They wore wetsuits, swimsuits, gloves and other swimming gear to celebrate their bodies and those of women around the world for International Women’s Day 2019. The event was organised by activist Danni Gordon of the Chachi Power Project and photographer Anna Deacon of the Wild Swimming Photography Project. Among those taking a dip were some of the UK’s most intrepid and high-profile swimmers including ‘Thames mermaid’ Lindsey Cole. She said: “For me jumping in wild water is like injecting unicorn blood into my veins. It makes me feel wonderful and it’s incredibly addictive.”
The event began with a safety briefing. At this time of year it is dangerous to stay in for too long. After a quick three minute dip the swimmers came out and warmed up by the bonfire with tea and cake.
The Wild Swimming Photography Project and The Chachi Power Project wants to encourage people to get out there and show the world who you are, be proud of your body and set an example to the younger generation of how they can be proud too.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
Many women suggested that they felt uncomfortable in a swimming pool environment, but had found new confidence when swimming in the wild, and within a community that is warm and inclusive.
The Young Women Lead Committee organised by YWCA Scotland is exploring the relationship young women have with sport and physical activity, and issues that might prevent participation.
Danni Gordon gave evidence at the first committee meeting at the Scottish Parliament arguing a large percentage of the drop off was to do with body image issues and the way social media and diet culture has warped our attitudes.
Wild Swimming has been a growing trend across the UK with some groups having thousands of members and informal and organised swimming events taking place throughout the UK.
There has been increased interest in the sport after the release of The Ponds: a film documentary focused on those who swim year round in Hampstead Heaths Swimming Ponds.