In recent years, particularly since Covid, Wild Swimming has gained a significant increase in popularity. And it’s no wonder really, it’s a fantastically rewarding experience.

If you know me, you’ll know I make no secret of my love for wild swimming, it’s a real passion of mine. I swim out in nature as much as I can!

How it all began

Way back when, we as a family decided to try our hands at ‘stand up paddle boarding’ (SUP). Well, as you probably guessed, there was more falling in than there was standing up.  

As we took turns on our boards, I found myself swimming more and more. As much as the paddle boarding was great fun, there was something about being immersed in the water out in nature that really spoke to me. I felt alive!

I started to swim more frequently and my love for it simply grew. 

Later in the year when the cold weather inevitably came, I avoided swimming for fear of hypothermia and not understanding the waters. I genuinely missed it a lot.  

Then in March 2019 I did my Wim Hof Fundamentals training. And ended the day in an ice bath! 

If you’ve not heard of the Wim Hof Method, I urge you to check it out.

So, I’m a great believer that if you can do something once then you know you can do it. Therefore you can do it again and again. And if I can survive an ice bath then I can certainly handle swimming in cold water.   

Sadly though, drownings are more common in cold water. This is because the shock makes you take a sharp intake of breath and if that goes in your lungs, and you don’t need much, you drown. So safety and caution are paramount. And of course, training for the activity is absolutely the best way to go about it.  

Once my Wim Hof fundamentals training was complete, I was competent in the water and confident – so there was no stopping me.  

I swam regularly throughout the winter and I’ve not stopped since. Admittedly winter is less about swimming and more about cold water therapy. It’s all about the immersive experience regardless.  

And a little known fact – wild swimmers tend to be rather obsessed with cake!

“Wild swimmers tend to be rather obsessed with cake!”

All the gear

My Hubster does mock me that for a free hobby I do buy a lot of gear…

The essentials include: 

  • Hammam towels (much easier to dry than traditional towels and they take up less space)
  • Tow float (for visibility in the water and doubles as a dry bag for belongings
  • Swim shoes 

And in the winter, the kit grows:

  • Hot water bottles
  • Spare shoes
  • Flask
  • Snacks!
  • Dry robe
  • Neoprene gloves & hat
  • & more at times! 


You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned a wetsuit. That’s because I’m a ‘skins’ swimmer. Not to be confused with skinny dipping! 

The truth is I can’t be bothered with trying to get the darn wetsuit on or off, packing it at all or getting it dry after. There is enough faffing getting changed at a riverside or beach as it is.  Particularly after a cold water swim when you have to change quickly. I’m also not a fan of the extra buoyancy a wet suit gives you.

However I am considering wearing one this coming winter just so I can swim for longer in the cold temperatures. Otherwise, my winter swims tend to be Chunky Dunks! Which is fine for cold water immersion but not for physical exercise.

“I’m a ‘skins’ swimmer. Not to be confused with skinny dipping!”

My why 

Like many of us, I have fond childhood memories of weeks at the beach or by lakes and rivers on holidays.  

For me, my childhood and water represented such freedom. Even now (as demonstrated on a recent trip to Spain to meet a friend) the waves have me jumping around like a loon in complete joy.

In my early 20’s I took swimming lessons to improve my technique. At my fittest I would swim a mile at my local pool a few times a week before work.

Swimming itself has always been a kind of meditation for me. I find myself a rhythm and I can just keep going. I’m not fast but I’m in full flow when I swim. Fully immersed in the moment. 

“I’m in full Flow when I swim. Fully immersed in the moment.”

The positives (from a personal point of view)

I didn’t originally come to cold water swimming because of the health benefits, they’re simply an added bonus! 

For me it’s about connection on so many levels. Connection with nature, the energetic cleansing of the water, a mindfulness practice, natural headspace away from electronics and the demands of life.  

Another massive positive has been the people I’ve met. They come from all walks of life in all sorts of shapes and sizes and they’re always friendly.

And water has a psychologically restorative effect. Water is immersive. Observing our environment we are cognitively getting back in touch with our historical heritage. 

There’s much positive research around the benefits of ‘blue space’ as well as ‘green space’ but with blue space you really can immerse one’s whole self. 

“With blue space you can really immerse one’s whole self.”

Enjoying the ice-filled Cool Pool at Wim Hof Fundamentals training.

I’m a true Capricorn; known to be very Earthy but what many don’t know is that the Capricorn Goat is a Sea Goat! So the top half (being goat) that can navigate rough mountain terrain and the bottom half (being the fish tail) oh so comfortable in the mysterious deep sea. 

The combination of Earth and Water means us Caps are both grounded and practical as well as sensitive and creative; we are just savvy and don’t let everyone see that side to us.

So really, it all makes perfect sense!  

Enjoying the ice-filled Cool Pool at Wim Hof Fundamentals training.

If you are interested in Wild Swimming I recommend you take a look at this website

In theory the best time to start is in Autumn, when the water is warmer and then you can acclimatise as the temperature drops gradually.

It’s been life changing for me, and I’d encourage everyone to give it a go.