Sports book review: Wild Swimming: 300 Hidden dips in the rivers, lakes and waterfalls of Britain
By Daniel Start
Sportsbookofthemonth.com price: £10.87, saving 36% on rrp
A couple of hours into a country walk on a hot day when laden with a small rucksack that’s beginning to weigh a little too heavily, is there a more welcoming moment than happening upon a clear, shallow river, the water gushing rapidly over naturally contoured, dapple coloured rocks?
The sight is immediately refreshing, the simple act of staring sufficient to ease the rucksack’s load. It’s a moment to stop and appreciate the beauty directly in front of you and, if you’re feeling daring, to untie those sweaty boots, dispense with itchy socks and soak reddened, sock-indented feet in crisp, cool water. No towel? No matter – your feet will dry soon enough.
Such a relaxing prospect conjures up images of hot, balmy summer days spent beside a crystal clear river, possibly adjacent to a pub where one can enjoy some lunch, accompanied by a pint of warm beer.
Yet many believe this is a vision of a long-since disappeared Britain. Surely our internal rivers, streams and lakes are far too polluted to even contemplate dipping one’s toes in a cold river. And what about the ‘healf n’ safety’ implications?
Daniel Start’s Wild Swimming completely destroys such notions and even advocates going a step further than removing shoes and socks and actually taking the plunge – yes, swimming in a river!
In fact, the author has assembled a list of several hundred lakes, rivers and waterfalls dotted around the country where it’s perfectly safe to take a spontaneous dip.
Recognising that wild swimming doesn’t necessarily need to be a spontaneous activity, Start complements this with information for families and offers several suggestions for those who may prefer to combine their wild swimming with camping, boating or simply a walk to a county pub. His photography alone deserves a wider audience.
I suspect this book will continue to be revised and updated (as this version is) as folks increasingly appreciate there’s something defiantly mischievous in swimming with trout or otters, discovering underwater caves and Faerie Pools. If so, Daniel Stark will deserve enormous credit for encouraging us to rediscover our nation’s natural beauty.
We’ve teamed up with Sports Book of the Month & have two copies of Wild Swimming to give away.
To win this week’s sports book, go to their website ( www.sportsbookofthemonth.com ) and answer the following question:
What is the name of Scotland’s longest loch?