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Archive for the ‘wild swimming’ Category

17522835_10155205434551289_8539666495836669484_nA five-and-a-half year negotiation with British Waterways (as was) to remove their new No Swimming sign at Sparth Reservoir has at last met with success.

A change in thinking has been a long time coming but it is a sign of the times as our Island mentality is slowly being replaced by broader minds.

The dispute arose over the continued use of the reservoir by wild swimmers. British Waterways put up a “no swimming” sign at Sparth Reservoir in Marsden, Huddersfield. They said that it replaced a former sign that had gone missing, reasoning that it would be “reckless” to allow swimming at the site. “But swimmers said they have used the reservoir for decades and it is possible to enjoy the sport safely. They believe the reservoir has been used for recreational swimming since the 1940s and possibly earlier. In the future they hoped signs could be changed to allow them to swim at their own risk.” As reported by the BBC.

Attitudes in Britain differ greatly to those of our European partners. Swimming is encouraged in rivers and lakes abroad but rarley so in England.

Discover the fascinating history of outdoor swimming in Britain – read: Hung Out to Dry; Swimming and British Culture. The reasons for our prejudice towards outdoor swimming are deep-rooted, complex and pervasive. Yet surely reason will ultimately win out, especially as wild swimming continues to grow in popularity.

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Winter swimmers in the Czech Republic

Time reports: Czech Seniors Stay Young by Plunging Into Freezing Cold Rivers

Among the most hardy of all the cold water swimmers is the group of pensioners who meet twice a week, whatever the weather, throughout the year in an old railway wagon at the bank of the Labe River in Pardubice, near a section of the river where the water is less than 20 meters deep.

For these senior citizens, some of whom are in their late eighties, plunging into freezing temperatures has its benefits. “Cold water swimming is as much a challenge as it is a health strategy,” Radek Kalhous, a photographer who has been capturing candid images of the swimmers, told TIME. ” It improves heart activity, vessel elasticity and the immune system in general.”

According to Kalhouse, the pensioners who swim in the Labe are hardly ever ill. “They are brimming with energy and optimism,” he said. “Local clubs are full of friends and the community is still growing. Cold water swimming is not just sport for them. It’s their lifestyle.”

According to Kalhouse, the pensioners who swim in the Labe are hardly ever ill. “They are brimming with energy and optimism,” he said. “Local clubs are full of friends and the community is still growing. Cold water swimming is not just sport for them. It’s their lifestyle.” More…

Discover where you can swim in Prague:

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image-20161208-31364-86rhncThe Conversation Reports: Our modern distaste for river swimming is a stark constrast with a history where urban rivers provided a venue for sport, recreation and entertainment – all within easy distance of shops, offices and public transport.

Pollution has changed the face of river swimming across the world. Not that pollution in itself has put people off outdoor swimming. In the UK for instance, summertime tradition sees holidaymakers keen to paddle and swim in the sea despite pollution on many beaches. Rather, the public perception that rivers and lakes are unsafe or unclean is so intrenched that it is rarely questioned. Rather like the beguiled Emperor in Hans Christian Anderson’s: The Emperor’s New Clothes, todays would be swimmers are so convinced by what they think they know that they cannot see what is obvious to little boys.

Discover just how different attitudes are in Switzerland

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The Telegraph reports:  A”nanny state” council are trying to stop Christmas bathers from having a festive dip due to health and safety concerns by taping off parts of a beach. Every year hundreds of swimmers jump in the sea on Christmas morning, but the local council want to put an end to the tradition. Brighton and Hove City Council in East Sussex announced it will take measures to try and prevent one of the city’s most famous Christmas traditions over fears swimmers will get hypothermia.

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Chris Ingall, seafront operations manager for Brighton City Council, said: “The continuing mild weather has meant that, as with last year, the seafront has been much busier than in previous winters.

“It’s been great to see so many people enjoying a stroll on the promenade and its good news for seafront businesses, but we would ask people to stay on the path or high up on the beach, especially when the sea conditions are rough.

“Sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions and with a friend.

“Even on a calm day sea currents, undertow or a sudden change in weather can create life threatening hazards without warning. Even experienced swimmers can get caught out.”

Compair attitudes here with those in Switzerland

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The New – Can I swim here? app…

Stuff.co.nz reports: Swimmers in New Zealand are now able to check online or via a new app to see if the beach or river they want to visit has clean swimming water.

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Regular testing at times when swimmers most often frequent bathing places, make this real-time information invaluable, setting a new standard of transparency for swimmers living in or visiting the country. More…

 

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The Mirror reports: “Almost seven in 10 of bathing sites in England now meet ‘excellent’ standard set out by the EU…”

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In 2016, 287 beaches and inland swimming sites in the country met the tough top standards set out in the European Union’s Bathing Water Directive (69.5%), and 407 out of the 413 spots assessed passed the minimum grade.

But six bathing waters failed to meet even minimum standards: Scarborough South Bay, Yorkshire; Clacton (Groyne 41), Essex; Walpole Bay, Margate, Kent; Instow, Devon; Ilfracombe Wildersmouth, Devon; and Burnham Jetty North, Somerset.

The figures, which look at results for water quality over the last four years, are an improvement on 2015, the first year of results under the new EU system , when 63.6% of beaches met excellent standards.

This is partly due to improvements being made in infrastructure at or near bathing sites in recent years, which has helped reduce pollution and cut levels of harmful bacteria in swimming spots that can make people ill.

But this year’s figures are also better than 2015 because of more favourable weather conditions.

Better weather reduces the risk of overflows from sewers and storm drains and the amount of urban and agricultural pollutants washing down to the sea when there is heavy rainfall.

The 2015 results include the very wet summer of 2012, which saw water quality at bathing sites drop.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “England’s bathing waters are enjoyed by millions of people every year, which is why I am delighted the water quality at our beaches and lakes is better than at any time since before the Industrial Revolution. More…

 

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EUobserver reports: Copenhagen is one of the only cities in Europe where the harbour water is again clean enough to swim in.

The city has built three popular harbour baths – a new type of city-beach for people to swim, sunbathe, and cool off on hot summer days.

A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year.

During the last decade, the harbour baths have also become popular with tourists. They are the most visible result of a deliberate decision in the municipality to move polluting industry out of the harbour, and to clean all waste water before it reaches the sea.

The harbour baths are open 24/7 and many people living in the city centre have taken up the habit of a morning swim before heading to work.

There is no entry fee. Anyone is free to jump in and to enjoy the feeling of pumping blood, tickling skin and the salty taste of sea water.

Swimming around parliament

A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year. Some 230 came from abroad to take part.

For swimmers, the race offers a very different perspective of the city and its old parliament building, Christiansborg. For tourists, who gathered on the city’s bridges and wharfs, clapping and photographing, it offers the unusual sight of swimmers splashing in city canals.

“The water is really clean, I saw streams of small fish and jellyfish when passing Knippelsbridge,” Julia Winklewski told EUobserver…

The water temperature is 20C in August, but in winter the harbour can be covered by ice.

Despite freezing temperatures, winter swimming is a popular activity among Danes. Some 11,000 people are registered members of winter swimming clubs around the country, with many more on waiting lists. Swimming is believed to improve people’s health and their quality of life. Read more…

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