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How to get into Wild Swimming in 5 steps with Calum the Middle Brother of the Wild Swimming Brothers

How-toSimon Pearce
Calum, Robbie, Jack post Saltstraumen Swim - Credit to Erlend Bodo Nu (1).jpg

After a year of keeping it under wraps, The Wild Swimming Brothers are delighted to be able to share their book with you. Swim Wild is about the brothers' childhood spent in nature and more recent wild swimming adventures together, from travelling into the Arctic Circle, swimming across the two most powerful maelstroms in the world (Saltstraumen and Moskstraumen), to spending nine days swimming the length of our childhood river, the Eden, in Cumbria. 

Calum (the middle brother!) shares his 5 steps to getting into wild swimming.

1. Release your inner child

Cast your mind back if you can to being a little kid on your first holiday to the beach, or to your childhood home, your nearest river or lake and remember that feeling of being a kid and jumping into wild water. Almost all children when presented with the sea or a lake will run into the water, splash in the shallows and revel in the aquatic world. Remember that the joy of wild swimming is something that has always been there and that it was something you lost as you became an adult.

2. Rivers as Roads

Get a map of your local area out and start to look for your nearest local rivers, flip your mentality and look at them as routes to be travelled down rather than crossed over in a car. Follow them inland to the source and plot a natural journey. It's time to reclaim natures natural thoroughfares and view them as the route for your next adventure. River swimming has a special place in our hearts and no adventure in the UK can quite match a source to sea river swim in terms of variety and altering your perspective.

3. Bring Your Friends

Like climbing and many outdoor sports, you shouldn't really ever swim outdoors alone so make sure you invite your friends and family along, the more the merrier. We would always recommend going in a group, it's safer and more fun and especially for your first proper outdoor swim an absolute must.

4. The two EE's

Once you've picked your location (Use the OSS Swim Map) and got a group of friends and your basic swimming equipment (nothing more than some goggles and a swimsuit :) swim cap if you're feeling pro) you're ready to recce your swim spot. The first two basic elements are entry and exit, carefully plan where you will be getting in and where you will be finishing your swim, this is especially important for sea swimming and river swimming. Things to pay attention to are water debris, floating logs or submerged trees, the speed of the water (the old poo sticks test should give you a good indication) and any boats. Once you have your double E sorted you're good to go.

5. Embrace your senses

I would say this is the key element to wild swimming. It's not a competitive sport, you're not racing anyone, it's not about speed or time or any macho nonsense. It's about reconnecting with the natural world and immersing yourself in the aquatic realm, so be sure to;

  1. Feel the cold embrace of the water and focus on the prickly sensation on your skin as your fingers carve through the surface and embrace the cold
  2. Dive below the waves and look deep into the watery world below you, look out for any fish or wildlife and take amount to surface, lie on your back and look up at the sky
  3. Take in the smells, if you're in the sea the waft of a salty breeze and the scent of the ocean on the air or the brackish smell of an estuary and the deep earthen boggy smell of a crater lake.
  4. Taste the water and embrace the natural and earthen taste of fresh water
  5. Listen to the gurgles and rumbles of the waves, the popping of bubbles as your breath underwater and the murmurs of the world below the surface.

If you need anymore tips or advice on going for your first wild swim or planning a wild swimming expedition then please get in touch here