Edited by Kathy Rogers
Written by Poonam Ahirwar, Jessica McElhattan,
Alice Noel, Eleanor Quinn and Rebecca Wales
Published by Vertebrate Publishing
The yellow pages of inland outdoor swimming locations!
I have been given this book by the publisher and the review is my own uninfluenced thoughts. I give this book 4/5
Discover within this ideally sized book an index of 400 inland outdoor swim locations, from pools, lidos, lakes, lochs, quarries, reservoirs, tidal pools…. All across England, Scotland, and Wales. Each location has an address, contact info, facilities symbol, access info, description and colour coding for type of swim spot. This is an inviting book with helpful colour coded pages to identify which sections refer to which part of the UK. 100% this is up there on my gift list for non-coast based swimmers.
My first impression when this book came through my door was that of excitement. Here I held a unique resource of outdoor inland swim locations. As someone who came to outdoor all-year-round swimming as a way to cope with stress of relative homelessness and relocating often around the south west of England, a book like this would have been a huge help when finding swim spots, especially ones open all year.
The first thing I did on opening this book was look for my own favourite swim locations. I was disappointed to find many of them were not included, and some such as Bray Lake are very popular all year round swimming lakes. Also missing from my own south west swim collection was Denham lake, Merchant Taylors and Hannam’s Lake, however, this just shows how many locations exist in the UK. Though, I did learn there is a lake at Hemel I had only heard rumours of. Until now with this book, to find inland swim locations you had to be in the swim network, whether through facebook groups or talking post swim over a brew with other swimmers.
The second thing I did was look at the what local swim spots are in this book local to me, and a firm favourite was included, but also a rather odd choice of loch, but to be fair, I had swam there. The loch used by the local triathlon clubs was not included, and unfortunately one loch location included saw a few drownings this year. The one thing I do not like are the maps. The maps are block colours with a couple of place names on them, making them almost useless, but I am a bit fussy about maps. Having just handed over content for my own soon to be published guide book, I now have a full appreciation of the work that has gone into researching this book. Congratulation to all the content authors!
I love the photos, the power of all this swim knowledge in one place, the colour coding and simple but effective information provided in the introduction. If I was still living inland, in England, and in my camper van this would be a go to book for me, wish it existed 3 years ago!