Is this the real life or is it just fantasy?
Our Sceptered Isles unique culture is
standing in the way of the free swimming movement. Across Europe and
throughout America, outdoor swimming is a given during the summer
months, but not so in good old Blighty.
Outdoor swimmers, wild swimmers, whatever they prefer to be called are increasingly frustrated at the swimming restrictions
imposed upon them. True the risk of unsupervised outdoor swimming is
greater than swimming under the watchful gaze of lifeguards at an indoor
pool, but is it morally right to lock swimmers out of sight even if out
Surely no one would suggest that cyclists
give up the open road in favor of a spin class, even if that meant they
could never again have an accident.
No one would insist that marathon runners
compete on tread mills rather than training and competing in the
street, no matter how fancy the setting.
But uniquely in England, swimmers have
had their freedom curtailed. The great outdoors is out of bounds to the
vast majority of budding enthusiasts. Is their any wonder that swimming
is in decline? Of course you cannot monitor every pond, riverbank and
lakeside across the country and so scare tactics have been employed to keep swimmers under control. From an early age we are indoctrinated with the teaching that if we swim in rivers and lakes we are dicing with death.
However a new movement, entirely separate
from the wild swimming community is raising the issue of prejudice in
the swimming environment.
The outrageous suggestion has not only
been muted, it's being implemented; to go ahead and build a natural
swimming pond in Kings Cross.
This building site location will be
transformed into a swimming pool oasis for local residents and visitors.
Entrance prices will be comparable to local swimming pools and although
unable to accommodate up to 2,000 bathers each day as the larger pools
in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy do, this small pool is still
big enough to welcome 163 bathers each day in warm weather.
Like so many pools across Europe, this
bathing oasis will have it's waters naturally cleansed using plants to
filter out impurities just as happens in a natural pools.
It seems ironic that with all the natural
pools across the country this man made pond will be the first of its
kind in the UK. But in early 2015 and for 20 glorious months thereafter,
Kings Cross will become a swimming mecca.
This pool will put outdoor bathing on
public display, it will achieve what has not been possible until now, it
will show that outdoor swimming is acceptable, desirable and achievable.
If you would like to know more about the
changes London will see over the next few years why not visit the Roca
London Gallery and see the free exhibition: Urban Plunge.
To understand the British prejudice towards outdoor swimmers please see the book: Hung Out to Dry Swimming and British Culture, but be prepared, read this book and you will see the British as never before!
If you are not convinced that outdoor swimming is possible without leading to disaster you might enjoy my video featured below:
Just as we had to learn the Green Cross
Code before being allowed to cross the road on our own, both adults and
children need re-educating in water safety.
Please see advice for adults and teenagers…
Also advice for parents and children…
Please don't be guilty of prejudice.
Before deciding that outdoor swimming is too dangerous for the UK take
this short test and discover how sports compare when it comes to drowning risks…
The Sun is to Shine as King’s Cross Pond Club Opens to the Public!
A great weather weekend is on the way as King’s Cross Pond Club opens to wild swimmers!
King’s Cross Pond Club opens on Friday 22nd May…
To find out more and to enjoy a dip yourself, please visit King’s Cross Pond Club
Berlin Canal Could Soon Transform Into The World's Largest Swimming Pool
River Swimming in Berlin
fastcoexist.com reports: "Germans could soon recapture an idyllic part of old city life: Being able to jump in the river for a swim whenever you want.
One hundred years ago, anyone who wanted to go swimming in Berlin could jump in the local river at one of 30 bathhouses. That all changed when the city built a new sewer system that overflows into the river every time there's heavy rain. A new project hopes to make a section of the river clean and swimmable again creating the largest pool in the world, at almost 2,500 feet.
Wild Swimming in Berlin
The project would transform a side canal that has been closed to boat traffic for the last decade. At one end, a natural filter, made of layers of gravel and pollution-eating plants, would purify the river water flowing into the pool. A bypass would send sewer water in another direction, and the top of the structure would turn into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. The beginning of the canal would be "re-naturalized" into a refuge for urban wildlife and a new park.
"The steps necessary to convert the river arm into a swimming pool are surprisingly simple and very cost-efficient," write architects from Realities United, the firm leading the project, who first had the idea in the 1990s. Now, as the city has changed two decades after reunification, they think the time is finally right to build it. The team will finish a feasibility study next year and is working on getting approvals from the city.
"The idea is not just about swimming, or ecology," says Grammaire. "It's also about how we treat public space." "
Similar ideas are in progress for New York, and London.
Urban Swimming is great fun as I discovered on a recent trip to Switzerland:
Baines des Paquis - Inspiration for the Thames Baths Project
Geneva City of Peace
The first thing that strikes you as a swimmer in Geneva is the colour
and clarity of the water. Then their is Jet d'Eau the city's most
Water is celebrated in Switzerland and
the freedom to swim and have fun is a national institution. Their are so
many places to swim on lake Geneva and in its rivers that I have given
up hope of compiling an exhaustive list. Often bathing sites are not
signposted so you have to keep your eyes open. Look out for ice cream
signs! When on the road many swimming venues are signposted - see below:
Be aware that these signs may point to
either a man made lido, river or lake swimming. Swimming is swimming in
Switzerland wherever you care to go.
Baines des Paquis
Its well worth paying the 2 Francs and visiting Bains des Paquis.
Even if you are not wanting to swim, eating in the restaurant is part of the Geneva experience.
The swimming facilities here are extraordinary and although it looks cool in the pictures, the water is in fact quite warm.
This facilities include children's areas, a beach, pontoons, diving boards, a climbing wall - island, ping pong, table football, a sauna and a succession of art displays and special events. check out their website before you go.
When visiting this lido, architect Chris
Romer-Lee of Studio Octopi was inspired to think of ways in which we
might incorporate a swimming experience to the Thames in London. The Thames Baths Project
is the result and proposals to build three swimming baths in the center
of the city are progressing with gusto. This is not some Disneyfication
of the Thames but rather an effort to connect Londoners and visitors to
a regenerated waterfront and a cleaner river.
Take a look at The Good Old Days
Discover the JOY of swimming in Switzerland!
Thames Swimming Pool – Hard to Believe but its Actually Happening!
With 10 hours to go the Thames Baths Project has exceeded its target by raising in excess of £140,000 on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
The proposed pontoon would rise and fall
with the tide, providing and oasis for wild swimmers right in the heart
of London. The filtered, heated water will provide for visitors an
experience that has been lost to the British in recent decades, a view
of London mirrored at eye level by the waters of our greatest river.
The planning application is expected to
go through this year. Building work should commence in 2016 with the
first swimmers taking to the waters in 2017. If we are not careful
visitors may soon start to think the Great Britain is part of Europe
Visit the brand new King’s Cross Pond Club which opens today!
Discover why the British were chased out of rivers and lakes in the first place.
See how attitudes are so different here to those across Europe and America…
Urban beach gets go ahead in Dún Laoghaire - Ireland
The Irish Times reports:
"A €2.5 million "urban beach" and outdoor swimming pool at Dún Laoghaire harbour has received planning permission.
Almost a year after the
plan was lodged by Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
County Council approved it for development.
council and the harbour company are to jointly fund the project. It
includes an artificial beach and cafe as well as a floating swimming
pool with heated, treated seawater built on a converted river barge
located beside a berth within the harbour.
The beach will be
overlaid on the existing concrete structure of berth 1 at the East Pier
in the harbour. Planned facilities alongside the beach include changing
rooms, toilets and showers contained in eight single-storey
"architectural modular pod structures".
The development will operate for six months a year."