3 steps from Sofa to Sea

(AKA Wild Swimming Resources and Inspiration)

Thank you to all of you who have come to enjoy a deep dive into the art of winter swimming at my exhibition.

I’ve put together a few of my favourite places to go for watery inspiration. If you have more, I’d love to know about them- I’m definitely of the opinion that sharing openly and widely creates a better community. So with that in mind… here they are:

A chilly Porty swim with swimmers- new and seasoned!

A chilly Porty swim with swimmers- new and seasoned!

1 - Wild Swimming short films

Two of my favourite nights with friends in the past 6 months have been spent with us all cramming onto the sofas, sharing some snacks and watching a collection of short wild swimming films. There are some beautiful, memorable and arresting films out there.

These are my current favourites:

- The Invincibles (will leave you with a beaming smile on your face)

- Tonic of the Sea (Just watch it. Gorgeous. Ride it with her.)

- My Big White Thighs and Me - beautiful, honest and witty

- Johanna Under the Ice - You’ll never forget this one!

- The Dark side of the Lens - not strictly wild swimming but probably the most gorgeous filming I think you’ll ever see by the hugely talented, humble Mickey Smith (er, he’s also in Ben Howard’s band). Probably the original reason I’ve wanted to take photos in the sea.

2 - Instagram scrolling?

Anna and Vicky one morning off Porty Beach

Anna and Vicky one morning off Porty Beach

Then add @WildSwimmingPhotography to your list - Created by Anna Deacon, photographer in Edinburgh, this passion project is now on it’s way to becoming a book in collaboration with journalist, Vicky Allan. They are photographing/interviewing wild swimmers throughout Scotland. The project received huge press coverage after International Womens Day and will be super to watch it grow further as well as providing inspiration to just get out there.

Other gorgeous watery/swim feeds are:

- @viviennerickmanpoole

- @kerstin.kuntze

- @margaretsoraya

3 - Take Action

Anna Wood prepping for a swim

Anna Wood prepping for a swim

If you’re in Edinburgh/ East Lothian and dithering about outdoor swimming, dither no longer. A lot of it is having a fellow dipper… The wild swimming community is welcoming, diverse and non-competitive. If you need a starting point - just send Anna Neubert-Wood a message - @wanderwomenscotland - she is kind, calm and generous and regularly takes people out at Portobello Beach (she also runs WanderWomen which I’ll blog about separately)

If there’s one thing you buy… make it neoprene boots. For me they make ALL the difference for making icy water palatable. (Neoprene is hugely environmentally unfriendly though (petroleum based, currently not recyclable) so keep them safe and use them lots.)

Don’t overthink it.

I’ll never forget Al Humphrey quoting veteran travel writer Dervla Murphy. She said that she

“never regretted going for a swim but often regretted not doing so. “

And she is exactly right.

I do hope you’ve found your starting point for your own adventure…

My exhibition, Plunge, runs until 3 June at The Skylark, 243 Portobello High Street. Prints are available here.