Welcome to Waterlog Reswum
It’s two years since I first picked up Waterlog by Roger Deakin, having devoured Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places and become intrigued by Deakin’s impish love of the great outdoors in his cameos in that book. I’d only recently taken to going for dips in cold, outdoor spots, largely at Hampstead Mixed Ponds or Tooting Bec Lido, then just a 10 minute walk from my home.
But after racing through Waterlog, I became obsessed with wild swimming. I was addicted to, as Deakin described it, “…the absolute freedom and wildness that comes with the sheer liberation of nakedness as well as weightlessness in natural water.” The “subversiveness” of wild swimming of which Deakin spoke, was also hugely appealing. There’s something indescribably exhilarating about stopping on a river bank and sliding into the murky waters while others look on in shock.
And so, that brings me to Waterlog Reswum. Having been travelling around Asia for six months at the start of 2012, thinking often of how swimming outdoors differs so greatly in tropical climes and aching for some cold water, I came up with the idea of revisiting every swimming spot in Waterlog.
The idea is simple: to be “in nature” as Roger says, but also to see how these places have changed since Waterlog was first conceived in 1996. How has the surge in wild swimming’s popularity changed people’s perceptions and what new environmental concerns are there over a decade on from Waterlog‘s publication?
From the Great Ouse at Ely, to the ferocious Gulf of Corryvreckan, I’ll be donning my swimming shorts and reporting back from around the UK. And if you want to get involved and join me, you can. You can find us on Twitter @WaterlogReswum, Facebook at facebook.com/WaterlogReswum or you can email us at email@example.com
Now if you’re ready, let’s go swimming.
Joe Minihane, Editor
Being an Ey resident and keen on an outdoor swim,looking forward to your Ely adventure. Will it be in Ely or Denver Sluice? I admit I’ve not swam in the Ouse in Ely. Inhibited from just slipping in I’m afraid.
Hi Jo. I’m yet to decide, but it’s one I really want to do next spring. The Ely section of Waterlog is possibly my favourite bit of the book. As long as I don’t get nipped by any eels!
Great idea and I look forward to further reports. In the book Roger mentions the Swimming Song by Loudon Wainwright and in various other blogs on the general subject of British rivers and watery things Nick Drake’s River Man often features. Yesterday I found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4QQ7HYYdWw&feature=related and now I can’t get it out of my head. Good look with your endeavours.