Loons urge others to go wild about cold water swimming

Lochaber Loons take to the chilly waters to explore the multiple benefits of cold water swimming.

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There has been a lot of hype around wild swimming recently, especially during the pandemic when the need for boosting one’s mental health was at its most critical, writes Savannah Cobb-Thomas.

Whether a toe dipper, a seasoned veteran, or even a complete newbie, local groups are available for you to get a feel for it or even just for some swimming company.

Lochaber is favourably blessed with an endless list of swimming locations, salt or
fresh water, not to mention the incredible backdrops, making it the perfect place to
start wild swimming.

The Lochaber Loons have established themselves in a little corner of Facebook and are happy to welcome new additions for their weekly dips. Anja Baak, one of the admins and founder of the Lochaber Loons Facebook group, started the group after
noticing how popular the activity was on her own swims and saw the opportunity for a
community to form. Hoping that community would encourage others to join too.

While wild swimming is not a modern concept, the pandemic has caused a resurgence in the trend, with many rediscovering the benefits of this immersive activity.

Speaking to the Lochaber Times, Anja said: ‘Cold water swimming allows stress to float away.’ A crucial tool for many during the pandemic.

The benefits of cold water swimming are well documented, from the natural high your body experiences to the improved circulation and the strengthening of your immune system.

Lochaber Loons admin Jen Deschenes added: ‘There is no better cure if you are feeling a bit lost or foggy headed than taking a dip in a cold loch or the sea.

‘No matter where you are at you will emerge fresh and with a renewed sense of faith in life.’

Fellow member Hannah Barnes agreed whole heartedly.

‘Cold water swimming sets you up for the day through giving you the confidence to
know that you can overcome the uncomfortable,’ she told us.

‘You can build your body’s resistance. After a year I now find it so much easier to get in.’

The community of a wild swimming group also provides a sense of camaraderie.

Loons member Suzy Devey said: ‘As a group you are all together helping each other overcome the challenge.’

‘Finding a group is such a nice way to begin wild swimming if you fancy it but are nervous to start’

Hannah Barnes adds that: ‘Wild swimming is a leveller as anyone of any age or ability can join, it really is an activity in which anyone can experience the benefits right away.

It is clear to see the benefits of wild swimming, and how wild swimming communities, such as the Lochaber Loons add to them.

‘Because you’re with a group, even if it is raining you go in because of this camaraderie,’ adds Hannah.

‘It is a craving,’ concluded Anja, ‘even the members of the group that couldn’t have imagined involving themselves in this activity are hooked.’

The reported benefits do seem to be overwhelming, it is no wonder it is Britain’s latest craze.

Join the Lochaber Loons Facebook page to find out more.