People often ask me, ‘where is your favourite place to swim?’. Generally, the one closest to me at the time. Swimming is more forgiving of locations than perhaps walking or climbing: there are generally highly satisfactory, if not stunning, swims to be found very near your back garden. Here are 20 top local swims visited by the OSS team, from Norway to the Southern Hemisphere, one hot weekend in June 2018.
Wherever you swim #sharetheswimlove – please share images, locations and descriptions with other swimmers on the map, Outdoor Swimming Society on Facebook and on insta: #outdoorswimmingsociety #sharetheswimlove and follow us at @theoutdoorswimmingsociety to see what swimmers the world over are up to.
Fifteen of the team shared their locations below, all of whom contribute something to the OSS community year round. If you would like to join the team, please email our volunteer manager Morgan on firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your skillset and how you could get involved.
If you’re looking for a swim, wildswim.com is a worldwide crowd-sourced swim map, with tens of thousands of swimmers using it to find a swim, add descriptions and photos, and create their own “collections” of favourite swims.
The land of the summer people is full of quarry lakes and slow greenish rivers. Following an idyllic evening at Tellisford with friends and children this week, we can’t wait to jump back into a water at any one of our favourite Somerset places except Farleigh, which is closed for weir repairs this week.
Kate Rew is the OSS founder & director. @kate_rew.
Yet another glorious weekend beckons, and I don’t have to go far from where I live in Norfolk to find some beautiful river swims, many in mill pools.
My local is Swanton Morley mill pond, with a big pool, waterfall and rope swing, some white water to splash in below the bridge (pictured), and some stretches of river nearby for long, deep, peaceful swims. The mill pond area is very popular for local families, with picnics, swimming and splashing in the shallow sandy edge of the pool being perfect for children. The farmer allows us to use this lovely area, so please respect it by taking away your litter and don’t light fires or barbecues.
Other favourites are Horstead Mill on the river Bure (a very big mill pool), Ickburgh Mill on the river Wissey, the massively popular St Helen’s Picnic Place (draws large numbers but there’s lots of room in the river with sandy beaches and deeper pools) and the rope swing and tree jump on Outney Meadow on the river Waveney.
All of these are on the Inland Beach collection.
Imogen Radford is a member of the OSS Inland Access Group.
With temperatures reaching into the 30s in the area, there’s no better place to cool off than the crisp water of Lochan Uaine in Glenmore. The name is Gaelic for “Small Green Loch”, and it’s instantly obvious why, the brilliant colour of the water catches the sun throughout the day and is ideal to swim in after a hillwalk, bike ride or stroll through the pine forest. Some people worry about the occasional leeches but they’ve never harmed me!
Calum Maclean is an OSS Ambassador @caldamac
Norway is scorching, but you can easily escape the heat with a dip in a high mountain pool or lake, like Flotevatnet, with it’s icy cold water fed by this year’s snowmelt.
Morgan Jones is the OSS Executive Assistant and runs our instagram.
Has there ever been a better week for British river swimming? This was the question on the riverbank on summer evenings this week. And, in Ella’s case, as she travelled around Dorset, by lakesides, and seasides, and the deck of lidos. This weekend, she’s back home, and off to the Thames.
Ella Foote is the OSS press officer and news editor. @ellachloeswims
PETER HANCOCK IN NSW, AUSTRALIA
It’s mid-winter in New South Wales, and I’ll be escaping the frosty mornings on the Northern Tablelands (-2°C forecast) for a long weekend family visit to the Gold Coast and Lismore. The water along the coast is an exceedingly balmy 21°C. We’ll drop in for a surf at Main Beach, before heading down to the estuary of Station Creek (we found a humpback whale washed up on the beach here once), then the mysterious Lake Ainsworth.
Peter Hancock is the OSS Australian correspondent.
Sunburnt knees at the Needles: Viv’s week has been full of sunsets, sunrays and jellyfish: and this weekend? More of the same.
Viv Rickman Poole is an OSS Ambassador @viviennerickmanpoole
It’s going to be hot and busy, but that’s Zurich lakeside in the summer. We’ll be the early birds catching the worms (and building sandcastles).
Swimstaman is the OSS Special Envoy in Switzerland @swimstaman
At home in Somerset, Fiona swims in Vobster Quay regularly, a crystal clear quarry lake. But for a weekend retreat she head to the salt water of Hope Cove in Devon.
Fiona Peggengale is the wildswim.com map editor.
Having spent seven years establishing Rutland Water as an inland beach no one is more pleased than me that it’s just opened for summer! This lifeguarded facility is rare: an inland beach established by a water authority (Anglian Water). The swimming area is marked by buoys. It’s shallow, but with a grassy area for picnics, massively popular on hot days.
Robert Aspey is co-leader of the OSS Inland Access Group
Well we all like to be beside the seaside and surely everyone will be this weekend. Hidden around the corner from the main beach at West Wittering is Easthead, a long sand spit that has multiple places to swim. The tide runs fast, but with support, a swim from the harbour, on a falling tide, around Easthead to the main beach at West Wittering is a thrill.
Oli Pitt is an OSS director and runs the OSS FB and twitter accounts.
The Kent coast makes for a glorious sea swim, with miles and miles of flat horizon and sand stretching into shingle, all backed by towering chalky cliffs and headlands. The tides go way out when they’re out, meaning my last ill-timed attempt at Westgate left me determinedly wallowing in calf height water just for the sake of getting wet. So, this weekend I’m looking forward to doing it again, properly, when my feet can actually leave the ocean bed.
Bonnie Radcliffe is an OSS Content Writer.
The schools are out in Glasgow, so we’re heading up to the north-east of Scotland – specifically the Moray Riviera – for glorious empty-ish beaches. First stop will be Hopeman West Beach on Sunday evening. I’ll swim along the sandy beach scanning for dolphins and my daughter will be in her wetsuit for jumping off the harbour wall with the local kids. The East beach, on the other side of the harbour, is just as good – with more rock-pooling into the bargain.
Beth Pearson is an OSS Commissioning Editor.
No swimming for me this weekend as I’ll be out on my bike – but some swimming has to be done in this glorious weather. So tonight we’ll be heading out to a little beach on the Thames near Dorchester for a Full Moon Swim. There’s nothing more entrancing than swimming upstream for as long as one likes followed by a gentle float back downstream under the light of the full moon. Werewolf howling optional. Afterwards a picnic on the bank is traditional.
Chris Dalton is joint lead of the OSS Inland Access group.
A place that is easy for my giant puppy (all 45kg of her) and my niece to reach. It is a dipping spot with lots to see. Eels hang out in the waterweeds downstream. This week’s #wildflowerhour challenge is #bythewater – tweet the flowers you see when cooling off. A wander along the riverbed here will find the first of the meadowsweet in bloom along the riverbanks.
Susanne Masters is an OSS content writer.
Owen will be taking to the deep, clean, clear, blue waters of a former reservoir in an urban park close to the centre of the steel city. Crookes Valley Park is now the informal home of Sheffield’s fast growing wild swimming scene. Midweek you’ll find people splashing and dashing on their way to work or on their lunch hour, but come the weekend, bring beers and BBQ for post-swim maxin and relaxin’.