Wild swimming has turned into somewhat of a buzzword now. The new craze. Something that thousands of people up and down the country have thrown themselves into with boundless enthusiasm.
So... what's the big deal?
As someone born and brought up in Cornwall, I spent all my summers in the sea, exploring the coast and living life as a Piscean mermaid. However, when it came to winter, it never occurred to us to continue swimming. It was too cold, too wet, too windy and too dangerous.
Then, last year I started following a wild swimming group on Facebook. Fascinated that these women, not only had the same addiction to the sea as me but were excitedly jumping through the waves in the autumn!
As soon as I saw this I knew, I wanted in.
I signed up to the Bluetits Chill Swimmers group and joined my local group for my first swim on the Helford Estuary.
It was a bitterly cold, rainy and grey day. It was the first time for all of us and we were all excited and nervous at the same time, barely believing that we were already wet through and about to enter the river.
I stripped off, feeling absolutely mad and popped my wetsuit gloves and beanie on*.
I edged into the water, gasping and giggling with everyone else and felt pure elation. Getting into water that cold feels so empowering and freeing. Enveloped in a cocoon of entrancing, magical coldness, the water calms your body and relaxes you.
This first encounter had me hooked and not just because of the swimming. One of the main draws of wild swimming is the social side. Find your community, your people. People who understand the addictive feeling of immersing yourself in the water, who also have friends and family that think you're absolutely insane and who will be first to reply when the conditions are right for swimming.
Since this first dip, I have swum all winter (including Christmas and New Year's Day!), taken part in night time dips and met some incredible people along the way.
Of course, you need to be aware of what you are doing and follow safety guidelines to ensure you have a safe swim. There are so many tips and techniques I have adopted over the past year of swimming that have helped me swim safely all year round.
But, you can do it.
Wild swimming is my go-to activity when I am feeling stressed, happy, sad or frustrated. It calms my mind and allows me to connect with nature, block out the white noise in my head for a while and relax. I'm so glad that I found out about the wild swimming community as it has taken me to places and habitats that I would never have considered exploring before. It has connected me even more with this awesome county I call home.
So, if you love swimming and the outdoors, I encourage you to try it out and see for yourself. Now is the perfect time to get started and acclimatise your body for when we start to move into the colder months.
Stay tuned for a full list of all the kit I use on my swims in the summer and winter and check out my Tiktok channel for swimming tip videos!
*I always employ my trusty beanie hat in the winter to keep me warm in the coldest temperatures. Apparently it holds the heat in your body and prevents you from losing too much heat. I don't know if that's true but it makes me feel warmer by proxy so I will continue to wear it into this winter season!