A hundred years ago, swimming in natural waters and lidos was all the rage, with outdoor swimming clubs with enthusiastic members to be found all over Britain and children learnt to swim in swimming holes before moving onto swimming baths. After the second world war, however, more comfortable lifestyles, chlorinated pools and polluted waters contributed to a steep decline in public interest as more and more people began to flock to municipal pools.
As the 20th century moved on and the average Brit lived an increasingly sedentary lifestyle in comfort and warmth, enthusiasm for wild swimming waned significantly. However, over the last few years, wild swimming has received something of a resurgence, as swimmers once again embrace the great outdoors and the wonders of mother nature, eschewing the unnatural confines of the chlorinated swimming pool.
Wild swimming clubs are cropping up around the UK once more, offering members the chance to explore our natural rivers, lakes, coves, waterfalls and coasts, finding hidden gems along the way. As for the pollution from industry that blighted our waters in the middle of the last century, our waters are now as clean as they've ever been, according to the Environment Agency, after a massive clean up in the 1970s and tougher regulations on industry were enforced.
Natural, healthy, free and fun...
Wild swimming gives participants the chance to feel connected to nature whilst keeping fit. It's a fantastic way to both exercise and enjoy seeing interesting wildlife, filling your senses with the sights, sounds and scents of the great outdoors.
Not only is wild swimming great for body and mind, it's also free. There are plenty of local wild swimming clubs that offer a wealth of information on outdoor swimming including safety tips, maps and details of local meet ups. It's strongly advisable to check out how safe the water is you're thinking of swimming in before you set off.
This is the perfect time of year to get involved, with summer in the air and nature at its most spectacular, so why not grab your swimsuit and get down to your nearest outdoor swimming spot. After you've braved the cold water once and experienced the natural high that comes with a cold water plunge, there's a good chance you'll be well and truly hooked.
Wild Swimming http://www.wildswimming.co.uk/
The Outdoor Swimming Society http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/