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BBC News reports: A film-maker and photographer is sharing his passion for wild swimming in Scotland’s cold rivers, lochs and seas.

Calum Maclean, from Inverness, makes films and vlogs of his swims and posts them online and also to the website, BBC The Social.

His efforts to seek out new places to explore is also the feature of a new series of TV programmes to shown on Gaelic language channel BBC Alba from this week.

For Into the Water (Dhan Uisge in Gaelic), Mr Maclean was filmed at locations in the Highlands, islands and Argyll.

They included Loch Maree in Torridon, Sanna in Ardnamurchan and a swim between Seil and the island of Luing in Argyll.

Before attempting challenging swims at sea, Mr Maclean checks information on tides and currents, and draws on local boatmen’s knowledge of the waters.

The wild swimmer said: “I never jump straight into cold water – so always acclimatise for a minute first.

“It’s the first 90 seconds that take your body to get used to it, to help avoid cold water shock.”

He added: “Like I say in one of the programmes, I always assess first: how deep is it, how cold is it, are there hidden dangers under the surface such as rocks or branches?

“Also, where can I get out, is there a current, or a rip tide?

“And though I sometimes swim alone – I am experienced at it, and I know my limits. I always get out before you feel cold.”

However, Mr Maclean said there are also places in Scotland where most people should be able to swim safely.

Mr Maclean said: “There’s a boom in wild swimming at the moment.

“It’s very popular now in Scotland and England – in fact all over the world; groups are forming on social media to help people find out about the best natural swimming pools and go swimming together.

“I think the reason it’s so big now is because it becomes addictive – you go once and then you’ve just got to go again.”

Discover the new Hung Out to Dry website…

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Belfast Live reports: A programme which aims to teach kids how to stay safe in open water is hosting free swimming lessons in Northern Ireland this summer.

Swim Safe, is coming to NI for the first time this summer to host free hour-long sessions for 7–14 year olds run by qualified swimming teachers and RNLI beach lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers.

The sessions are designed to be practical, interactive, educational and fun for children who can swim at least 25 metres.

Every child that participates will receive 60 minutes of tuition, with the time split between land-based safety with a lifeguard and in-water tuition with a swimming teacher.

Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with T-shirt are all provided.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Jenny Thompson said: “Many children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is different to swimming in a pool and can often be much more challenging.

“The Swim Safe programme gives children the opportunity to learn about keeping safe when swimming outdoors and knowing what to do if they get into trouble.”

Visit the SwimSafe website to book your place and for more information.

Chris Ayriss comments: What a contrast this piratical program is to the warnings broadcast in 2014 “Don’t go in!”

 

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The Sunday Post reports: A WOMAN who conquered a crippling fear of water aims to become the first person to swim around Britain’s coastline.

Recovering aquaphobic Paula McGuire, 36, has spent most of her life avoiding the sea due to her fear of drowning.

Now she plans to test herself to the limit by swimming from Land’s End to John o’ Groats and back around.

Over a gruelling five-month period, she’ll travel 1800 miles, battling chilly waters, crashing waves, strong currents and exhaustion.

Swimming around six hours at a time, she’ll burn off more than 5000 calories a day, meaning she’ll have to eat huge amounts of food.

Some days she will have to start swimming in the middle of the night depending on tide times.

However, for Paula, who has suffered from social anxiety since she was a child, the mental demands will outweigh the physical.

“I’m doing it to raise awareness of mental health but also to show people who have these issues that you can still have a fulfilling, healthy and active life.”

Until now she’s never been in open water at a depth where she couldn’t still walk.

In an intense period of preparation, she will be training in outdoor pools, open water facilities and coastal seas. “I have from April until the end of September to do the challenge,” said Paula.

“That’s the only window that the sea temperature won’t kill me and I won’t start losing toes.”

Paula, of Riddrie, Glasgow, said: “I’ll be eating a lot of protein and carbs smeared in butter because I need calories without feeling weighed down.

“I’m swimming for the cake!”

She’ll also be accompanied by a safety boat and a kayaker to supply her with her protein shakes and keep an eye on her.

She’s also looking for help from kayakers, boat enthusiasts and sponsors and is adamant nothing will hold her back.

Anxiety turned Paula, an electronic notetaker, into a “functioning recluse” who only left home to attend classes at school and university.

Badly bullied at school, by 16 she was on anxiety medication having tried counselling and hypnosis without success.

On turning 30, she decided she wasn’t going to be governed by her nerves any more and took on her sporty challenge to boost her confidence.

Now, she’s hoping her epic swim will help take her further along that journey.

She said: “I’d been thinking the next challenge I did would have to be a big one.

“I feel like there’s more in me – there’s more to do.”

Find out more at paulamusttryharder.co.uk

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Eastern Daily Press reports: Fire crews stood down after man swimming in River Wensum in Norwich sparks alert.

A man swimming sparked drama in Norwich city centre when fire crews went to the scene believing he had got into difficulty.

A member of the public called Norfolk police because they were concerned at what they thought was a person in trouble in the River Wensum near the Ribs of Beef pub on Wensum Street.

Police contacted Norfolk Fire and Rescue and the service sent a fire engine from Earlham and its rescue boat from Carrow.

However, on arrival, at just after 7.45pm last night, it became clear there was no need for a river rescue.

A spokesman said: “On investigation it was found to be a swimmer who was happy to be in the water. We just offered some words of advice that a May night might not be the best time to go swimming.”

Do you know the safety 8?

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KGW reports: In Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposed city budget released this week, there’s an interesting $158,000 line item in the park bureau budget: Build a swimming beach under the west side of the Marquam Bridge. The idea is to get more people access to the water on warm days.

The city says the river is safe, just don’t drink the water. To get people to love the Willamette again, and not just view it as industrial, Mayor Ted Wheeler has talked about turning Poetry Beach, into an actual beach for months.

The site is along the river trail and already has a walking path down to the water for a small boat ramp. Under this winter’s high water level, there is a sandy beach down there. The mayor is proposing adding a lane line out in the water to mark off safe swimming, bathrooms, maybe a lifeguard, park ranger safety patrols, picnic tables and possibly even inviting a food cart to set up nearby.

Ella Jackson agreed saying, “This would be a good way to get out and not travel three hours to get to a beach, it’s smart.”

“Getting people to challenge the notion that the river is just a thing to drive over and inviting people to get back into it and reconnect with the Willamette is the goal,” said Wheeler’s senior policy advisor Nathan Howard. “I would say a $158,000 is not ‘nothing’ but it is a small portion of the city budget and really it is a very worthwhile investment to tell the story of the renaissance of the Willamette and all of our public investment has created something we can all experience and is much healthier than it was a couple decades ago.”

If it’s approved in the final city budget at the end of May, Poetry Beach would be fixed up and ready to open as a swimming beach in July through September this year. If this pilot beach goes well, there are plans to invest in the Eastbank Crescent Park on the east side of the river near the Hawthorne Bridge. A floating dock is already very popular with sunbathers and kayakers, but it would be torn out and replaced with multiple docks for swimming and boating, and a sandy beach with picnic tables and restrooms would be built.

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The Telegraph reports: The National Trust is to open its first public swimming pool after gardeners restoring a spectacular Victorian property stumbled across a long forgotten lido.

Groundsmen working at Standen House in West Sussex  – the former home of celebrated horticulturist Margaret Beale – discovered the neglected pond when they nearly fell into it while clearing undergrowth.

The lido was built in the 1890s for the wealthy Beale family and their seven children to enjoy a dip in the heart of their 12 acre garden. But it was long forgotten after being hidden beneath decades of growth. It would be the first time a man-made pool had been opened to the public at one of its properties.

Letters and diary entries by Mrs Beale, housed at Standen, reveal how the children spent happy summer in the pool. They would compete for the right to swim in the deep end by testing how long they could remain dunked underwater, and would dare one another to jump in rather than descend the steps. Read more…

 

 

The Eastern Daily Press reports: A fight is underway to make sure swimming remains a priority in education, as pool upkeep and transport costs stretch schools’ already squeezed budgets.

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Spiralling repair and maintenance costs have forced many schools to close their pools, while transporting pupils to and from lessons can be a costly burden in the tough climate.

It has seen school swimming slide across the country, with Swim England figures from 2015 showing that just 52pc of key stage two children are able to swim 25 metres unaided – despite it being a national curriculum requirement.

Our Summer of Swimming campaign, launched last week, has highlighted how swimming participation, though still the nation’s favourite sport, has dwindled.

And with research showing that children who don’t learn at primary school are more likely to become one of the one in five adults unable to swim, efforts are ongoing to ensure all children earn their water wings.

More…