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Posts Tagged ‘wild swimming’

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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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The New Zealand Herald reports: A just-launched index has revealed New Zealand’s best and worst swimming spots – with some popular sites listed as no-go zones among almost 700 rivers, lakes, and beaches.

The updated LAWA (Land, Air, Water Aotearoa) website now features an online tool that lets people check on their local spots before they head for a dip.

The project is a partnership between 16 regional councils, the Ministry for the Environment and the Cawthron Institute.

Among around 40 spots currently listed as “unsuitable for swimming” was the pools at the top of Gisborne’s famous Rere Rockslide and 10 beach sites in Auckland.

“With the information on ‘Can I swim here?’ people can swim in our great outdoors with confidence this summer.”

Some councils also provided point-of-entry signs at popular sites, and swimmers should take notice and follow their instructions… more…

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The Medical Express reports: Keeping young children away from perceived risky activities such as wild outdoor swimming is damaging, according to education expert Dr Sandra Leaton Gray (UCL Institute of Education).

Writing in her book ‘Invisibly Blighted: the digital erosion of childhood’ Leaton Gray says, “Heavily supervised young children of today may simply be more likely to drown as youths because they don’t go swimming very often and their water safety awareness is low, compared to that of children who swim frequently under less supervision.”

She will present her paper, ‘How risky is it to be a child?’ at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference this week.

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The Times reports: Children should be encouraged to enjoy “wild” swimming in rivers, lakes and reservoirs to learn about risk, according to an education expert.

Sandra Leaton Gray, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Education, University College London, said young people were being deterred from dipping into waters that were safe by unnecessary “no swimming” signs.

She said the growing aversion to risk was not always backed by accident statistics: “We are banning swimming in more and more places, and by doing so, making it more dangerous for the very young people we are trying to protect.

“Swimming has become an approved activity run by local authorities in special places, which are almost always heavily chlorinated swimming pools, with strict session times.”

There were 17 deaths by drowning of young people aged 10 to 19 in outside waters — including lakes, ponds and rivers — in England in 2015.

Leaton Gray, a keen wild swimmer herself, said supervised swimming in rivers and lakes would help reduce the risk and the numbers of lives lost.

She said: “Young people gather in all sorts of dodgy spots that wild swimmers would never venture into and then start taking serious risks without being properly aware of the consequences.”

Leaton Gray, who is giving a presentation on children and risk at the British Educational Research Association Conference in Brighton this week, said attitudes to swimming reflected a trend of children being given less freedom to roam and take risks than in previous generations.

The Health and Safety Executive has also said that “no children will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool”. It says outdoor play may have some hazards but teaches children how to deal with risk.

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An item in the news from Switzerland warning swimmers that on Monday a boy of eight was bitten by a beaver whilst swimming in the Rhine at Lindli caught my eye. Later that day a woman was also bitten on the leg so badly she needed to go to hospital to have stitches.

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What advice have the authorities given? ” Beavers are only likely to become aggressive if they feel threatened or are defending their nest. Bathers are advised to avoid swimming close to the shore, and to not allow dogs to enter the water.”

What a contrast to the news this week and the tragic drownings resulting from river and lake swimming by those with little knowledge of how to stay safe.

Discover how differently the Swiss approach water safety.

 

 

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The Plymouth Herald reports: More than 50 hardy swimmers took to the water on Sunday as part of Saltash Regatta weekend to swim across the River Tamar to Devon and back. Participants raised £1,000 for Little Harbour Children’s Hospice at Porthpean near St Austell.

The swimmers were all members of Devon and Cornwall Wild Swimming, and the swim was organised by the club’s founder Pauline Barker and partner James Vickery.

Devon and Cornwall Wild swimming has grown in numbers from just five members at it’s outset in 2010, to more than 5,000 today.

 

Regular swims are held in and around Plymouth as well as all over the two counties. More…

Take a look at wild swimming on Plymouth Hoe

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Wild Swimming in France last summer.

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How I wish England had a more tolerant attitude towards outdoor swimming.

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