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Digital Subscriptions > Be Kind > May 2019 > Comfort in the cold

Comfort in the cold

Photographer Mark Griffiths explores the physical and mental benefits of wild swimming

The air temperature is a mere 2°C above freezing. Snow covers a rugged, barren landscape and a strong north-westerly wind causes surface ripples at the lake, which is almost 1,000 feet above sea level. A number of open-water swimmers brazenly walk into the freezing lake, completely disregarding the extremities of this harsh and uninviting environment. Wearing nothing but a lycra swimsuit or shorts, they wade up to their waist through the frigid substances, pushing pieces of ice to the side before diving into the water. The thermometer displays a temperature of a mere 0.9°C above freezing and the wind chill makes it feel more like -10°C. After 25 minutes, the swimmers return to the water’s edge, clambering up the slippery rocks with a noticeably deep-red complexion. Shortly after, they’re in their dry robes (a fleece-lined dressing gown) and the endorphins kick in – there’s a sense of elation and euphoria etched across their faces as they bounce back and forth of each other with verbal banter, and an encouraging appreciation of what they have just accomplished. The smiles and conversations continue for the rest of the day. This is wild swimming.

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About Be Kind

Hello, Most of us are lucky enough to have someone who taught us how to be kind. For me, it was my dad. He showed me how to warm up a cold bumble bee in my hands and how to grow runner beans in the garden. Dad was forever picking up litter wherever we went, rescuing the baby ducklings who had slipped down the drain outside our house, and he taught me to have the utmost respect for all creatures, great and small. As the threats of climate change and plastic pollution weigh heavily on our minds, we spend so much time focusing on looking forward, concerned about the damage we have wreaked on our planet and what the future holds. However, it seems a lot of the answers to our current problems can be found by looking backwards. In this issue we talk about lessons we have learned from past generations, how to adopt a thriftier, more careful attitude to waste and the importance of sharing information. We discuss the valuable lessons we have learned from our families and friends and hope to inspire more people to go back to basics – it might just be the only way to save the world. We also had the pleasure of speaking to Deliciously Ella about making vegetables cool, Mark Griffiths shares the most wonderful images of inspiring open-water swimmers, and the Culinary Caveman gives us his top tips for successful foraging. Enjoy the issue, Phillipa Editor