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Open Water Swimming Events 2013

Let us know about any open water events in 2013. Click link below for 2013 events
2013 Open Water Swimming Events.


Swimming Against the Stream by Jean Perraton
Jean Perraton (RALSA President) has update her groundbreaking 2004 book exploring the attitudes of key authorities (Central and local government, the EA, ROSPA, HSE, land owners etc) towards swimming in lakes and rivers in the UK. It is clear that many people want to swim in lakes and rivers and equally clear that the authorities try to stop them! The reasons why the authorities try to stop open water swimming are explained and are largely debunked.

Jean says that there has been some progress made at a national level to change attitudes since the first edition of her book but this has been slow to trickle down to a local level. So still lots of work to do before the UK can enjoy swimming in lakes and rivers as our European neighbours do.

An essential text for all open water swimming activists. See for more information.

Available on Amazon.

New Welsh Countryside Code recognises wild swimming
Quote from Welsh Countryside Code :

The rivers and lakes of Wales are an amazing place to swim; offering beautiful scenery, crystal clean water and a sense of peace and tranquillity. Help keep them special and preserve them for future generations.

Safety advice can be found at Welsh Countryside Code Wild Swimming Safety Code.

Open water swimming safer than angling!
Latest drowning statistics from ROSPA: Assessing Inland AccidentalDrowning Risk :

Wild Swimming Talks
Rob Fryer (Chair of RALSA and author of Rob Fryer's Wild Swimming Guide) is available to give talks on Wild Swimming. Rob has been researching swimming places in the UK and further afield for many years.

See for further information.

New community bathing pool on River Stour at Wye, Kent?
Jasper Bouverie (local councillor) is campaigning for a community bathing pool on the river Stour at Wye. If you live near Wye please support Jasper’s campaign.

Twyford Parish Council has already provided facilities on the River Itchen (picture right). It would be great to have a network of local swimming places across the UK. How about developing a strategy for a National Swimming Network?

Rob Fryer’s Wild Swimming Safety Guide
Rob has created a great information sheet on safety considerations when wild swimming (see Cut this out before you go wild swimming and take it with you!

Beaches 'can be village greens'
In a High Court ruling Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, said the words used by Parliament "to define 'town or village green' are broad enough to permit the registration of a tidal beach", provided certain tests were met. (see

Unfortunately in the case of West Beach, Newhaven, Newhaven Town Council lost their case due to the specific circumstance there.. Newhaven Town Council is now appealing this decision.

However this is an important ruling and could be used were it can be shown there is a long history of use for swimming. This is the case at Lighthouse Cove in Kingswear, South Devon ((see Kingswear Parish Council is currently in a battle with a local resident who has blocked off access to the beach.

We will keep you informed of any development. In the meantime please support these campaigns if you live locally.

Help make an open water swimming dream come true in Cambridge
Behind these ugly gates and the litter lie the beautiful blue waters of a flooded chalk-pit, which would make a lovely bathing place. If you live in or near Cambridge you could help make this happen by writing to the Cambridge News and responding to the City Council's consultation on the local plan. See here and look for Option 20.

Please also let Jean Perraton ( know if you would like to help in making this dream come true.

Campaigning for Wild Swimming
We have had setbacks in the past, but this season we good news to tell. Hillingdon Council have backed plans (July 2012) to revive Ruislip Lido. We must congratulate the Council for listening to their voters and pressing ahead in spite of vociferous opposition from a small group of killjoys. Afterwards Councillor Ray Puddifoot said: " We will now start work to improve this wonderful facility for our residents to enjoy.” Currently swimming is banned (well, perhaps people they can’t read, but I’ve seen quite a few swimmers there recently). When the infrastructure (car parks, changing rooms, cafes etc) is complete, swimming will be re-instated. Thank you Hillingdon Council.

Further north, Rob Aspey has been negotiating on our behalf with Anglian Water, concerning Rutland Water. The good news is that next year a beach will open to swimmers. Another victory, thank you Anglian Water

So what can you do to help?

If you live near the Lee Valley Regional Park you might consider leading a campaign to open Stork Pit (Grid TL 393093) to swimmers. This is near Hoddesdon and Waltham Abbey. Currently there is a 1000 fine for swimming! Perhaps you live near Bath? Could you start a swimming club similar to the Farleigh & District SC? The tide is running in our favour. Now is the time for action. If you cannot help with either of the above, perhaps you could write to your council requesting facilities, organise a petition or run for council? We need wild swimmers to be decision makers. Your association, RALSA, is here to help you. Can you help them?

Rob Fryer, Chair RALSA

Lighthouse Cove, River Dart, Kingswear, Devon
Help Kingswear Parish Council to regain access to Lighthouse Cove on the River Dart. Access has been closed by the new owner after 100s of years of public access. I feel like a mass trespass coming on! Let us know of any other access battles. Click here for more details.

New Wild Swimming Books
Three great new wild swimming books for you. Daniel Start's Wild Swimming France reviewed by Jean Perraton (RALSA President), Rob Fryer's Wild Swimming Guide, 2012/13 edition and Taking the Waters: A Swim around Hampstead Heath by Caitlin Davies. Find out more here.

Organising an open water swimming event
The ASA have produced a useful document about organising open water swimming events. The ASA Open Water Event Document is very comprehensive and, as always with the ASA, slanted towards competitive swimming. It may be over the top if you are organising a small event but will act as a useful guide to the things you need to think about.

New Farleigh & District Swimming Club Website

Find out more here.

ROSPA changes it tune on Wild Swimming
See  comments from ROSPA's CEO. Also see  comments by ROSPA in Sky article. We have updated our comments on ROSPA's attitude to open water swimming accordingly. Let us know if local ROSPA representatives are still pushing the No Swimming Allowed line.

New book on the history of swimming in the UK

Susie Parr, RALSA supporter and open water enthusiast, has just published the book

The Story of Swimming

It covers the history of swimming in the UK from earliest recorded times (Romans onward) to the current revival in open water swimming. It is full of wonderful illustrations and includes a number of short pieces about Susie's favourite swimming places. I'm sure many RALSA members will recognise how Susie feels about swimming in open water.Put this on your Xmas present list!

Read review by Jean Perraton.

New Wild Swimming map of the UK
OSS (Outdoor Swimming Society) has put together a very informative  Wild Swimming map of the UK. Well worth a browse. Well done OSS!
New European Swimming Directory Website
Niek Kloots has set up a directory of European Swimming organisations. It includes open water swimming organisation. There is a huge amount of information about swimming events and places to swim across Europe. Great site. Thanks to Niek for setting this up.
Wild Swimming: Freshwater Biodiversity matters
Read this interesting blog "Wild Swimming: Freshwater Biodiversity matters" about the new EU Bathing Water Directive and how cleaning up our lakes and rivers is not only important for wild swimming but also freshwater biodiversity.

New Open Water Swimming Safety Video
Watch Callum Brown’s wonderful and essential video on 0pen Water Swimming Safety here.

Rob Fryer’s Wild Swimming Guide 2011
Rob’s new wild swimming guide is now available. Find out more here.

Find details of open water events in 2012 here.

RLSS Open Water Activity Supervisor Course in North East.
Pauline Squire proposes to run the RLSS Open Water Activity Supervisor Course this summer in the North East. This qualification enables activity supervisors, school teachers and other group leaders who plan to do activities on or near water to learn important lifesaving skills and what to do in the case of an emergency. Pauline would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in taking the course this summer. Email Pauline ( for further details
Great North Swim • 22-24 June 2012 • Windermere, Cumbria.
Swim a mile for your favourite charity in the beautiful Lake district More details at Great North Swim
Make a splash and swim the Mencap Mile • 30 September 2012 • Dorney Lake, Windsor.
Make 2012 the year that you take on a great sporting challenge. Swim a mile for Mencap at Dorney Lake, the stunning world class venue which is the stage for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic rowing competition. To register visit .

Look, everyone is out of step except our Johnny!
There is now little doubt that the attitude of some UK organisation towards swimming in natural water, inland water in particular, is not only unique - it looks increasingly irrational and obsessive.
Take, for example the following extract from the official website of the Yosemite National Park in the States

The dangers in the water • lies, damn lies and statistics

'For water safety advice talk to the cool people in swimsuits not to the wet people in grey suits'

Pete Roberts

Have you ever been bewildered by quoted UK drowning statistics? Warned of catching Weil's disease or of the threat posed by poisonous algae? Read more.. to discover how the health and safety merchants manipulate the media.

The verdict is unanimous • the H&S Bonkers must be stopped
Judges, politicians, those at the helm of the Health and Safety watchdogs, a writer and a scientist (to mention just a few) have voiced their concern over the proliferation of irrational restrictions on recreational activities which has plagued our society in recent years. So who are the Health and Safety Bonkers? Read more..

Extracts from the judgement in the Tomlinson v Congleton BC

HSE clarifies scope of 'Blue Book'

Heath ponds court victory

Environment Agency clarifies its attitude to swimming


Black Park  Read more..

Broomhill Lido  Read more..

Is the tide turning at Rutland Water? Read more..

EU Bathing Water Directive update. Read more..

More support for the river access campaign

Song of The Paddle, is an open canoe forum that is fighting for reasonable access to our rivers. The forum is a hub for river access campaigners. You can help by writing to your MP and voting for the river access campaign on the 38 degrees website.

Bury Lake
Following the latest legal clarifications of operators liabilities regarding swimming in open water there is no longer a justification for keeping traditional inland water bathing sites, such as at Bury Lake, Rickmansworth closed to the public. Read more..

Brereton Heath
Want to know why swimming is still banned in the lake which was at the centre of the Tomlinson case? Read more..

The Pooling Resources Group
The Pooling Resources Group
has been set up to help people campaigning for their local pools

RALSA is an association of clubs & individuals representing wild swimmers. Membership is free and we make no demands. Whether you are a competitive, all year round or recreational summer swimmer, please join us to show your support [Click here]
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