We have a quick Q&A with Anna Deacon, about all things wild swimming and her latest co-authored book The Art Of Wild Swimming Scotland…
What can we expect from your new book?
Our new book The Art Of Wild Swimming Scotland is the guidebook we wish we had when we started. I’m working again with Vicky Allan who I co-wrote with on Taking The Plunge. We are tackling all the usual questions people ask when they begin swimming and we’re seeking advice from various different experts in all these areas. We are also creating a location guide, but our twist is that we are speaking to swimmers across Scotland to give their advice on the best spots in their area, giving us their inside, local knowledge and top tips. We are placing a huge emphasis on being mindful of the feelings and needs of the local area, leaving no trace and leaving swim spots that have a delicate infrastructure out of the book. Published alongside this one is another The Art Of Wild Swimming England & Wales.
Why did you get into wild swimming and what benefits do you feel from it?
I have always enjoyed the water and preferred swimming outdoors to indoor swimming pools. But I really properly got into it about five years ago when I moved to Edinburgh from London and started swimming in the sea with a group more regularly. I noticed the benefits both physically and mentally and found a wonderful and welcoming community amongst the swimmers.
Your favourite wild swimming memory?
I have so many wonderful memories, and sunrise swims are my absolute favourite. I absolutely love waking up super early and making a flask of coffee and heading to the sea to watch the sun come up over the water. Last summer when lockdown eased, I went up to the Cairngorms and my friend and I did a 10k trail run followed by jumping off the jetty into Loch Insh several times, it carried me through for the next few months and I still go back to that memory when I want to feel happy and centred.
Your top tips for beginners?
Firstly, always go with someone who is experienced, who can show you where to go safely and keep an eye on you to make sure you aren’t getting too cold. Take it slowly, your body takes time to build up cold water resistance, so keep your swims super short. Even in the summer, the water temperatures in Scotland remain very cold so you could easily go into cold water shock. Walk into the water slowly, and swim for a couple of minutes only. Get out and warm quickly and have a flask of something hot ready to drink to warm your core. Your body will continue to cool down after your swim for around 20 minutes, this is called after drop and can be the most dangerous time. Most of all leave no trace, take everything with you when you leave and enjoy it!
*Remember that wild swimming can be extremely dangerous. When planning your swim, make sure you check the relevant tidal and current information, consider the water temperature, make sure you can warm up quickly afterwards, and never swim alone. You can find more safety tips HERE.*
Learn more about wild swimming by following @wildswimmingstories on Instagram and wild swimming guide Taking The Plunge (CLICK HERE)