So swimming is a rite of passage, a crossing of boundaries; the line of the shore, the bank of the river, the edge of the pool, the surface itself. ... You are in nature, part and parcel of it, in a far more complete and intense way than on dry land and your sense of the present is overwhelming... In wild water you are on equal terms with the animal world around you: in every sense, on the same level. As a swimmer, I can go right up to a frog in the water and it will show more curiosity than fear. The damselflies and dragonflies that crowd the surface of the moat ignore me, just taking off for a moment to allow me to go by, then landing again in my wake...
Most of us live in a world where more and more places and things are signposted, labelled and officially 'interpreted'. There is something in all this that is turning the reality of things into virtual reality. It is the reason why walking, cycling and swimming will always be subversive activities. They allow us to regain a sense of what is old and wild in these islands by getting off the beaten track and breaking free of the official versions of things. A swimming journey would give me access to that part of our world which, like darkness, mist, woods or high mountains, still retains most mystery.
4 years ago