If you have clicked on the “about” tab on my blog, you’ll have seen a picture of me up to my neck in a Dales river… This is a not uncommon occurrence! From being a teenager I have loved pratting about in streams and rivers (or the sea when near enough), but haven’t practiced it as much as I would have liked till the last few summers.
My job involves driving around the Yorkshire Dales delivering bags for people on long distance walks for a firm called Brigantes run by a friend of ours. My time is pretty flexible, so if I can plan a day where a lunch stop, coffee stop or my last drop is near a river – I’m in! This summer has been far and away the best year ever for wild swims and I am struggling to remember all the different locations I have been in. With a combination of Facebook, a couple of books by Daniel Start (“Wild Swimming” and the “Wild Guide to the Lakes and Dales”) and also word of mouth, I’ve found some glorious hidden gems to have a dip in and have been in several times a week since mid May. To try and capture the appeal of wild swimming, I made this short film from a swimmer’s point of view.
In June, I treated myself to a cheapish GoPro type action camera (Crosstour 4k wifi – if you are interested) with a waterproof housing and have made several daft videos of my exploits in various locations over the summer, posting them on FB and Youtube. After one such video, I was told that I must be a Yorkshire Dales Waterfall inspector given how many I seemed to be posting about… I liked the tag, so it stuck!
My intention is to try and keep going as long as possible into the winter with my watery escapades, and avoid the wetsuit as much as possible… the sense of freedom from “swimming skins” (wild swimming slang for ‘nowt but trunks or cossie) is tremendous. As the water gets colder, the initial shock of getting into frigid water soon passes and the euphoric feeling afterwards lasts for ages. Here is a recent video from a dusk dip in nearby Janet’s Foss –