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Everything you ever wanted to know about wild swimming

Wild Swimming Brothers

June 21, 2021

Wild swimming is like a secret society these days. With those 'on the inside' having access to a whole new type of outdoor euphoria, connection with nature and mind-body experience.

The good news is, this is no exclusive club. Wild swimming is for everyone. And Wild Swimming Brothers Jack, Calum and Robbie are here to get your psyched and ready.

For those that are curious, seeing people jump ecstatically into cold lakes and hammer through ice with nothing but a swimming costume on can be simultaneously mesmerising and horrifying. If you're wondering how you can get a slice of the magic but have no idea how to start, this episode is for you.

To find out how to get started, what to wear, how to find your first spot and other tips, tune in! Plus, there's a wild swimming quiz at the end and really, who doesn't love a quiz?

guest links

show notes

  • Becka update - circular economy
  • Covid update from Europe
  • Wild swimming around Europe highlights
  • Quick fire questions - lakes, rivers or sea?
  • Wild swimming rules, regulations, and law
  • Rewilding water ways
  • Roger Deakin's book Waterlog
  • Cold water and ice swimming
  • First wild swimming ventures and how to begin - top tips
  • Swimming through Artic Maelstroms with jellyfish
  • Martin Strel and swimming for 89 hours
  • Freediving, Fast swimming
  • Wildlife and swimming
  • Lynne Cox's book Grayson
  • Quiz answers

FULL transcription

Wild Swimming Brothers  0:00  
He basically drinks a liter of homemade wine every day when he swims. And he's swam the Yangtze, the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Dan knew he once tested how far he could swim in one go and managed about 300 miles in nine hours of concept consuming.

George Beesley  0:30  
Hey, it's George, and welcome to the call to adventure podcast. We are on a mission to help create happier people and a healthier planet. So let's get after it. Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of the call to adventure podcast with me George Beesley. I hope you're all good listeners. As you know, the UK is starting to open up after lockdown and we're actually going to be able to get away on some summer adventures which is super exciting. So if you're pumped to get back out and head into the outdoors and book a trip, head over to corporate venture.uk you'll find all sorts of adventures to join us on got everything from mountaineering to rock climbing stand up paddleboarding to bike packing, and of course, wild swimming. Go over and check it out. But now on to today's pod. Just as a quick heads up, we're going to be doing a quiz. So if you want to join along then just grab a pen and paper now so you can play to where once again joined by my co hosts Becker and today we're speaking with the wild swim brothers Calum Jack Robbie the trail have done loads of awesome wild swimming expeds including 90 miles swim from the source of the river Eden to its mouth over nine days a world first Maelstrom crossing in the Arctic Circle in Norway, and even crossing continents swimming from Europe to Asia in the Hellespont racing Turkey. Without further ado, let's get cracking Becker. How's it going? Yeah, good. Thank you. How are you? Well, actually, I'm a little bit under the weather today wondering if I've got a little bit of the old Corona. But hopefully now Fingers crossed. I don't I mean, I'm feeling okay, just a little bit. Not quite right, but have a sore throat. And I'm here in Sweden. And but we say that Sweden is the land where Corona is but a whisper because nobody really seems to believe that it's kind of a thing here. Nobody wears masks. Everybody's very, very chilled about it. There's a bit of social distancing. But otherwise, it's pretty relaxed. So I'm coming back to the UK in a couple of weeks. So I think it will be probably just at the right time, they're getting a third wave here. So I'm gonna nail it just getting back as the UK opens up, you guys did say you needed a few more foreign variants. So I'm very happy to do what I can with bringing those back. Becca, you mentioned that you wanted to share the right to repair piece that you came across earlier. Can you tell us a bit about that.

Wild Swimming Brothers  2:45  
It's a great new law that's going to come in the summer. And it's basically to try and protect the environment. The aim of the new role is to extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years, and manufacturers will be legally obliged to make spare parts of products available to consumers. And that's the first time that that's been made illegal requirements. So hopefully white goods and electrical items will last a bit longer. And we won't have to keep buying new and checking things into the landfill endlessly.

George Beesley  3:15  
Yeah, I think that's awesome. I've been speaking a lot recently with my girlfriend about circular economy. And she's doing just a piece on it on her course now. And she was kind of saying, Oh, it's so annoying that nothing's actually being done. And then you see things like that. And it shows you that there's a bit of hope, like legally mandating that spare parts have to be made available. So we don't just have to chop things away and buy new ones is really good way to progress. So some good environmental news camp two is booming. So if you fancy booking camper van and getting out there, then head over to camp two. But now let's head on and get into today's show. So we're speaking with the wild swimming brothers, Robbie, jack and Calum Robbie. How are things going and where are you coming from to us in the world right now. Hello, we

Unknown Speaker  3:57  
are speaking to you from Bratislava. In Slovakia. Yeah, I live here with my wife. She's She's Slovak.

George Beesley  4:05  
I didn't know that you're out there. How's how's the old COVID situation out there?

Unknown Speaker  4:09  
Not not great. To be honest. It's not too good. It was very good the first time around, but it's Yeah, been much worse now. But I think it's quite tricky with having five countries around you on your borders as well. So it's quite difficult to control that. But I'm quite lucky. I mean, my situation not too bad. And I've got a lake nearby, so I can escape out there for some swimming. So that keeps me sane. Oh, yeah, I

George Beesley  4:34  
was gonna say how's the wild swimming there? Is it as popular as it is in the UK?

Unknown Speaker  4:38  
It is popular? Yeah, I would say it's less of a thing. It's not really something that's been kind of given a name. It's just something that people do but it's actually the especially ice swimming is really popular in like the Central European and Eastern European countries. So yeah, it's just like our swim through the winter as well and then you always go down to the lake and see some The old grandma cracking down on the ice to get in. So, no, it is actually pretty popular. Yeah, I've

George Beesley  5:06  
been up here in Sweden kind of here and back home through the winter and first kind of venture into ice swimming this year, which has been pretty exciting. But we'll we'll get into all of that little bit later. JACK, how's it going? And where are you coming from

Unknown Speaker  5:21  
now? Good. Thank you. I'm in London. So we're just coming well with looking at the end of lockdown fairly soon, hopefully in the polls are starting to open back up at the end of this month. But I've been swimming for about two months, so I'm drying up and missing it badly. I'm very jealous of Robbie when he posts pictures of himself in a Slovakian lake. Yeah. Are you a LIDAR swimmer?

George Beesley  5:43  
Or do you have a kind of few spots? If you've got some secret spots? You don't have to share them. But where are you like good London outdoor swimming spots.

Unknown Speaker  5:51  
So I'm in Hackney, I'm in North London. The West reservoir center did the first season of Coldwater swimming this year. So I was able to go there and swim early into into this year, the West reservoir and then there's not really many wild swimming options. There's without going outside of London there's not much as the odd river but they're all pretty risky. But my local LIDAR is just across the road is London field slider which is heated so that's very luxurious. When we get back to it. Oh, nice. I

George Beesley  6:19  
didn't even know that was a thing.

Unknown Speaker  6:21  
The London light Oh, London feels like I opened the year I moved out which is cutting, but I did have a party in there when it was empty, which is great.

George Beesley  6:33  
And Callum, how about you? Where are you coming from?

Unknown Speaker  6:35  
I've been doing my best dried prune impression along with jack. I'm in London. I'm south of south of the river. So I'm near Brixton and the I've been been in London through lockdown. And as jack said, when the poles got taken away, that was a real real tough blow my local lighters Brockwell. lordosis, about five minutes away, and I'm missing it missing a lot.

George Beesley  6:56  
Yeah, and it Brockwell used to I was in tooting back. So we did have teaching back glide over but occasionally we take a big adventure and wander on down to Brockwell. So yeah, it's gonna be really nice when things open up again. I think everybody's pretty pumped for getting outdoors again. So yeah, it's gonna be it's gonna be good fun and not too long to go now, so everyone's frothing at the bat. Well, to kick things off, we've got some listener questions that are just kind of like quickfire a little bit silly questions, just so listeners and and we can get to know you guys. So we'll just go through we'll go Robbie, jack Calum it can be kind of quickfire. But feel free to elaborate. You guys ready? Yeah, ready? Yeah, sounds good. Robbie. sings we're on a wild swimming podcast. What is your favorite cheese? Every cheese member have to go wild and say mozzarella? stinky bishop. The smellier the better. Oh, yeah. Yeah, can't be be a good stinky cheese. Okay, number two swim hat bubble hat or no hat. Robbie. Swim hat. Swim hat. Okay. Not a fan of the bubble or the no hat. You let this be streamlined.

Unknown Speaker  8:07  
I do I do go for a bubble hat now and again, but uh, no, I think all in all the swim hat yet. Look at the old hair.

Unknown Speaker  8:17  
Yeah, and the swim hat as well. To keep my head warm. Proper swimmers here

George Beesley  8:21  
Callum. But the trend

Unknown Speaker  8:24  
sorry I'm going to complete the trio it's got to be simple.

George Beesley  8:28  
They really are the wild swimming brothers. So number three, post swim drink of choice. Warm apple juice. Hmm that's an interesting one. JACK hot chocolate died probably second you there? Callum? lemon and honey tea snazzy go the bishop cheese Yeah, I hope we can get a picture of that the stinky Bishop and the T shirt waiting there somewhere a sponsorship waiting to happen okay, river see Lake rank them. Lake see River. I'd say river Lake see. Oh, here we go. Now we're really getting into the thick of it. And Helen, I think river sea Lake so you prefer rivers over everything? Yeah, Robbie's last choice I think was river so what is it about a river that does it for you over a car a lake.

Unknown Speaker  9:31  
I think a lot of it we had one grow flowing past the bottom of our garden women grew up. So when we first kind of started swimming or getting into swimming, a lot of it was just splashing around paddling, being kids messing around in the water. So I feel a strong connection to a river because that's kind of where we grew up next to the river IID and you get a lot more variety, you know, twists, turns, bends, waterfalls, weirs, you know rock ledges to jump off, so I think that's why river takes it for me. area. And access is the body of legislation which covers river swimming or swimming in an accessing water, of which the rules in England are pretty complex. So places like Sweden, Scandinavia, Scotland, you have right to Rome, right of access. But in England, you have to access rivers on public land. However, you can swim through private land, as long as you don't touch the banks or the bottom of the river. So you can own the bed and the banks, but you cannot own the actual water flowing downstream. So as long as you float, swim, or kayak, as you go through private land, you can swim to your heart's content all the way source to sea.

George Beesley  10:46  
I think it's very strange the rules that we have that you're allowed to kind of float along the river, but you're not allowed to touch the sides or the bottom. I think not touching the bottom is a particularly interesting one, as if there are lots of people wanting to do that, besides are a bit more understandable. But the bottom is just very strange. So I did see that you guys had posted something with regards to access. So I think it was on your Facebook, and it said wild swimming is booming. But where's all the access. And like you mentioned here, we have kind of right to roam and just basically the rules in Scandinavia or just be thoughtful and considerate, and do what you like, basically. So kind of wild camping or access to pretty much all lammed you can't camp in anybody's garden. But other than that, it's pretty much free rein to take responsibility. So how do you guys think about the rules in the UK? And where would you like to see those go in terms of access points? And what's the kind of situation now

Unknown Speaker  11:39  
that right to Rome seems like that that seems like a universally good rule. It's you look quite enviously at it when you're in a country that doesn't have that the current law that Calum explained is so bizarre when you encounter it first. And I remember having people when we were swimming at the bottom bar garden, sometimes if you were kayaking, a group of friends, somebody would come up and want to tell you off, but then they would say, Well, I can't tell you off until you're on the bank. So they just kind of stand around awkwardly. Even they weren't doing anything wrong. It's just like, it's such a strange rule.

Unknown Speaker  12:08  
Yeah, I think that's quite right. And like you mentioned, as well, there are plenty of other countries with the right to roam where things function perfectly well. So especially like you say, with Scandinavia, with Scotland as well. And I think it changes people's conceptions of how they see the environment and the landscape as well. I think it's just a positive thing moving forward. Like in America, there's some interesting ideas with it, as well. There's one artist from New York called Amy Balkan, who's done some projects where she builds like, kind of fictional parks social, she'll buy air space, she's done it with both water and with air. And she raises funds and then buys the airspace as like a kind of hypothetical sculpture. And then doesn't allow anyone to fly through it or pollute it. And it works with the water as well. So she's done it, like, as I say, with both water and air. And I think things like that, like projects like that are quite exciting to help people realize their perspectives and the way they think about the environment. So hopefully, there could be more of those kind of things in England.

Unknown Speaker  13:15  
That's brilliant. I love that idea. So she's bought a patch of air, how do you buy it?

Unknown Speaker  13:22  
It's Yeah, it's a very complicated, like legal process, she has to raise the funds. And so she raises funds publicly, and then has to go about legally buying or renting like a cubic mass of air or water. And then because she's the like proprietor for a certain amount of time, she can dictate what then happens in that particular space. It's a little bit linked also with like, how, if you think, say, people try and give a financial value to a coral reef in order to stop it being destroyed, or or reverse, but I think these kind of projects are good ways to change the way that people think about the landscape and the environment. Absolutely. I think it's great idea. I'll have to look her up.

George Beesley  14:04  
That is kind of more of a thought provoking project. But there's a lot of emphasis around rewilding in the UK. But that tends to be most of the stuff that I've heard is about buying land, some kind of preserving wetlands, too, but I've not really heard that much about kind of buying and preserving waterways for access for wild swimming. Are you guys aware of anybody who's doing that with a view to kind of buy up these areas

Unknown Speaker  14:29  
to retain access not not of waterways? Like you say a lot of the rewilding projects tend to be relatively wealthy landowners or maybe crowdfunded projects where they purchase a large tract of land, and then rewilding the Isabella tree in the Wilding book, their neck arm. Some of the big landowners in Scotland are doing some big rewilding projects, bringing back the Beaver, which was a recent book where they rewarded and released beavers in Devon in Scotland, but a lot those projects have actually happened almost from like, guerilla conservation that it's not necessarily going through the official channels, or going through Defra, for instance, it's actually, conservationists on the ground, taking taking matters into their own hands, when you look at beavers, which are now all across the waterways of Devin and parts of Scotland, and in the Tay which for us, you know, the concept that we might be able to go for a river swim and see a beaver is just almost magical. You know, I think I've always felt that nature is not something that necessarily happened on a colossal scale in England. So to think that animals that previously went extinct are coming back is kind of magic, but not I haven't heard people looking at, you know, waterways or projects where they're trying to purchase or reward waterways necessarily,

George Beesley  15:53  
it would be something really exciting to do, we should launch maybe a crowdfunder. And make that happen. probably get somewhere where there's good critical mass of people that some way that we could afford, we'll have to talk about that after the show. Okay, great stuff. Well, I think that gave a little bit of an insight Callum to kind of what drew you to wild swimming. But jack and Robbie, I'd be really keen to hear from you like, what is it about wild swimming, as opposed to other outdoor activities that really hooked you to it?

Unknown Speaker  16:20  
Yeah, yeah, I think for me, personally, I quite like a solitary kid. I guess I was quite introverted when I was a kid. So I like things that involve your own imagination. And that crossover point when you go under water is so unique and immersive, that it's hard to find that anywhere else. And it does really unlock parts of your imagination that a lot of other activities don't do so, so much for me the sort of endless opportunities to explore as well. So opens up different landscapes to you can float down rivers and find places you would never go on roads or paths. Yeah, I think we'd always been close to it as well, we were always going up to Scotland, see our grandma and going into the LA scene going into the rivers and the waterfalls and stuff, it was just far removed from your everyday life. And I always found that just really like eye opening and kind of mind opening. And I've really enjoyed it.

Unknown Speaker  17:12  
Yeah, I know, jack Jack's definitely right. I think it's also for us as well, for all three of us, it was something that was completely normalized, right from when we were really, really young kids. So it was just something that we would do all year round Anyway, you know, in winter time, it's would still go to the beach and have a swim in Scotland or wherever we were, we'd always always go in in the sea or in the river. And I think we were encouraged to like treat the water with a lot of respect, but then also to enjoy it and see it as a way to explore and to find new things. And I always think the Roger Deacon quote sums up pretty nicely, which is when he said that he grew convinced that following water or flowing with it would be a way of getting under the skin of things and learning something new. And I think it's really, really true, you know, every time you go for a swim when you're not in a pool. So when you're in the sea, or in a river or something like that, like you really do kind of cross some threshold, and then you kind of go into survival mode and everything else slips away, and you find that pretty nice, like meditative flow sort of state that's very difficult to achieve in other parts of life. So I think that's always been a pretty big appeal for me as well. Yeah, it's

George Beesley  18:20  
certainly something that I've noticed it really feels like an adventure, I think in a way that a lot of other things don't few people do it, which makes it that kind of like little bit weirder and wacky type of typical English eccentric thing to do, especially when it's really cold water. But it's, I think, a great insight into a world that you don't really see very much and yeah, like you say Roger Deakin and his book waterlogged, which I really recommend to anybody is, is does such a good job of illuminating the kind of magic of wild swimming. How about cold waters specifically? So a lot of people like the idea of wild swimming, but they certainly don't like the idea of cold water. So what is it that appeals about cold water swimming, specifically?

Unknown Speaker  19:01  
Oh, I think like, a lot of times when we swim in wetsuits, or we swim or floats, you get critics who pointed out and then so it's not real swimming. And there is something as much as it's painful to admit it, there is something slightly more immersive and just it kind of gripped you more if you swim without anything. So you want to do the full skinny dipping that's like the as far as the pure of the purest form, but just swimming without a wetsuit, just swimming skins. You can't ignore the cold, you can't ignore the Kip conditions when you get in. You have to experience it, you can't shut yourself off from being cold. And it does connect you to a kind of primal part of yourself. And if you share that with other people, it's such an incredible experience. And it's also it's like similar things in life where you can't pretend you can't outsmart it even you just have to experience it and it's free and easy and accessible. You just need yourself in some Trump's in a swimsuit. You can do it absolutely anywhere.

George Beesley  19:57  
Yeah, I like the fact that it requires almost no gear. And yeah, I think there's definitely something to be said about because it feels very natural, but especially like you say, swimming skins. I was swimming in Malmo in the south here and the saunas here, you're not allowed to wear any clothes. So it's all make it smaller and make it swimming. And you kind of feel, especially from our Protestant, Anglo hangover, we'll think it's very weird to be naked. But then after 10 minutes, then you're kind of into it. And then you just get out the sauna, jump in the sea and swim around. And it's the best feeling ever, that sense of freedom, like you say is, is I think in comparable,

Unknown Speaker  20:31  
I used to sort of approach it with a, there's a point where I got like a had to get watch had to get a monitor had to like, be really scientific about it and measure the degrees I was dropping, especially when you get to five degrees. When you get to sub five degrees. The degree makes a huge difference as to how you feel like like a minute longer in the water, and you'll come out and be so disorientated, you can't stand up or you'll feel sick, and then you'd like get like the numbness in your fingers, and then the tightness in your chest and it just becomes not fun. So like if you're not fully a climatized, then you end up just suffering. So it's pointless, but you kind of climatized so that you don't have to suffer every time and the recovery becomes something you can get used to Calum used to sit with a woolly hat on in the sauna at Brock wells drinking his green tea, like fully still be cold. But like,

Unknown Speaker  21:22  
even better now jack, I've got an even an even more extreme recovery, which is it sounds strange, but you have to listen to Viking death metal, and it is a specific band called a mana Marth. And you have to then run back from kaleido while pushing your bike so you can't cycle back because then you're a bit wobbly. But if you just kind of like jog and walk with the bike, by the time you've got home, the recovery is gone. Your warm and toasty, Viking track, I know it sounds stupid, but it's almost like a Pavlovian response really. So every single time before going ice swimming, I would listen to the same band, that's when I would listen to it before I swimming. I almost can't listen to it outside of that now because it just makes me think of cold water so much. But then you you kind of trick your body into a an auto immune response where it's then expecting that which is which is really good because then your heart rate raises and that then raises your core temperature. So by the time you get to the pool, you're actually maybe even if it's half a degree warmer, it can make a little bit of a difference. And also I just like biking definitely also, as

Unknown Speaker  22:34  
Louis, Louis feudalist used to listen to music before he did when he did his swim at the North Pole. Mine is 1.5 degrees or something. A kilometer is one of the things like Puff Daddy and stuff before it was going in, we might have something.

George Beesley  22:50  
So these guys have been swimming for a long, long time. And in cold water as vibe, probably not as long as these guys but it certainly takes a long time to build up to that. And there are a few kind of key safety things. So you'll see a lot of people doing cold water and ice swimming, especially with the winter that we've just had. But you do need to be a little bit thoughtful and a bit careful. So in addition to the couple of things that we've just mentioned, things like always going with other people kind of not pushing your endurance too much starting small. And the time interval that you go in before is surprisingly short. Just last weekend, I think I was probably only in for about six or seven minutes. But I think it was about three degrees. And I had pretty bad after drop, which is the kind of parlance in their in their outdoor swimming society crew for where all the blood rushes to your your kind of core vitals when you get really, really cold. And then you get back out and then all the blood rushes back to your extremities again, and I was pretty close to fainting, I was fighting it pretty hard. So you do need to be careful with this kind of stuff. So yeah, it's all super fun, but just be a bit thoughtful. And these guys are way more experienced than me. So do you have any thoughts on on safety for people trying this kind of stuff, particularly if they're doing cold water swimming?

Unknown Speaker  24:04  
Yeah, I would say it's definitely really important to just do it gradually, like always underestimate what you can do, you know, always do a little bit less because as you explained there like doing ice swimming and stuff. It's not the same as sprinting or lifting weights or something where you can just try harder and you can get better you can put more energy into it, you can push more, but with the cold water, like it's something that you do need to really build up slowly. And then that's that's how people get a climatized. And also the second point I would say is to like use a wetsuit as a tool, because what a wetsuit can give you is it allows you to stay in for longer if you want if that's what you want, you know if you if you are trying to maybe just swim for a longer period of time than a wetsuit will allow you to do that even when the waters colder. So you know, maybe you want if the temperature was pretty cold and you might To go in for five minutes, or you might go in for 20 minutes with a wetsuit and have a more leisurely swim and may even enjoy it more, I think it's really important to think about what you're trying to do, you know, like, what is your actual goal like, that's kind of important to serve as well. But a wetsuit can definitely play a role if you just use it as a tool as a part of the climatization.

Unknown Speaker  25:21  
I think one thing I'd add there as well, which is, it may be made a little bit easier by having two brothers, who were also into swimming is to not do on your own, you know, it's for safety, but also for a shared experience as a social. It's a real bond builder. You may be nervous beforehand, maybe the people who haven't done it before, it's much better to go into a group. And there's a huge community all over the UK or, or Robbie's found them in Slovakia as well. They're all over the world. I've lived in Singapore for a bit and found tons of outdoor swimmers there. So wherever you are, you'll be able to find like minded people who also want to go and dive into some cold water. And there's lots of groups out there, there's the outdoor swimming society in London, the Swindon crew, as every region of the UK will have their own carefully martialed, and extremely serious outdoor swimming group on Facebook, so you could check them out. But that would be my main tip not not to go on your own and go in a group. And if you're inexperienced, just find someone who knows what they're doing.

George Beesley  26:25  
Any other thoughts for people who are listening, thinking I really want to try wild swimming, but they're still a little bit hesitant. They've maybe not done it before, not a great swimmer. So finding a group can be as you mentioned, there, Callum a really good idea. Any other thoughts for people's kind of first ventures into wild swims,

Unknown Speaker  26:41  
I would say to also just have no like big expectations for the first time I think often the for people who've never done it before the first time is kind of the biggest deal. So if you're say you have like found a group or you have some other people who you want to go with, just have Yeah, have no big expectations, I when I swim, like those water, my first training swim was in the wintertime. And honestly, it was no longer than like 35 seconds, it was freezing I'd never like at that wasn't a climatized. And I basically had to swim or I was going to swim, like goes water, which is about just over seven miles. And that was part of an art project. And that was the start of the training. But I said to myself, like, I just need to get in the water. And that counts as the first session. And then the next time I went then it was you know, maybe a 20 meter swim, and then a 50, then 100, then then you build it up to you know, before you know it like 5 6 7 miles, and you can do it. But I think that first hurdle of just doing it is actually probably the hardest to get over. So I would say that, yeah, just have the goal for the first swim to literally just get in the water, and just get back out. If you can do something more than that, then, then that's brilliant. And consider that a big success.

Unknown Speaker  27:57  
Aside from finding people finding a spot as well somewhere that you can go, and the conditions will always change but somewhere that you feel comfortable getting in, it's not going to be too deep, it's not going to shelf too quickly. You know what the grounds like if it's whether it's unsteady or not, or what the temperature might be like just to have conditions that you're kind of in control of early on and not to push out too far. too quickly. I remember when I was trying to swim in the sea, kind of after Robbie from Legos water, I used to swim in Newcastle where I went to uni at time of like the kind of Bay there. And the whole time I just swam within the standing depth and I every time if I felt I was in trouble at all I could just stand up even if there were there wasn't any current for a long time I would just swim up and down this bay at at a depth I could stand at any point and it made me feel comfortable because deep water fear is something that everyone experiences. And everyone talks about and when you swim in the sea, probably why put it last on the list. Deep Water fear is is something you deal with a long, longer distance swims, people talk about like swimming at night and stuff. We start to see like shapes materialized and you imagine that things and you get the jaws theme tune playing in your head. There's lots of things that can can upset you. So it's nice to contract to keep control of conditions while you build confidence. And then you start to know your limits and understand how far you can push yourself. But yeah, I think early on, there's no there's no rush. No one's jumped in and been Michael Phelps immediately so you've just got to take your time and ease into it is supposed to be fun as well.

Unknown Speaker  29:32  
I started wild spring last year in lockdown with lovely women who I met and we used to go to the river ooze and I stopped when it started getting too cold. I've got to say cuz I just felt too cold. But yeah, we kept feeling things within the river with our feet, items brushing our feet. And I was wondering what do you think is the worst thing you've touched with your feet and also What do you know? is square so you've touched me off a jellyfish

Unknown Speaker  30:06  
make massive jelly yeah when we did some swims in the Arctic Circle in Norway, so we swam across some maelstroms there which they have these huge jellyfish called Lion's Mane jellyfish, you get them in the UK and especially around Scotland and Ireland, but the ones in the Arctic surely like the cold water because they seem to be a lot bigger but they're bright red. The body is can be about the size of you know a small dustbin and have really, really long trailing tentacles, and they look beautiful, and we would swimming across deep in the Arctic seagulls overhead and these big red luminous blobs bobbing below, and then you'd occasionally notice one in the distance that was returned. But you couldn't see the tentacle. JACK headbutted one.

Unknown Speaker  30:56  
I did. Yeah. But yeah, I had like gloves on. But then and then I took my glove off at the end that I wondered why I had a pink band around my wrist. And it was just this small gap between the wetsuit and the glove. Were a tentacle wrapped around and give me a nice bracelet.

Unknown Speaker  31:13  
I really, and with that very painful. Is it dangerous

Unknown Speaker  31:17  
that the stings do hurt? But there's stuff like Portuguese man, and was there any dangerous ones? They don't think they're too dangerous.

George Beesley  31:25  
I don't think we'll get those in a bit. touchy River. Yeah, probably small frogs are the biggest things that you need to worry about. Deadly small frogs. Yeah, yeah, those poison dart frogs famous. You mentioned a little bit there about swimming across the Maelstrom near the filter. I didn't actually know what a Maelstrom was until I started doing a bit of research. I knew that it was a ride at Alton Towers that spins around. And then I did you did just mentioned it then. So after googling today, I now know that it's a whirlpool. But can you talk a little bit about that, that kind of Expedition that you did up in Norway, and a little bit about the story behind that? So you mentioned about kind of their friends that you met along the way but yeah, can you just tell that story? Whoever is keen love to hear it from

Unknown Speaker  32:15  
thinking Oh, that was when it all got a bit out of hand. I think the Arctic expedition, we've done the river Eden, and that was a beautiful river in the UK, as we've just discussed, not much more than the old disgruntled swan. So nothing, you know, particularly dangerous and actually as a training swim for that we'd swam across a Maelstrom called the curry wreckin, which is just off the west coast of Scotland, between the Isles of Jura discover its third biggest Maelstrom in the world. We like you had not really heard of a Maelstrom didn't know what it was. But when when we started reading about it, it's where George Orwell wrote 1984 there's lots of ancient Celtic lore around it, and this goddess who dipped her braids into the water, which created the Whirlpool so it was just fascinating to us. And we went there and we swam across that Maelstrom you can do with the experience ship captain who tells you the time to go but once we've done that one that was the third biggest, and I just started wondering, well, what's what are one and two and then more of these, how many of them are there and then the more I looked into maelstroms, the more fascinating they became, there's about seven or eight in the world. They've got strange names like skookum, Chuck and T our mu T. And there's lots of legends and lore surrounding to Ruto, yeah, Naruto in Japan. So that's where it really came from. And then we looked and funnily enough, one and two are both in Norway. So it seems kind of fated for an expedition that it would be relatively easy to get to Norway that they have a strong history of outdoor sports and outdoor adventure, which hopefully would make what we were trying to do easier to explain. And that's really then where it kind of all snowballed from and the three of us found ourselves in the Arctic Circle getting ready to swim across the mosque stralman and the salt straumann

George Beesley  34:14  
what a What an awesome thing to do. I know that you have a short film by the same name of the book that you wrote, but did you film that

Unknown Speaker  34:22  
we worked with a company called click on in London to film that and they were they were really good and they did all the underwater photography and all the they brought the drones and things and we just swam around and tried to make it look good. So that swim across the salt stream and under monster I'm going to both there on YouTube on our YouTube channel, which is the one to whom brothers swim wild is that documentary that we made in the Lake District just kind of our story.

George Beesley  34:45  
It's been really really cool just to have a bit of a dive through your guys experience into wild swimming. So you guys up for a quick quiz before we bring this bad boy home. Sounds good. Absolutely boys up for a quiz. Sounds good. Okay. Do this. So listeners too. You can also play. if everybody's ready. Then we're going to kick off with question one. And by the way, yeah, just just write these down. So you don't need to shout them out. We'll do the answer at the end. So question one, who was the first person swim the channel? A Jeffrey Swan be Matthew Webb or see Stephen Greenwich. I just had to make up that Stephen Greenwich on the spot because for see I've left option three as my thing that I was going to read out. So that's my answer. Can I change? Can I change? So now you've got 50/50? Yeah, I hope Thanks. Okay. Question two. What is the longest river in the UK? A the River Thames be the river Trent or see the river seven?

Unknown Speaker  35:55  
Think and fortunately for us, all of them swung the seven. Yeah, there's the you know, I think there's a wealth gap. So I'm the seven there was a lad about the same time as us who was swam the trend, and quite a few people under the Thames. Most famously David Williams, who apparently had people dragging his wetsuit at the end of the day with a hairdryer.

George Beesley  36:18  
So that's the celebrity Wow, that I thought I think he did. He did very well to swim the Thames though, didn't he? I was kind of surprised because he didn't look in great shape. But I suppose a lot of swimmers down Who was that guy who was in the swimming? Maybe the Amazon and he's Eastern European Martin Martin style. Oh, yeah. What a legend. These guys know his story a little bit. Can you share that? He's a very interesting chap.

Unknown Speaker  36:48  
he's a he's next level man's machine. I think what he basically drinks a liter of homemade wine every day when he swims and he's swam the Yangtze, the Mississippi the Amazon the Dan knew he just goes and does it and his son basically looks after him and does all the organization he's got a pretty amazing documentary where he said pretty much goes insane while he's swimming in the Amazon. But he's he's kind of the most unlikely yet phenomenal endurance athlete, I think. Yeah, if I'm not mistaken, he wants tested how far he could swim in one go and managed about 300 miles. Yeah. Is your 89 hours. Wow. Amazing. enables you 89 hours of concept because

George Beesley  37:36  
I think he might be my favorite person ever. I mean, it sounds like a like a kind of character from a from a film is like a medical version of himself.

Unknown Speaker  37:47  
He's because he also is a guitar teacher and a professional gambler. So and he fiercely obviously, but uh, ya know, he's he's pretty done some pretty amazing things.

George Beesley  37:59  
Yeah, we'll have to check out that Docker.

Unknown Speaker  38:00  
Yeah. Can I can I ask you, you know, if it was a liter of red or whites, I just need to write it into my strategy for Martin would take whatever one was there to be honest. Okay. I love him. I think he says brilliant.

Unknown Speaker  38:14  
I think the attitude is slightly different. Even when, recently we're like a family dinner. Because my wife is Slovak and her grandpa and grandma were there. And our grandma asked, told everyone like, Oh, I'm not I'm not drinking today. Our grandpa was like, Oh, well, no worries, we've got plenty of beer. And he genuinely doesn't consider beer alcohols, which are

George Beesley  38:37  
slightly different attitude under 7%. So doesn't really count. I know exactly what you mean. My partner's parents are polish, and they just bring out the vodka and they don't really see that again. It's kind of like boozing, even though it's 40%. And I remember we're going to play some kind of like it's a bit similar to croquet in the garden, and I think we'd had six or seven shots before the game started. And I was really feeling it, but I feel like they had a very specific resistance to vodka where they were fine middle aged ladies. And I was I was so wobbly. I could I could barely walk. training needed. Okay, question three. What is the world record for the longest underwater breath hold without inhaling oxygen beforehand? pure oxygen beforehand? Is it a eight minutes 48 seconds, be nine minutes and 12 seconds or see 11 minutes and 35 seconds? Whatever it is. It's ridiculously impressive. That's that's a long, long time to hold your breath. Have you guys kind of got into that apnea stuff. interpretive freediving done scuba

Unknown Speaker  39:45  
diving, but never done nothing other than just you know, playing around and see how see how long you can hold your breath. But I would absolutely love to try freediving. That's definitely something on the on the list. Yeah,

George Beesley  39:55  
I think you guys would be really good at it. You've already got such such good swimming tackers and It's quite amazing when they give you these techniques to try. And they're incredibly powerful. I think the first time we're doing dry side apnea. So just like holding your breath lying down on a yoga mat in this class when I first tried it and think my breath hold was something like two and a half minutes or something, and then you do these exercises, you sit up, you do these, like relaxation exercises for about 20 minutes. And then you hold your breath again, and then just lie down. There's somebody kind of coaching you through it, like just relaxing you calm and you like, okay, fine, don't worry, like, everything's gonna be okay. And the guy who we had was kind of like coming up to one minute, coming up to one and a half minutes. And we're actually on kind of four or five minutes. And I think the second time that I did it after just trying these exercises, because they're so powerful, I think it was something like five minutes and 14 seconds or four seconds or something. So it's, it's quite amazing. And then when you go in the water, then you can hold your breath for even longer. I nearly put a question about that. So let me just check that that's not there. But um, yeah, highly recommend everybody taking a look into the world of freediving. I think we might have a few freediving trips coming up. So yeah, if you get a chance, it's, it's a really, really amazing experience. Very, very cool. Question for which country has won the most medals in the feanor? world? open water swimming championship? Is it a Russia B United States or see Germany? I had actually heard of the feanor world open water swimming championships before Are you guys familiar with those? There's a chap who we know from Cumbria who

Unknown Speaker  41:34  
he lives on the lake that Robbie was talking about, which Robbie Swan, locals water, and he lived lives just by Yeah, he's, he was involved with like the Olympics when they have the openwater 10k. In in the UK. And I think he's he wasn't heavily involved in they're just way beyond when you see their times. They're just almost like super athletes in terms of their swimming speed, we would, we would be left trailing in their wake.

George Beesley  41:59  
I have no idea like what a fast swim time would be because I just never time it. And I'm certainly far from a swimming athlete. So how fast are they swimming? What's the standard distance to do? What would you measure over like a kilometer 10k 10

Unknown Speaker  42:13  
K's in the Olympic distance. So carry on Payne, who's a British swimmer who got a silver medal in Brazil Olympics in the 10k. I think her times around two hours or just over two hours for 10k which is obscenely fast. I did a 10k in London royal docks. And I think it took me about four hours. So yeah, that twice as fast as the wild so

George Beesley  42:40  
at least you finish that though that I think there's a lot of people on this call that certainly wouldn't. Me being one of them. So, okay, cool. So fino weld, open water swimming championships done. Number five, how many people died worldwide from shark attacks in 2020? Is it a 10? b 23? Or is it c 37? Ever seen any sharks out and about on your money swims in old water? No, not at all. Sorta.

Unknown Speaker  43:09  
I did some swim in Malaysia, which is a 18k Round Island swim in those a lot of blacktip reef sharks. Not very big. We've not really done any swims where there there have been charts. The only one I've done where there was potential Great Whites is Alcatraz, they never used to think that the sharks would go near Alcatraz, it was kind of a you know, they don't go past the Golden Gate Bridge. But then in 2015, they've somebody a tourist film footage of I think it was about an 18 foot Great White eating a seal right by Alcatraz. So the week before I swim it all of my friends were just watsapp bombarding me with this video message from one of my best friends. And that was fun.

George Beesley  43:54  
Were you doing that escape from Alcatraz or what we

Unknown Speaker  43:56  
were doing that I was just doing it on my own. So I was there for work. And you can charter a captain to crew you and take you across. So I was there for about eight nine days with work and spent the first five days in San Francisco Bay climate tising and got spooked by sea lion and just saw this big black shape appear underneath me let down the skin made a noise that I didn't think I was capable of making and luckily saw a sea lion surface about 50 meters away from me. But yeah, they take you out on the boat is incredibly atmospheric it was rolling fog about six in the morning. They they're kind of over on the radio and they'll be booming out you know, we have a swimmer entering the water swimmer entering the water and you're there and they're kind of getting you ready and there's like three to one swimmer in the water and you have to jump out and then touch the rock and then set off on your swim. So it's I want to go back there one day with Robbie and jack because I think it would just be an amazing one to do together. Yeah, so

George Beesley  44:59  
Sounds good. That sounds absolutely awesome. Yeah, well, we'll be taking a trip there as well won't Rebecca? Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Can I wear a wetsuit though? You can. Yeah, you can wear what you want. Yeah. Oh, great. still count. Number six. What is the fastest swimming fish? Is it a wahoo be a makeover shark or see a black Marlin. I know this one. I did actually see a couple of different answers for this online. So you might get it right. You might get it wrong just through my googling skills. Okay, number seven. Given that we had to get one sustainability related question in here. So how much of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases is absorbed by the ocean? A 93%, b 55% or C 12%.

Unknown Speaker  45:47  
Oh, can we circle back? Has anyone seen the film? About freedivers called the Big Blue?

George Beesley  45:55  
Is that with the French guy, and I think it's called something something, Guillermo?

Unknown Speaker  46:00  
Yeah, that's a really good one. And he just this guy just just dives in. He doesn't have any of the equipment and all of that. So yeah, but a good one to watch.

George Beesley  46:08  
You guys got any top aquatic wild swimming tacos.

Unknown Speaker  46:13  
I think the beef the big river man with Marlon mind styles definitely up there. I've read a book recently called one breath by Adam Skolnick. And he mentioned them that film as well. The big blue set must be a popular one among freedivers I there's one video on YouTube that's called. It's like a Red Bull one was just filming with walkers in the Lofoten islands. And it's absolutely amazing. It's only like five minutes long, but they just, they just film and swim with a pod of walkers. And the orcas come to play with them. And it's just incredible.

Unknown Speaker  46:42  
It's not a not a documentary or film or anything. But I definitely recommend the book Grayson by Lynn Cox. that's a that's a very good swimming book, like very unique as well. She's another phenomenal swimmer, kind of Martin style style. She's really like trailblaze, some incredible routes around the world before a lot of people were trying these kinds of things. And then it's about she goes out for she's swimming in America, and she comes across a baby gray whale. And then she swims with this whale for hours. And the book basically describes this whole experience. But yeah, it's impressive because she also gives a lot of tips and talks about training and her climatization in quite a relaxed way to so in terms of like getting a lot of very good swim knowledge on outdoor and wild swimming, and also one quite incredible experience that without wild swimming, you just never have. I would definitely recommend that

George Beesley  47:38  
one. I'll definitely add that in the show notes. So last question. Number eight. How old was the youngest internationally competitive swimmer when they first competed? A 16? b 10 or C 18. Okay, okay. Answer time, everybody. Good. Everybody ready? Yeah, you know you've not got them. All right, when you've got eight as

well, the first answer is B. So we'll, we'll we'll kick off with that one. But I can tell you that they're not all B. So the first person to run the channel is B Matthew Webb, a 27 year old merchant merchant navy Captain becomes the first person known to successfully swim the English Channel. Captain Webb accomplished the grueling 21 mile crossing which entailed 39 miles of swimming because of tidal currents and he did it in 21 hours and 45 minutes so yeah, pretty awesome thing to do. You guys ever had any desire to swim the channel or not really love to do it.

Unknown Speaker  48:43  
He went on to perish in a Maelstrom to do yeah, there's a Maelstrom at the bottom of the well just below maybe 100 meters downstream from the Niagara Falls, a huge Maelstrom which is formed by the flow of water which passes over the waterfall. And he was almost like a stunt swimmer so he wouldn't just do channels as like a sporting event. It was almost it drew huge crowds he he toured across the US and he had this dream to swim across the maelstrom of the Niagara Falls and attempted it and he was never found. Wow. cautionary tale.

George Beesley  49:19  
Number two, the longest river in the UK is the river seven 354 kilometres so this is I feel somewhat proud of this being the longest river even though I had nothing to do with that I just live on the river seven in England up in Shropshire and it's my regular swimming swimming spot when I'm back home so looking forward to dipping in the seven and a few weeks when I back yet 354 kilometers River Thames is 346 and the river Trent is 298 so yeah Long Way were swam the river seven. Very impressive. Number three what is the world record for the longest underwater breath hold non oxygenated See 11 minutes and 35 seconds misfired holds the non oxygen aidid record which stands at 11 minutes and 35 seconds for men. Humans can hold their breath for roughly twice as long in water are then they can on land due to the mammalian reflex. That's what I was thinking of earlier. So yeah, pretty unbelievable to go 11 minutes and 35 seconds without brain damage. I think that's just unreal. Isn't that crazy? Oh, that's got to be unbeatable as some crazy person will come along and do it. But if you drink a gallon of wine a day, anything's possible. Horse burgers and drinking wine. Number four, which country won the most medals in the FINA World open water swimming championships, which I admitted I knew nothing about. But I was surprised by the winner which was Does anybody know Germany? Russia summit 62, 23 Gold 18 silvers and 21 bronzes so Russians like to swim? Yeah, I thought it was going to be USA for some reason, just because they weren't a lot of stuff. Number five, how many people died worldwide from shark attacks in 2020? I won't be I won't be as well. The answer is a 10. Just 10.

Unknown Speaker  51:19  
That's good. Because sharks aren't. That means that sharks aren't those terrible creatures that go around to humans all the time. They're actually quite peaceful and lovely creatures.

George Beesley  51:28  
Exactly. There we go. Yeah, we're all about conservation on the show. And that's very true. So 10 is is basically nobody from nearly 8 billion people. So according to the University of Florida, I mean, not great for them, obviously, in their families. But according to the University of Florida, the US leads the world and the number of unprovoked bites by sport. 61% of people who are bitten are surfing 26% swimming. So you guys got a one in five chance. 4% free diving 5% body surfing and 4% scuba diving. So yeah, Surfing is really where it's at. I think we're looking like a seal with a with a big fin sticking out. Always something that I'm worried about. I mean, in the UK, don't have to worry at all but the thought of like surfing in South Africa and surfed a little bit in Australia, but all Heebie Jeebies there definitely remember we're actually once surfing in where was it was just net. I think it was maroubra just next to where we lived. And I had a Danish friend Jesper. And his English was pretty good. But we were all in the sea. And we were just like paddling around trying to not die in this ridiculously big surf. And he shouted shark, and everyone just started losing their shit, including me. And he was just like, very confused. And he was just pointing to it like this. And, and he thought that shark meant dolphin. So that was that made for an entertainer. And he's like, no, oh, yeah. No, no, sorry. I mean, dolphin. So very, very excited. That's the wind of the century. That is Yeah, yeah, it was. I wonder if he did really know he just had this. This will be funny, and I can probably get away with it. What is the world's fastest fish? So Becker, take us away? I'm going to be Maiko. Unfortunately, no. It's the black Marlin. Oh, maximum speed 129 kilometers per hour, which is outrageous. Wow. Truly ridiculous. Wahoo in second place with 78 kilometers and the Mako Shark 74 kilometers per hour. So truly crazy.

Unknown Speaker  53:40  
I'm going to be writing a stern letter to the children's book I've got that says that the first species are maker makers, the fastest shark? Oh, yes. You could be right there. You could be right there. Okay, I won't be writing let them

George Beesley  53:54  
find out next week. For the big reveal. Number seven, how much of the heat trapped by ghgs is absorbed by the ocean a shocking 93% a 93%. So according to the New York Times, global populations of fish decreased by 1.4 million metric tons as a result of human induced climate change and fish make up 70% of the protein intake for many people living in coastal and inland areas according to the EU. So some good things to do try and eat local fish. Avoid fish farms, and even though salmon can look like it's nice, even if it's from Norway, it's often from a fish farm. So try and find some wild salmon but do look for that MSC sustainably sourced fish when you're buying it. Number eight, how old was the youngest internationally competitive swimmer when they first competed? I went ambitious and said 10.

Unknown Speaker  54:51  
So did I thought that some little one decade somewhere

George Beesley  54:55  
I went 16 Yeah, the answer is be 10 15 at the age of 10,000, Tareq became the world's youngest competitive swimmer in a world championships. The bar Iranian girl competed against swimmers who were twice her age. She finished the 50 meter butterfly in 41 seconds. quite incredible. That's amazing. That's it. End of the quiz. Everybody can tally up and I'll give you one second and then ask you all the scores. So

Unknown Speaker  55:28  
Becker for anticipated that we checked my figures. Oh, yeah. One, four out of eight. Okay, good. Yeah.

George Beesley  55:36  
We're not wild swimming pros like these guys. So it's all about the taking part that counts. Exactly. Yeah. Robbie, I got four for jack. I got five out in front so far. Can Calum top it. drumroll please. Can I go six? Did you really or did you just think that would be a good finish going into WhatsApp thread. Well done Callum, you are officially the corporate venture wild swimming and general water related quiz champion. Thank you guys for coming on today. It's been really awesome to just have a chat and hear a bit about your wild swimming escapades. So if people want to find out a bit more about the wild swimming brothers and what you guys are up to Calum, where's the best place for them to check out? thewildswimmingbrothers.com imaginatively entitled website? informative descriptive like it? And how about on social? Do

Unknown Speaker  56:39  
you know your handle off the top of your head for Instagram is at the wild swim brothers. And then Twitter is?

Unknown Speaker  56:47  
I think they're all wild swimming brother. Yeah, we did the wrong cell test.

George Beesley  56:53  
While you passed with flying colors, you certainly done what you said on the tin. So yeah, thank you guys for coming on. It's been really, really good to chat. It's been great. Thank you. Thanks for having us. Thanks to Becker for co hosting. Thanks for coming on Becker.

Unknown Speaker  57:06  
Oh, thanks for having me. It's been good fun.

George Beesley  57:08  
And yeah, thanks, everybody, for tuning in. So hope you enjoyed this one. Let us know what you think about the format. And look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thank you, guys. So that's it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it, head over to call to adventure that's to call to adventure.uk. For show notes and more about this episode. You will also find lots of other free content there. Things like how to guides and gear reviews, everything to get you out on your next adventure. We've also got loads of adventures for you to join us on in the UK and abroad. We've got things like climbing, hiking, mountaineering, surfing, wild swimming, ski touring, and we're adding new ones all the time. So do take a peek. Each booking helps us fund our green mission and all international trips are carbon offset. Please do rate and review the show. If you're enjoying it. It helps get more people engaged with outdoors and on board with protecting wild places. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

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