Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain Paperback – 1 Jan 2000
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The British Isles are blessed with a whole variety of waterways often encompassed within beautiful valleys, rolling hills, green fields and rugged coast lines. The presence of a flowing stream, waterfall or an idyllic pond can enhance a picturesque landscape.
While swimming in the moat located in his own back garden, inspired by thoughts of his son's current quest travelling in Australia and John Cheever's classic short story, The Swimmer, Roger Deakin decided he would undertake his own adventure and swim across Britain.
The Rambling Association's Right to Roam campaign is well publicised in the UK, so should that not include our right to swim in our lakes, dykes, and tarns? Deakin was ready to prove it did and planned a trip around Britain which would take him to numerous wild swimming venues.
Waterlog, is Deakin's account of his journey. He seeks out tarns high in the hills of north Wales, swims with salmon in Somerset and eels in the Fens. He describes the nature he sees around him from his unusual perspective inches above water level. His love of swimming away from the confines of a swimming pool comes through strongly in his writing. Wild swimming is an unusual hobby in modern society as we are constantly told how our rivers and lakes have become polluted by large industries disposing of waste via waterways and chemical fertilisers washing off farmers fields into out rivers. During his visit to a weir on the River Avon in Worcestershire, Deakin's hosts and fellow swimmers show him a letter they have received from the local environment agency outlining the dangers of swimming in the river. The letter describes how sewage can constitute up to 80 percent of the river flow and increase the risk of catching Weil's disease. Deakin takes in the scientific argument, arguing that the figures show that very few people catch Weil's Disease in the UK and of those who do, they are invariably not river swimmers.
Deakin has produced a deeply personal account of his journey. He informs us of any cultural, historical or geographic points of interest in a highly descriptive writing style which does not, however, read as an adventure story. Unfortunately, this means there is no climax to the book as a whole, but it does mean each chapter stands alone as a description of each area. Together, they make an interesting read and leave the reader with a wealth of information from an unusual perspective. --Stephen Payne --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A delicious, cleansing, funny, wise and joyful book, so wonderfully full of energy and life. I loved it" (Jane Gardam)
"Highly entertaining...Waterlog is a book about a cold, wet subject written with a warmth and passion it surely deserves, but has rarely had before" (Guardian)
"A wonderful and romantic tale told by a true English eccentric...think Ratty, think Mole, think three men falling out of a boat...enchanting" (Michele Roberts Financial Times)
"A travel book like no other, it is rich and deep with insights on modern Britain" (The Independent)
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Top Customer Reviews
I hate to use the phrase "instant classic" but that is what it is. Beautifully and honestly written but also providing a last look at a countryside and way of life we regrettably left behind in the last century.
Impossible to look at a river, stream or loch in the same way again.
In the unlikely event of me being invited on Radio 4's "A Good Read", this is the book I'd take along. Confidently.
I can't speak highly enough of it. And I only picked it up on a whim in a bookshop.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I started off dipping-! into this book just reading the parts about places I knew but
became immersed-! in it. Read more
Beautifully written, this an emotional and descriptive book, nominally about swimming, but more accurately an autobiographical account of Roger Deakin's journeys around the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Nick on the Hill
Another great book by our lost resource. Deakin uses swimming as a vehicle for expositions on the management (or mis-) of water resources and the history, natural and otherwise,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by driftless
I found this book very therapeutic to read in bed after a stressful day. It is not a page-turner and it doesn't have a gripping or particularly exciting narrative, but there is... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bmerry8
Book arrived on time, in the condition I expected and is as fascinating as I had anticipated. Cant wait to start reading.Published 5 months ago by Wendy McCombes
This is the original wild swimming book, a combination of travelogue and philosophical discourse.
Beautiful, evocative, required reading.
A good book..the author seems a bit eccentric...if you want a clear cut story ..no messing then you may not like it..but its a good story told in a unique way and im enjoying itPublished 8 months ago by jon gibirdi
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