Rob Fryer's Wild Swimming Guide, 2013/14 edition
The book for traditional sites in rivers and lakes
950 sites: 652 in the UK, 193 in France + 35 in Ireland + 20 in Spain + 50 overseas + Ratings + Grid Refs + Postcodes + 32 Maps + Disabled Access+ 16 page index used as a Wild Swimming Database by RALSA and a Wild Skating section
Inspired by Roger Deakin's Waterlog, and encouraged by him personally, Rob first published this book (as Rob’s Directory of Cool Places) privately to members of the river swimming club at Farleigh Hungerford, who, back in 2000, had demanded that Rob run off a few copies for them. Since then it has grown in size, scope and detail every year. This year the most useful improvement is the quality and number of maps (now 32), in particular the footpath maps. One such map takes you to a deserted village beside a delightful river in France. Who wouldn't want to follow such an alluring "Treasure map" to find this swim?
It now comprises 268pp double column A4, with 950 wild swimming sites spread over the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and elsewhere. Not a coffee table book, but with over 500 black and white pix it could certainly be called comprehensive. Safety becomes fun with the with easy-to-remember colour safety signs. The huge index makes selecting swims more precise than relying on variable reports from web contributors, as Rob has visited and rated most of the sites in the UK. The two chapters on "wild skating" and its history, not to forget the little quirky anecdotes and stories thoughout round off this record of 14 years' research into an entertaining summer companion.
Call it open water, outdoor or wild swimming, this book contains more information on river and lake swimming sites than any other known publication. The chapter maps show only selected swims so that a quick overview of the best swims in a region is simple. As chair of England's only river swimming club (Farleigh), Rob has assiduously sought out recommendations from members and visitors to the Club. He believes that, like a treasured heirloom, knowing the "provenance" of a site adds to the enjoyment of swimming there. Some site histories and details of lost sites are also given (but not counted). Wherever possible the names that local swimmers use for a site have been used, and other local words mentioned. For instance: What exactly is a goyle? How do you use a skating stave? As chair of the River & Lake Swimming Association (RALSA) he has appeared frequently on TV, always campaigning for the freedom to swim. The next revue of this book will be in the August issue of Wiltshire Life to be published on July 4th
Rob believes in campaigning, which may mean telling uncomfortable truths. Perhaps as a result some people (fishermen?) want this book banned! A bookshop has received requests not to stock it!
The 2013/14 edition is now out of print. Order here online (postage paid) for the next edition or from any bookshop (ISBN 978-0-9538465-6-6). Some bookshops don't like ordering specials. Amazon are not directly supplied, but you can usually purchase new copies from a bookshop sold through Amazon's second hand system, but expect to pay postage extra. DISCOUNT COPIES are available for just £10 by arranging to collect from Warminster, Wilts. Please ring 07733 191395 to arrange, or from call at our discount summer stockists: Devizes Books, Corsham Books, Ex Libris (Bradford-on-Avon), Good Buy Books & Toppings (Bath), Hunting Raven (Frome), Beatons Tearooms (Tisbury), Brendon Books (Taunton), Bailey Hill Books (Castle Cary) or from Stowford Manor Farm, BA14 9LH, 01225 752253, (Cream Teas on the A366 near the Farleigh & District Swimming Club).
For orders of more than one copy or for trade orders ring or email email@example.com
268pp A4 monocolour, paperback, £14.95 inc UK post.
awaiting revised edition:
WILD SWIMMING EUROPE, expected mid Janury 2014, hopefully earlier.
Following the hot summer of 2013, the next edition will consist of 282 pages including additions and revisions to North Wales, Lake District, Scotland, Corsica, Provence and west France, besides the addition of longitude, latitude co-ordinates for all areas, more maps and more detail to existing maps. To add interest, illustrations of historical and nautical events have been added to many maps. Nearly all chapters have now been divided into sections to enable easier access. There are also revisions to Spain and Italy and now maps of Iceland and the Yucatan in Mexico. The wild skating section (available separately at a later date.) has been removed to make room for the additional 30 wild swimming pages. Although there will be 14 more pages, and well over 1200 sites the website price will remain the same. Advance orders are of course guaranteed the same price and first delivery. Those requiring more than one copy and bookshops should ring 07733 191395 for terms.
UK inc Post £14.95
Europe inc airmail £19
World inc airmail £25