Photographer Anna Deacon talks about five favourite images from her new book

Taking The Plunge. Image: Anna Deacon

Taking the Plunge tells the story of why wild swimming has become such a well being phenomenon through interviews with and breath-taking photos of the people who do it.

Photographer Anna Deacon and writer Vicky Allan, both keen wild swimmers, were intrigued by the fact that so many people came to the water for personal health or emotional reasons and decided to document this through their images and words.

Taking the Plunge: The Healing Power of Wild Swimming for Mind, Body and Soul comes out on 7th November and is available for pre-order now.

Wardie Bay, Edinburgh

Taking the Plunge. Image: Anna Deacon
‘We realised that so many women we were meeting have struggled with body confidence, but outdoor swimming was really helping them discover an inner strength and a new found pride in their bodies. We teamed up with a Body Confidence coach and organised an International Womens’s Day swim in March. We had over 70 women from aged 18 up to 70 something, and we all came together at sunrise, enjoyed a marvellous swim, cake and coffee. Many people came alone, and left with new friends. It was a remarkable event that felt utterly inclusive and heart warming. We really hope to do this again next year and maybe get other swim groups around the world to do one too.’

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh

Taking the Plunge. Image: Anna Deacon
‘This was taken at Portobello beach in Edinburgh on one of our regular Sunday swims. For me it sums up the playful element of outdoor swimming, we have fun every single time. It doesn’t matter if the water is millpond still or huge rolling waves, harsh and cold wind, or sunny and calm, there is always fun to be had. Nothing brings out the child in you like playing in the sea!’

Yellow Craig Beach, East Lothian

Taking the Plunge. Image: Anna Deacon
‘We had many sunrise and sunset shoots this year, it is one of my absolute favourite times to photograph swimmers. There is something otherworldly and mystical about getting to the water in the dark and watching the sun come up as you swim. The colour of the water and the sky on a morning like this is like being inside a wonderful painting, just absolutely unbeatable.’

Uath Lochan

Taking the Plunge. Image: Anna Deacon
‘Smashing the ice to swim was such fun this year, this particular shot was taken in the Cairngorms in January and although the water was 0.5c, the air was perfectly still and the sun shone so it really didn’t feel as cold as it looked. It was just so much fun, I jumped in too right after this photo and found moving the huge chunks of ice strangely meditative.’

Raa Falls, Isle of Skye

Taking the Plunge. Image: Anna Deacon
‘This sums up the fun we had on this adventure. Vicky leaping into a waterfall on Skye with the most wonderful expression of joy on her face, I took this shot whilst balanced precariously on a rock in the water trying to shout to her to wait until I was ready but my voice was lost in the pounding noise of the waterfall.’