FEATURES,  View from the Water

Swimrun, driftwood and top five wild swimming accessories

Last weekend I was in the Lake District for the Breca Buttermere swimrun race. I was taking part in the sprint race, a great introduction to the sport. If you can run as well as swim and have a friend you can persuade to join you, swimrun is a whole lot of fun. My teammate was a triathlete friend for whom it was his first swimrun. For him it was a real adventure – the lack of seemingly pointless rules, scrambling over rocks rather than exiting the water on a carpeted ramp, jumping over logs and fighting our way through undergrowth. We got a bit lost and I fell over and put a big hole in my arm, but we still somehow managed to be the first men’s team home. We even won a trophy each – beautiful pieces of driftwood, chosen by Breca as part of their drive to make their races waste-free. There were no disposable cups or plastic bottles used in the race and all competitors had to carry their own reusable cup for the aid stations. The ethos of swimrun is part of its appeal to me – it is almost more a movement than a sport: look after your fellow competitors, respect the environment (any littering means instant disqualification) and spread the word and spirit of swimrun. Let’s hope the sport’s ethos is upheld as it continues to grow.

Swimrun Podium

No trip to the Lake District would be complete without a hike and a wild swim. On the same day that the world’s elite swimmers took to Loch Lomond for the 25km open water race in the European Championships, we were shooting down Langstrath Beck at Black Moss Pot on a unicorn lilo. Open water swimming is a broad church! To help you enjoy your next wild swim, here are our top five Outdoor Swimmer wild swimming accessories:

  • Unicorn lilo – easily packable and transportable in a rucksack, essential for shooting rapids
  • Novelty sunglasses – essential eye protection
  • Sombrero –the traditional Mexican hat, as modelled at numerous Outdoor Swimmer events
  • Lobster outfit – obviously
  • Spaniel – no wild swimming adventure is complete without a dog to steal your clothes and soak you when you have just got dry

Swim wild and free,

Jonathan Cowie

Editor, Outdoor Swimmer magazine

This week’s photo of the week is by Cailean Macleod of Catriona Macleod swimming at Loch Farr by Inverness, Scottish Highlands.

In each issue of the magazine we publish a selection of your images in our Selkie Reader Photo Contest. To be in with a chance of having your photo featured in the magazine and winning outdoor swimming kit and apparel from Selkie Swim Co enter your best pics now.

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Jonathan is a year-round skins swimmer with a particular love of very cold water. He has competed in ice swimming competitions around the world. He is a qualified open water coach with a particular love of introducing new swimmers to the open water.