OSS’ Owen Hayman talks reservoir swimming on BBC Radio

26th April, 2019

Campaigner for the OSS, Owen Hayman, shared his love of outdoor swimming in a recent BBC Radio Sheffield discussion on getting out into the wild.

Owen lives and swims in the area once known as ‘Sheffield Lakeland’, due to its many functioning reservoir lakes. “In our area of Yorkshire, we’re finding the areas of reservoirs away from the wall, tower and overflow are some of the safest, most beautiful and accessible swim spots,” said Owen.

Many reservoir sites don’t allow swimming, but this is something Owen believes should be challenged: “To be invited to speak on daytime BBC local radio about something that is against civil law, to explain the situation and raise the profile of our message, is invaluable,” he said.

Reservoir swimming is often viewed as reckless in England and Wales,” explained Owen, “yet it is legal in Scotland and many other European countries.” He added: “In Norway and Sweden it’s very common to see a diving board on functioning reservoirs.”

Owen hopes reservoirs will welcome swimmers in the future. “We want to engage with water companies, so people can be informed to make safe decisions for themselves. Instead of seeing these man-made lakes as dangerous industrial sites, we want to make the most of reservoirs as opportunities to bring people and the landscape together, for the health of our minds and bodies and wildlife,” he said.

Liz Lowe

Listen to Owen Hayman on BBC Radio Sheffield here (the feature starts at 1:08:40, Owen is introduced at 1:14:13 and his interview continues at around 1:20:00, after an appropriate musical interlude for Wild Boys by Duran Duran).

Read more on reservoir swimming here.

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