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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > January 19 > LIGHT IN THE WATER


Surviving winter, leaping for joy in Yorkshire. Ella Foote swims with writer Horatio Clare

I was preparing for the darker months when I came across Horatio Clare’s book, The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal. I was scrolling mindlessly through Instagram and this glimmer flashed at me in a photo. It was autumn, the end of October, and while I can find joy in the season of colourful falling leaves, the greys of winter that follow are often a hard time. Just four pages into the book, Horatio summed it up well, “I have come to fear winter.”

It is pouring with rain when we meet in Horatio’s now hometown, Hebden Bridge, a place famous for its writers, artists and musicians. We are due to meet in a pub, but it isn’t open yet. We walk across town in the rain and I long to mooch in the independent, kooky looking shops. Last winter Horatio thought he would go mad with depression. He describes himself as “seasonally sensitive” and I relate to the words I find in the pages of his book. “Studies have found Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects around six percent and another 14 per cent experience a dip into winter blues”, he says. “Which one are you?” I am unsure.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In our January issue we tell the strange outdoor swimming history of Mao Zedong, we test a chilly willy combobulator and ponder the female gender bias in cold water swimming, leap off a waterfall in Yorkshire while discussing ways to combat the winter blues, and take up stand-up paddleboarding. Plus, our pick of our favourite events in 2019 to help you plan your new year adventures, and our resident Olympian Cassie Patten gives her top tips for motivation to help you achieve your swim goals. And just in case it all gets too much, we look at how to avoid burnout and show you how to strengthen your shoulders and avoid rotator cuff injuries.