A Journal of West Country Waters
Lynne Roper, Edited by Tanya Shadrick
Beautiful, ballsy, invigorating, honest: Wild Woman Swimming is a country diary for our generation, sure to stir the heart of a wide audience: swimmers, nature lovers, and anyone who wonders whether there is a degree more by which they could live by their own rules.
Between 2011 and 2016 Lynne Roper wild swam (and blogged) with a passion, mostly around Dartmoor, playing a large role in the creation of the Devon wild swimming community and the Outdoor Swimming Society. She died of a brain tumour in 2016 and before her death asked Tanya Shadrick to edit her journals and put her words out there for a bigger audience.
This book is the result. Highly recommended by the Outdoor Swimming Society. This is nature writing like no other: evocative, ballsy, fresh, funny and real.
“This is a tangible book. It’s as alive as weather. She does the opposite of what we often get from nature writing: she absolutely roots it in ordinary experience. Lynne doesn’t fanny around elevating it all into something purposefully transcendent. Instead, she draws the branch down towards us, so we can easily grab the apples. Rocks are ‘layered and striped in shades of bruise’. Swimming through a tricky rock arch, she says ‘we were all high as teenagers at a rave’. She encounters rocks the texture of ‘fossilized Cadbury’s Flakes’. Her descriptions are vivid, but they’re familiar, and often domestic. She’s used the prosaic normal detail of our lives to describe landscape and nature, and the effect is something higher, a kind of magic.”
Jenny Landreth, Caught By the River (read the full review)
“It’s nature writing like no other. Lynne manages to evoke her moorland home of ancient woods and timeless water and weather, to conjure up a world that seems so far apart from our sanitised modern experiences, at the same time as throwing in lines like ‘as high as teenagers at a rave’ or ‘felt like I’d had six pints of scrumpy’ that are so real and refreshing, so not of the modern cult of nature writing, you feel as liberated and happy as if you’d had a cold swim yourself (and then got out to find a free world in which feminism and anti-ageism had won their battles overnight.). She’s brave and daring. Anyone who thinks Roger Deakin was wild will need to recalibrate…. A fantastic life-enriching, spirit boosting read.”
Kate Rew, OSS Director
“I thought Roger Deakin was bold and fearless, but Lynne’s swimming adventures are truly wild. A fantastic and exciting read.”
Imogen Radford, OSS Team
Editor Tanya Shadrick on the book’s creation: Wild Woman Swimming.
208 page paperback book. Published by Selkie Press. ISBN-10: 1527221989 ISBN-13: 978-1527221987