We have some friends that are living the dream as far as I am concerned and maybe a bit of a nightmare as far as my wife is concerned: living on a canal boat in the countryside with a newborn onboard.
We went to see them, had a lovely coffee, and as they live round the corner from Claverton Weir (or is it Warleigh Weir, I’m not sure), we went for a dip. I say “we” – I mean I carried Talitha and dipped her toes reluctantly in and Adele said “next time”.
It’s a beautiful spot for swimming. The water was great, the sun glistened off the water with the trees rising up from the banks and birds chirping in the background alongside the sound of rushing water. But…
It kinda felt like wild swimming. But the spot has been in the papers, all over blogs and is known to everyone in the region. There were already several families there. And a few groups of lads arriving and more families pitching up as I got out of the water. By the afternoon I’m told it would be packed.
It made me think what qualifies as “wild”? I think it’s the sense of discovery, the search and finding something magical. It’s the spot unmanaged by humans. If there is a sign about swimming safety, that isn’t really wild to me.
I also think it’s the slight sense of risk. The unknown quantity of a spot. In this example of swimming it’s not knowing how deep, where the fast currents are, it is having the reassurance of other people around.
I’ve just looked at a definition.
Wild: (of a place or region) uninhabited, uncultivated, or inhospitable.
This top 10 “wild swimming” spot as defined by Daily Mail instantly becomes less wild as soon as it is listed in media, in my opinion.
It’s definitely cultivated with the weir itself and signs. It’s pretty much inhabited by tourists and locals alike and on the day we went it was pretty hospitable, although with a bit more rain that could change.
That doesn’t take away from the endorphin-rush of diving in. The peace of breast-stroke without chlorine. Not having to pay for the experience. The freshness of the skin after climbing out.
The next wild swim, I hope, might be a bit more wild. At this stage I’d ask you where you have swam wild, but then it would be on the internet and then not so wild. Maybe.
Any feelings on what defines “wild”?