Why wild swimming is on the rise

Peter swimming in the open water in the Derbyshire Moors

Peter takes to the Derbyshire Moors' cold waters - Credit: Peter Naldrett

Wild swimming is gaining in popularity. 

With so many beautiful rivers and the like across Derbyshire, our county is the ideal place to enjoy this increasingly desirable pastime. 

A dip in the sea while on the beach on a baking hot day is one thing. 

However on the face of it, plunging into cold, natural, water – often when the weather is far from ideal - doesn't sound particularly relaxing or therapeutic. 

However, many are coming round to the idea that wild swimming can provide a number of benefits which can enhance both physical and mental health.  

It’s not a new thing by any means, but it is becoming more and more mainstream. 

In June's Derbyshire Life, Peter Naldrett spoke with much-loved TV vicar, Kate Bottley, about her love for outdoor swimming, and why it has proven good for both body and soul. 

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The interview took place by the disused Barbrook Reservoir on the Derbyshire Moors. 

‘Getting in is fine,’ Rev. Kate told Derbyshire Life. ‘The tricky bit is getting out and getting dressed when your hands are cold.’ 

‘Water is about self-reflection,’ she argues. 

‘As you swim, once I’m past the cold bit I will invariably be silent at some point, which is a rarity for me!

'There will be a moment of self-reflection and, being a spiritual person, it also connects me with my faith.’ 

‘It’s like a reset button for me. Like a lot of people, my life is pretty busy and crazy and when you get in really cold water – especially when I first started – you can’t think of anything else for those first five minutes except breathing and not dying.  

Peter with Rev. Kate Bottley post-swim

Peter with Rev. Kate Bottley post-swim - Credit: Peter Naldrett

‘I can’t think of another single activity I do where my brain is emptied in such a way. 

'When you first get in, is a moment when there’s nothing else in my head except me telling myself to breath in and out. 

‘I often tell myself to breath and that is transferable. So when I get myself into a stressful situation, like when I’m on the edge of a stage about to go on, I find myself able to key into that experience and slow my breathing down, concentrate on my heart rate, concentrate on my breathing.  

'Being outside also does you good and then there’s connecting with other people.’  

READ MORE: Outdoor cinema showings in Derbyshire this summer

Swim England list a number of benefits of open-air swimming including, but not limited to: Better sleep; hormone stimulation which leads to greater happiness; boosted immune system; and the prevention and managing of long-term health conditions.

To read the full feature/interview with Rev. Kate Bottley - and discover how Peter got on in his maiden wild swim - get yourself a copy of June/Juy's Derbyshire Life, which is out now.

You can also subscribe to the Derbyshire Life app, available at: www.derbyshirelifemagazine.co.uk/app/DERCOM.

Before considering wild swimming, please seek advice and research areas to ensure they are safe and accessible.