The Outdoor Swimming Society has become the public face of outdoor swimming, working to promote positive attitudes and encourage tolerance. Behind the scenes the Inland Access Group have been working hard to change attitudes and perceptions among those who have the power to grant access to outdoor or wild swimmers.
The first major success was the opening of a public bathing beach at Rutland Water last year. Although it is free to swim here, a massive increase in the use of the car park is not only paying for the lifeguard cover but generating a tidy profit for Anglian Water. Swimming pools and Lidos are as a general rule only kept open by subsidy’s, but the remarkable success of this outdoor swimming attraction will give food for thought among those water authorities with as yet, a less progressive attitude.
The latest success is based on a different model. Although the Beach at Rutland Water has lifeguards, It is possible to open a bathing area without them! Sandwell Council, near Birmingham have opened Swan Pool for wild swimmers to enjoy. The information board pictured above is the result of consultation with the outdoor swimming society among others and is a clear indicator that in Sandwell tolerance is a reality. Members of the outdoor swimming society should be proud of these achievements, and of the work that is being done on their behalf.
Discover how different attitudes are in Switzerland.
Learn how prejudice towards outdoor swimming developed here in the UK.