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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight
Kate Rew, founder of The Outdoor Swimming Society, and her team have put together a beautiful book. It combines coffee-table weight and quality with a genuine and infectious enthusiasm for swimming miles away from the chlorine and concrete of a typical municipal pool.

Having said that, of the 307 sites listed (108 described in detail), 106 (including the...
Published on 21 Jun 2008 by A. Deacon

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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but not very practical
This is a nicely wrirten book with some good photography, but it is not very practical as a guide book: the structure is confusing (there is no regional order) and it feels more for the hardcore, experienced outdoor swimmer than those who, like me, are looking for more fun days out or places to explore and take a dip with my family.

Also I was disappointed that...
Published on 16 Jun 2008 by M. E. Amyatt-leir


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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight, 21 Jun 2008
By 
A. Deacon (Bristol, Britain) - See all my reviews
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Kate Rew, founder of The Outdoor Swimming Society, and her team have put together a beautiful book. It combines coffee-table weight and quality with a genuine and infectious enthusiasm for swimming miles away from the chlorine and concrete of a typical municipal pool.

Having said that, of the 307 sites listed (108 described in detail), 106 (including the Serpentine) are lidos or similar. It could be argued that this is a high proportion for a book titled "Wild Swim", but even if you do not care for regulated swimming that still leaves you over 200 truly wild spots.

The book is illustrated throughout with professional-quality photographs. These tend to be arty rather than informative, but they do achieve what is no doubt the main aim of the book: To make you want to get out there and get wet. And it is probably more important to create and encourage that desire than it is to select a particular swimming destination.

The text is as good as the photography. Often the author comes across locals who have been swimming at a spot for years. She chats engagingly about the people she meets. Each conversational snippet gives us either something about the location or perhaps a new way off thinking about wild swimming. Kate is good at the little personal touches that can describe a place better than a more prosaic style.

Sample text from an old favourite of mine (Farleigh Hungerford AKA Stowford Manor Farm in Wiltshire):
After a swim you can amble barefoot up to Peter's farm for a cream tea surrounded by trailing pink roses. "Sorry no milk for a few days as the cow's had antibiotics" says a sign on the fridge.

Don't know if they still sell raw milk from that fridge - they did last time I was there. It tasted good and had a surprisingly yellow tint. The farmer - I thought his name was Philip not Peter - explained to us that this was usually the case in the spring when his cows were munching grass at its greenest.

There is only one map in the book, a double-page outline of Great Britain with the 307 sites marked numerically in coloured blobs - blue for sea or tidal pool, green for river or estuary, red for lake pond or tarn, orange for lido. The book itself is divided into these categories. I should have preferred the book arranged by region. This would save a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the national map and the site description pages. Lidos, Tidal Pools, Triathlon Training Sites and "Festive Swims" are however each sub-listed by shire in an appendix. But Rivers and Lakes are not. Eh?

Some of the locations have OS grid references and/or post-codes listed for them, some do not. Maybe it is the harder-to-find sites that have the grids, you would need to spend a few years visiting the sites from the book's directions before you could say for sure. Meanwhile I should be inclined to trust to Kate Rew's judgement.

I am biased as I like maps, but I do feel some small location maps would have been helpful. After all, there is a fair bit of white space in the book. OS-style would have been best, but maybe that would have incurred licensing fees. I feel the book is not really complete in itself as a guide to swimming sites. You ideally also need a good collection of OS maps and/or access to googlemaps.

I almost gave the book 4 stars not 5 because of this lack of maps. But because the book is so good in every other way, I am happy to give it 5.

You will no doubt be also considering Daniel Start's "Wild Swimming". Briefly, Kate's book is bigger than Dan's (though has fewer pages), is hardback not paperback, has more professional photography. And yet at £11.24 compared to £14.20 is cheaper (or was when I purchased, prices do change on Amazon of course). Dan's book feels more amateurish, albeit charmingly so, with photos that remind you of your all-time favourite snaps of friends or family splashing about having fun. This does however help natural joy to shine forth from Dan Start's book.

I bought both books in one go to get over Amazon's £15 free postage hurdle, and am glad I did. I am happy to own both and look forward to many summers of fun. But if you buy only one of the two, Kate Rew's Wild Swim is better value.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 18 July 2008
By 
Y. Lev (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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Having read all the previous reviews there is little left for me to add. This is a marvellous achievement and a great contribution towards making open water swimming accepted in the UK as, indeed it is everywhere else in the world. Congratulations to Kate for flowing (sorry..) text and to Dominick for some stunning photography
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice book, strangely organized though., 28 Dec 2008
This is a really nice book for a read or browse at home. The swimming sites aren't listed geographically though, so if you're planning a holiday, in Cornwall say, you have be constantly flicking around the book to find relevant listings. This means you almost need to make notes to make use of it. Otherwise very interesting.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lyrical genius, 15 July 2008
By 
Ms. J. A. Eede (London UK) - See all my reviews
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Kate Rew is quite simply a lyrical genius - a unique voice - on every page of Wild Swim you can smell, taste and feel the water and the elements she describes ... it's magical, poetic and funny at the same time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Swim, 4 Feb 2009
If you love swimming, this is the book for you! Brilliant - couldn't put it down. Excellent photographs too. Covers outdoor lidos, rivers, estuaries, sea, lakes all over UK. I am definately going to trying out some of these swims!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Descriptive genius.....now where did I leave my goggles?, 10 July 2008
"Wild Swim" is a must have book for water lovers everywhere!

If you love the outdoor life and have a sense of adventure, you will discover many stunning swimming spots that will inspire you and make you feel alive. If, on the other hand you prefer a more sedentary lifestyle, the book is worth having simply to enjoy Kate Rew's beautiful descriptions and amusing anecdotes of her trips around the UK in search of the perfect swim.

Dominick Tyler's photography is stunning and compliments the text well, inspiring the reader to dig out the goggles (togs optional) and get out there. Unlike most guide books this one really is worth reading cover to cover.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but not very practical, 16 Jun 2008
By 
M. E. Amyatt-leir "mungojumbo" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a nicely wrirten book with some good photography, but it is not very practical as a guide book: the structure is confusing (there is no regional order) and it feels more for the hardcore, experienced outdoor swimmer than those who, like me, are looking for more fun days out or places to explore and take a dip with my family.

Also I was disappointed that after buying the book that half of the wild swims listed are outdoor swimming pools, which aren't particularly wild or that hard to find anyway!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 Jun 2008
By 
John Greenhalgh (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book based on an extract published in The Guardian. This book is both a wonderfully presented piece of photo art, the kind of thing I'd put on a coffee table if I had one, but also a pretty inspiring list of wild swim locations brought to life through wonderful prose. Each location is explained through anecdote rather than a technical description of the site, but this works well; it makes you want to get out there and go for it! The book is well indexed and cross referenced making it easy to find somewhere suitable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really liked this book, 29 July 2011
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This review is from: Wild Swim (Paperback)
A very well written book, illustrated with wonderful photos that make you just want to get out there and swim. Great to flip through for the pictures alone, but so much more;This book gives details of where to go and how to get there along with some personal experiences and wise words from Kate Rew.
Less biographical than Waterlog,Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain it describes the individual personality of each swimming experience, from wild and isolated mountain streams to sunwarmed secluded rock-pools. Even if you never intend to wild swim this is a lovely book for daydreaming that one day you could.Wild Swim
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but not very practical, 9 Jun 2008
By 
M. E. Amyatt-leir "mungojumbo" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a nicely printed hardback book but I didn't feel it was as useful as the description makes out.

It's very confusing to use: the order of the swims is scattered across the country, so it's not so easy to turn to a county/area and find cool places to swim. While nicely written with some good photographs, the coverage is a bit thin (half the 'wild swims' are outdoor pools for example) and the layout a bit heavy, with the photographs not always seeming to tie in with the area you are reading about

Like the other reviewer I also bought 'Wild Swimming'. I actually much prefer its layout and photos. Its text focuses more on the wild places left in Britain, the wildlife and the history of wild swimming there. It seems better researched (e.g. it includes water quality) and there is more for families and thus it is a more practical guide.

Wild Swim is nice, but seems aimed more for the hardcore outdoor swimmer.
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Wild Swim
Wild Swim by Dominick Tyler (Paperback - 16 April 2009)
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