SWIM creator Liz Richardson Shares Her Top 5 Outdoor Swimming Spots
We caught up with SWIM creator and performer Liz Richardson, who looks back at her favourite outdoor swimming spots and encounters along the way during her first tour of SWIM last year around rural Cumbria, Dorset, Conwall, and Devon. Read on to discover her outdoor swimming highlights.
Next week sees the start of my last tour of SWIM: a show which I started creating before lockdown about the communities of outdoor swimmers I have met, and more specifically, those in my own community who have swam to help deal with grief.
As part of my first tour of SWIM in 2022, as I moved around rural Cumbria, Dorset, Cornwall and Devon, I invited audience members and members of local swimming groups near to the theatres that I visited, to take me to their favourite outdoor swimming spots. I met a huge range of people on my travels and blogged about each of them as I toured. There was a common story: that swimming, especially in cold water, has helped their mental wellbeing and brought something of great importance inti their lives: joy and community.
As I start on my travels around the UK again, I am starting up my blog once more and seeking out swimmers to take me to their swim spots and tell me their story. If you are an outdoor swimmer close to where SWIM is on show (see www.lrproductions.co.uk for dates and venues) then I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, here’s a snippet of 5 of my favourite swims from last year and a few words from my blog about them.
ONE. Sunset Skinnies’ at Calfclose Bay, Derwentwater, Lake District.
“A group of people who didn’t know each other prior to finding each other’s shared passion for the water, who come together to swim, eat and celebrate together. Who make a trip out of a swim, a visit to a restaurant and then to catch a theatre show after. A coming together.”
TWO. Heather at Ullswater, Lake District.
“…moved from the south to Cumbria just weeks before the pandemic hit and then found herself in quite a lonely position…she was intrigued by getting into the water. And 2 years on, Heather is swimming every day to help with her mental health.”
THREE. Ella at Battery Rocks, Falmouth, Cornwall.
“Ella is from Penzance and following alongside a career in music, took her swimming up a level following having a child. Ella did her lifeguard training and now also runs a sea swimming course company called Wild Edge Swim.”
FOUR. 200 audience members, Trebah Gardens, Cornwall.
“There was this constant stream of swimmers who swam over to me and shared in their stories- similar stories of tragedy and loss, like the show, but a feeling of release now…it was absolutely electric… then suddenly 2 seals bobbed their heads out right near the shore to see what all the commotion was!”
FIVE. Lynne, Trinniman’s pool, Dorset.
“Such a bubbly happy woman is Lynne. A pleasure to be with. She tells me how she only got into swimming a couple of years ago but now regularly tells grumpy-looking people: ‘You need a swim love!’”