London: “Wild” outdoor swimming is the latest craze among people who want to exercise and stay fit without joining a health club.
Wild swimming groups are claiming that their membership is booming despite the UK’s unreliable weather and chilly open water – which became unfashionable after the Second World War.
The revival of “wild” outdoor swimming is being credited to social networking sites that make it easy to arrange meetings and promote suitable stretches of water around the country.
Pauline Squire, former training advisor, who organises swims in Ellerton Lake in North Yorkshire said that he has seen attendance double in the last six months.
“We get 20 people or more in the water each time, including young children,” Sky News quoted Squire as saying.
“The water’s clean, you’re with the ducks, and unlike in a pool it’s not just boring swimming up and down,” Squire stated.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has also changed its advice to would-be swimmers in recent years.
“Try and find an organised group, so you go with some people who can explain to you what the hazards are and the things you need to look out for,” Peter Cornall, the society’s head of leisure safety said.
“Rather than just stripping off and jumping straight in, stop and think before you take the plunge,” he added.
Lastly, even the author of guidebook to wild swimming, Daniel Start, claims that he has had more than a million hits since the book was launched three years ago.