Outdoor writing and outdoor swimming
One of the ways in which my hobbies and my freelance outdoor writing merge is through outdoor swimming. In the depths of the winter however, outdoor swimming can seem like a strange habit. Grey waters replace blue ones, grey clouds smother blue skies and blue beach legs replace tanned limbs. That said, there is plenty of anecdotal, and some research based evidence to suggest that cold water immersion is good for both my mental health and my physical health, so I won’t be stopping any time soon.
Swimming outdoors in cold water is a compelling habit that I really miss (both physically and mentally) when I don’t do it. Here are few signs that you might be in (or perhaps out of) the same cold water swimming boat as me.
You know you’re an outdoor swimmer when…
- You pass a water-logged field on the train and consider pushing the ‘stop’ button in order to get out and sit in the largest, muddy puddle.
- On days when you can’t swim, you feel compelled to turn the shower to cold for a quick, icy blast.
- When studying travel maps, you are only really interested in areas that are coloured blue.
- Your favourite place names contain the words ‘lake’, ‘river’ or ‘pool’ (but perhaps not ‘piddle’).
- You take up jogging so you can get to the water quicker (and warm up when you’ve stayed in too long).
- You develop a repertoire of swimming songs, each with its own corresponding weather conditions.
- When it is raining you get urges to leave your office and stand naked in the garden.
- Upon entry to the water you give the sea a verbal telling off when it splashes up your warm back.
- You laugh as you wrestle with choppy water (and sometimes swallow it as a result).
- You prefer sitting in a cold, fast-flowing river to having a wash in a warm camper van.
Outdoor swimming near you
If you’re not yet an outdoor swimmer and fancy giving it a go, the Outdoor Swimming Society has loads of sensible advice and a very handy wild swimming map. Social media is also a great way to find swimming groups.