Waterlog Reswum

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“We sat facing other in rows, like labourers being driven to work in the back of a transit van, or nude commuters in the tube. Steam rises up from beneath, through the wooden slats.” Keeley and I had arrived at Ironmonger Row Baths on a fresh-feeling Saturday lunch time, our swimming kit tucked neatly into a tote bag. After a few cold water swims in the days previous, I thought it might… Read More

“I went in the next day with two or three dozen early-morning regulars, and for a glorious moment, during some lull in the proceedings, I had the entire sixty-seven yards of water to myself. The solitude lasted for a single blissful length.” Having made hard work of the bike ride up Haverstock Hill, followed by a bumbling attempt to enter via the exit gate, the water of Parliament Hill Lido comes as… Read More

“I had come down the path along the disintegrated cliffs from the magnificent ruined church at Covehithe. Each year, the path moves further inland across the fields because great hunks of England keep falling away in the winter storms.” A hazy spring sun hangs out to sea as we pull up by the ruins of Covehithe church. A coastal breeze is whipping up the sunken road, where a sign warns us ‘No… Read More

“Swimming without a roof over your head is now a mildly subversive activity, like having an allotment, insisting on your right to walk a footpath, or riding a bicycle.” It’s now almost four months since I swam the Waveney, the brisk wind and biting cold keeping me out of open water. And despite my best intentions (set out right on this blog no less) and the purchase of a rather natty wetsuit,… Read More

It’s almost three months now since I braved the waters of the Waveney and took my last swim in the strokes of Roger Deakin. In that time it’s gone from damp to wet to bone-crushingly cold and back to wet again. My plans to swim through the winter have been disappointingly disrupted through a combination of endlessly rubbish weather, a lack of a decent wetsuit and, basically, my being a baby about… Read More

“I was swimming ten miles from the moat, where the Waveney defines the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. It is a secret river, by turns lazy and agile, dashing over shallow beds of golden gravel, then suddenly quiet, dignified and deep.” Nowhere on my nascent journey swimming the rivers, lakes and lidos of Waterlog has been so dominated by the air of pilgrimage as my trip to the Waveney. Leaving Liverpool Street… Read More

“I had ridden here under my own steam, and here I was in the centre of London gazing up at the stars in the utmost luxury of a heated outdoor pool. It seemed the height of civilisation. yet this was no exclusive private pool; with a Leisure Card from Camden Council, you could get in for £1.” I usually associate London swimming with slowly easing myself into cold water and a post-workout… Read More

“Burton Bradstock is clearly a place where locals like to come, planning a day around its simple attractions: the beach, the bathing, a spot of fossil hunting, the shelter of the cliffs, the exceptionally good cafe, the odd frisbee, a magazine, or perhaps a book.” The water of Lyme Bay is wheezing heavily as we plunge our feet into the shingle of the beach at Burton Bradstock. The waves roll in almost… Read More

“I went out along the jetty to the pond. It is deep, up to twenty feet, and the water is green, smooth and cold. It is entirely natural, and samples are regularly tested for purity. It was icy cold, and I swam fast in a big circle round the buoys the lifeguards use to moor rowing boat, past an unconcerned coot or two, and back to the ladder, feeling what they call… Read More

“Marshall Street is one of the most beautiful indoor pools in the country. Since swimming is the most popular participation sport in Britain, it seemed astonishing to me that London could still be losing valuable and much-loved public pool like this from public ownership.” So wrote Roger Deakin on his visit to Marshall Street Baths to compete in a game of water polo and speak with locals about Westminster Council’s plans to… Read More