Wild swimming spots

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  • Anywhere good in Hertfordshire?

  • Developers still do it frequently

  • Tonight's location outside Amsterdam. Het Twiske.


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  • I'm planning on swimming here tomorrow, it's shallow in places, and is pretty overgrown, lots of fallen trees and banks of gravel.
    About as close to a wild river as I can find within a walk from my house.
    I'll swim downstream about a mile I guess, with the dogs running along the bank.
    I've been mulling it over in my head for a long time, and if it's a nice swim I'll set up a group of mates to join me one sunny day.
    (using "what three words" the start spot is barks.sits.joins. !!)


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  • Rickmansworth Lakes is north-ish. Haven't been there yet but Hartham Common is meant to be nice. That's near Hetford. The wild swimming guide app is pretty good for locations.

  • What app is that?

  • Ah it's called Wild Swimming Britain but it's the app from the Wild Guides series of books. It's not amazing for London but gave me dozens of gems for the SW. Wish there were more spots in easy riding distance from central London. Sometimes I just can't be bothered to do 60km for a swim hahaha.

  • Ah perfect. I'd already bought a few of their books for Devon and Scotland... seems like they have a lot of apps with different numbers of locations. Kinda weird, they should just make one with all of them, but they appear to be curated by different authors so oh well.

  • I find the idea of Hartham common as a nice wild swimming spot weird, I grew up round there and Hartham was where we went to smoke joints and drink 20/20 when we were teenagers... Don't recall the water looking lovely but have almost definitely jumped in some parts of it at some point and lived to tell the tale.

  • Agree, it's a bit of a mess and mildly irritating to have to buy multiple things. Feel free to message me for future Devon tips! (South Hams, Dartmoor and East Cornwall too)

  • Ha, oh god. A friend wants to go there tomorrow! One man's treasure, etc...

  • I'm a Roydon boy, but living in Hertford now. I swim at Hartham 2/3 times a week. On a sat morning there are about 20 people in the water even now in October, 'rona has got everyone cold water swimming.


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  • Hey
    What’s everyone’s experiences of cold water wetsuits? I seem to find myself in a lot of situations (Few times in Scotland, further south in colder times of year) where my desire to swim is trumped by ffin cold water. Any dos and don’ts? Any recommended products currently available? Do I just buy the relatively expensive suit in Decathlon (£179)?

    I note that the late Roger Deakin said he just used hat, gloves & boots in cold water. I have tried doing likewise, this year in Kintyre (hat wasn’t a neoprene one, just a basic rubber job) and found gloves and shoes some comfort but bloody weird to swim in.

    Also, this year, did my first skinny dip since childhood, at a nudie beach after a long hot day ride. Was AWESOME.

  • he just used hat, gloves & boots in cold water

    Strong look, didn't his knob get cold?

  • Well, all wetsuits are cold water wetsuits, aren't they? Swimming wetties are thinner so you can swim in them, but as you're swimming, you don't need them to be thicker. £179 seems a fair price for a semi-decent wetsuit, and Decathlon stuff is usually pretty good (can't see anything on their website at that price point though).

    I've used thin gloves in the past, primarily for safety when swimming alone and needing to get up ladders, and they were decent, also have shoes for rocky swims. They are a bit to swim in weird initially, but make a very big difference in how tolerable the cold is. Never used a neoprene hat, but friends tell me they're a major help. Getting the head down is always the hardest part.

  • Touché.

    I didn’t ask, I read his book when he’d already DIED. You bastard.

  • Thanks for encouragement. I think I will invest in something.

    all wetsuits are cold water wetsuits, aren't they?

    Some have diff thicknesses of neoprene. There’s one that’s rated for water at 18-22C or something. Tropical! I need something a bit warmer than that.

  • Nah, just need to swim faster.

  • I really am not that bad at getting into coldish water. But North sea at Suffolk between Oct and May I’m finding really hard for more than a minute or two. Agree swimming hard makes a huge difference.

  • Skully, I just bought a £90 one on Wiggle and it’s been ok. Have used it a dozen times in the last couple of months and it seems to be holding up fine. DHB something or other.

  • Strong look, didn't his knob get cold?

    Maybe he didn't put his deak in?

  • I have my first winter swim booked in for Sunday at a lake near me. I’ve been training in cold baths and showers for a few months now and really enjoying it... sort of. Think I’ll wear a summer wetsuit this time but hoping to do some skins sessions over the winter.

  • Cheers for info Sparky. You been in at BPP this week? My pal not on here, an awesome person called Laura posted pics ... she’s Finnish and hard as nails, only wears a shorty wetsuit...

  • I’ve been ropstraining in cold baths and showers for a few months now and really enjoying it... sort of.

    Nice one. I’ve carried on cold showering into winter this year (always do in summer when I get properly overheated, start shower warm then very incrementally reduce temp)...
    But what I haven’t experienced is what I call ‘the burn’, when after a minute or two of the shock of cold water you get this fiery sensation on your skin - suddenly I feel utterly amazing and can then stay in swimming for some time. If I can’t take the level of cold before that sets in, I chicken out.

    Maybe with the showers I just need to stay in longer ... brrrr

  • I’ve been swimming in a lake in skins two or three times a week since the summer. That burn comes a moment after getting in, it is quite something, water was 8 degrees on Wednesday morning so it was fairly profound. Anything below about 15 triggers it in me.
    If I’m in for more than 10 minutes at the moment the after drop when I get out is pretty profound too, and I take ages to warm up. It’s ok though, I just dress nice and warm and sit and drink soup and coffee and let the shivering subside.
    The lake is a nice place to sit quietly contemplating life.
    Once the shivering has passed and I start to walk home my limbs thaw out and even my notoriously cold feet have got feeling in them. And I feel euphoric for most of the day. Highly recommended.

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Wild swimming spots

Posted by Avatar for platypus @platypus

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