Observations From The Riverbank #2

Posted by Matt Heason on Jan 06, 2021

A month ago I wrote down a few things about my morning routine of dipping in the river whilst walking the dog. It seemed to go down quite well so I thought I’d do it again. In no real order here are some observations from the riverbank. 


Snow on higher ground means colder water in the valleys. 

I’ve still not seen a kingfisher, but have spent a little time with a heron. 

I’ve watched a few films lately on wild swimming. Whilst I have no issue with using the right kit for the activity one of the things I most like about swimming is the fact that you literally need nothing. I swim in my underwear, often with no towel to dry off. There isn’t another sport that is so easy to actually do. I'm not knocking those in the films in their dry robes and flasks of hot water, but it'd be nice if the films also portrayed the mud and dampness that comes with it as it's all part of the bigger picture.

Wild swimming is not really a sport. 

Wild swimming is not really wild at all. It’s just swimming. 

For my morning swim it’s not even a swim, but a short sharp dip.  Most of my time is spent sitting, undressing and then dressing. But the dip gives it a purpose. 

I’ve had a bad back for the last few weeks. A dip in cold water helps ease it every time. Without fail. 

Turns out you can take long exposure shots with an iPhone (swipe down on any ‘live’ photo for options I had no idea were even there). 

Apologies if I post too many long exposure photos of rivers. 

It also turns out there is quite a community of people who like dipping in cold water or even wild swimming. ShAFF is about to embark on a series of four free online talks in collaboration with the SOUPer Community - Sheffield OUtdoor Plungers starting next Monday and tickets are going like very hot cakes. Details are here if you are interested: https://shaff.co.uk/shaff20/events

Although my morning swims are very much solo affairs, having a river run through the village has not gone unnoticed by others. There is a small (but growing) local community of fellow dippers whose souls have been constantly drip fed by its presence.

Apologies to those who don't 'get' it for adding to the profusion of cold water swim photos flooding social media. Maybe you should go try it ;-)

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