Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’


The National reports: Robert Hamilton’s dream of an open water regulator was torpedoed by near unanimous opposition from swimmers and swimming organisations, who said they were unwanted, unnecessary and overly commercial.

Unlike in England and Wales, where laws about open swimming are unclear, in Scotland, swimmers have a right to swim freely in open spaces.

Hamilton, along with commercial pilot Stewart Griffiths and swimmer Phia Steyn, had announced plans to establish the Scottish Open Water Swimming Association (SOWSA) to “promote and grow safe open water swimming within Scotland through co-operation between relevant stakeholders and partners in the country”.

Their proposal was to gather “open water swimmers, coaches, event organisers, boat pilots, health and safety professionals, landowners, local and national tourism bodies and relevant heritage and conservation bodies into one body with the aim of promoting and growing safe open water swimming in Scotland”.

But across the country, fans of outdoor aquatics were furious at what they saw as an attempt to limit access to lochs and water, potentially resulting in swimmers being forced to cough up cash for a dip.

There was opposition too from the British Long Distance Swimming Society (BLDSA) and the Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS),

In response to a consultation set up by Hamilton’s group, OSS said: “The establishment of a self-appointed regulatory body with power over all swimming events, venues and pilots in Scotland would create a commercial monopoly that would stifle, restrict and standardise the market, and restrict rather than improve swimming in Scotland.”

A joint response to the consultation from 28 different prominent swimmers complained they had not been made aware of the consultation, and were uncomfortable with a charity representing open water swimmers being proposed by “three people who are known to be closely involved in one of the most heavily advertised commercial companies running open water events and providing services to open water swimmers in Scotland”.

Discover why wild swimmers have faced restriction in England?


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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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BBC News reports:  “You’re out in the elements, you’re connecting to nature. There’s always a chance that a fish might jump up at you or a seal might swim alongside you.”

“Once you’re submerged and your body’s under, it’s fine. It’s the coldness in the water which I find invigorating, and you don’t get that in a swimming pool.” More…

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The Herald Scotland reports: “A midnight dip has long been a feature of holidays and night time aquatic activity can be popular with wild swimmers, but there are new warnings against the practice in Scotland’s waters.”

…two women …got into trouble in the sea off Orkney, and had to be rescued by a specialist swimmer.

The coastguard was contacted just before 1:50am today by the Scottish Ambulance Service who had received a report of two people in the water at Inganess Bay, a sandy beach two miles to the east of the Orkney Capital of Kirkwall.

The Kirkwall Coastguard rescue team and RNLI lifeboat were sent to the scene along with the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Shetland.

The coastguard team was first to arrive and its specialist rescue swimmer swam out 70m before reaching the causalities. Both were brought ashore where they were met by waiting paramedics and transferred to Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall.

Andy Graham of Shetland Coastguard said:

“I would advise against people entering the water at night, the sea may look calm but strong currents can cause hidden dangers. You should always check tidal conditions and when possible swim at a beach where a lifeguard is present.

“The coastguard rescue swimmer who went into the water should be praised for his bravery, without him the rescue tonight could have easily had a very different outcome.”

But some wild swimming enthusiasts enjoy night time swimming. Kate Rew, director of Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS) describes, on the society’s website, a wild swim in stormy weather at night in the Lake District in late October, that inspired her to found the OSS.

The OSS also says “Wild swimming is much like every other outdoor sport: climbing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking. There are risks but they can be moderated. The official UK statistics on water-related deaths show that swimmers do not feature as often as some people think, and put the risks into context. Of the 389 water-related deaths in the UK in 2013, 59 were swimmers, while 126 were described as walking or running.” More…

See: Swim Smart – Educating adults and teenagers about Wild Swimming water safety

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Wild Swimming in Scotland

Learning to swim the old fashioned way!

Its four hours away by ferry to the nearest swimming pool and you only get to go once a year with the school so schoolchildren on the Scottish island of Tiree are taking swimming lessons in a local loch.

The sessions, which are also open to adults and under-fives, were organised by local artist Catriona Spink.

She said the swimming lessons were proving popular – once those taking part got over the initial shock of the cold water.

“Most of them are quite hardy. Once you get them in there then they just seem to have so much fun.”

Tiree swim week on Loch Bhasapol is running from 2 until 6 September More…

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Lakeside swimming area Friedrichshafen

Across Europe swimming is actively encouraged. Here at Friedrichshafen the lake is seen as a tourist attraction and so swimming features heavily on its tourism website.

In Scotland their is unrestricted access for swimming in any river, lake, or reservoir as per the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
In Ireland the waterways generally have open access for swimming.
In England negative attitudes rather than legal restrictions prohibit free access to rivers and lakes for swimmers. British culture is unique in that we stand alone as the nation that reinvented swimming, spread its popularity worldwide and then rounded up a nation of swimmers, chased them out of open water and confined them to indoor swimming pools.

So where can we swim and how can we swim safely?

These are questions I will be answering this Saturday on BBC Radio Leicester between 12.00 and 2.00 on Ed Stagg’s panel show.
Discover the connection between swimming and British culture, read Hung Out to Dry and you will see the British as never before.

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A young wild swimmer sparked a major rescue operation this Friday.

A passer-by saw him swimming in fast flowing water in the River Kennet (Reading) and called the emergency services. The rescue was called off at the last minute after firefighters discovered he had jumped in for a dip.

Crews from Caversham Road, Dee Road, Wokingham Road and the brigade’s control unit went to Fobney Street after a concerned passer-by noticed him in the water near Loch Fyne restaurant at 2.30pm.

But the 10-year-old had climbed out by the time they arrived and the lone youngster – who was wearing a wetsuit – insisted he had intended to go swimming. Even so the police took him home.

Wokingham Road station watch manager Phil Holdford said: “Obviously we take every water incident we are called to seriously, but in this case we remind people not to attempt swimming when water levels are high.”

I feel sure that this swim will be long remembered.

Reported by the Reading Chronicle

Discover the world of wild swimming



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