is Wild Swimming Good for You?
Not only are you likely to have to exercise in order to reach your wild swimming destination, swimming itself is arguably one of the most formidable forms of exercise. Bring on those endorphins!
Add to that the fact that you’ll be in the mentally health-benefiting surroundings of the great outdoors, soaking up the sunshine, circulating clean air into your lungs and escaping into an activity that will eliminate any worries, and you can begin to understand the appeal of wild swimming.
Recently, there has been a trend in cold water activities. Adopting the Wim Hof lifestyle isn’t for everyone but cold water swimming can improve circulation, burn calories, boost your immune system, activate endorphins and more. Worth a paddle then?
Where to go Wild Swimming
No matter where you live, you’re never too far away from open water. We’re pretty confident if you do an online search of: ‘wild swimming near me’, you’ll get some blue splodges appearing on the map.
Whatever you call it, be it wild water swimming, open water swimming or free swimming, the UK will unveil all kinds of gems for you to explore. From secret waterfalls and unspoiled lakes to streams that slither through villages and towns, wild swimming is wherever your motive is.
Is Wild Swimming Legal?
More often than not, if it’s illegal to swim there, you will see a notice saying why. Something like the landowners stating trespassing, for instance. Otherwise, most places have a legal right of access to swim. Learn more from the Outdoor Swimming Society.
Wild Swimming Clothing
What we really wanted to ask here is, when it comes to taking a dip, is clothing necessary? There’s something invigorating about ditching the swimwear in favour of an o’natural outfit isn’t there? So, why not embrace it?
Plus, it may be that you haven’t accounted for an impromptu wild swimming opportunity and did not pack your swimsuit. It’d be a shame not to seize the moment.
It’s afterwards, when you’re cold and wet, where wild swimming attire comes in. Your wild swimming gear needs minimum chafe to keep you comfy and thermal qualities to keep you warm.
Once you’ve dried off from your dip, slipping back into these fleece-lined thermal trousers will give you instant gratification. Like a fluffy towel fresh from the tumble dryer.
Also, if you can relate to trying to slide into trousers whilst your legs are still a little wet, the struggle is real. ACAI assistance comes in the form of the elastication at the back and ankle, for a more swift, less stuck experience.
Take a closer look, for further fabulous features that make these thermal trousers the ideal wild swimming accompaniment.
The natural benefits of wool make the Merino Tee soft and lightweight, resulting in less rubbing and chafe against your swim-softened skin.
Another plus point is its breathability to allow air-flow and the regulation of temperature after an energy induced wild swim. Oh, and it’s also hypoallergenic, allowing you to relax, safe in the comfort of a t-shirt you can trust.
If you’ve ever spent too long in the water, it’s your feet and fingers that wrinkle and soften like a prune. Therefore, it’s important to look after them. On this occasion, more so your feet, as you’ll likely be tramping back from, or beyond, the wild swimming spot you found.
What better way to say to your feet that you love them than a pair of super soft, warm and cosy woollen socks?
Designed with comfort in mind, the chunky construction provides natural shock absorption whilst less bulk along pinch points enhances the fit and reduces blistering over long distances.
You know when you just need an extra layer? Something you can sling on and instantly feel at home with? That’s what we call the Boyfriend Hoodie.
Made for the outdoors, perks include a shower resistant hood and shoulders and wool for warmth. Ideal for after a wild swim at dusk, when walking back down the open hillsides.
Pop it in your backpack and make a note of the where, when and what of your wild swimming adventure.
ACAI partnered with KAPDAA to make recyclable and sustainable notebooks covered with pre-loved Skinny Outdoor trousers. A great gift for your wild swimming teammates or as a keep-sake to document your own journey.
Wild Swimming Safety
ACAI always encourages safe adventures. Do your due diligence before embarking on a wild swimming adventure, especially if you have little or no experience of water.
You can always check local websites for tides, river flow and safe entry points. Water quality is also worth considering.
Try to take a friend, particularly if you’re swimming in an unfamiliar spot. Never go out of your depth and take the time to study the RNLI website for extra tips and knowledge. If then, you decide it’s not for you, get the paddling pool back out!