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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > Aug/Sep 2016 > NON-STOP FUN IN CATALONIA


Jonathan Cowie swims along the Costa Brava and Barcelona with vies Braves, a new way to safely explore Catalonia’s coastline

We must have made a strange sight: twelve wetsuited swimmers suddenly landing on a nudist beach. I often feel overdressed in a wetsuit, but this was ridiculous. But rather than disrobe and get into the swing of things, we avert our eyes, open our towfloats and rehydrate with some water, before swimming off again on our exploration of the coastline.

As the nudists recede from view, we stop beneath craggy cliffs and dip our heads under the water. Our guide, Triple Crown swimmer Miquel Sunyer, points at the bright orange starfish making its slow way across the seabed. I am in Catalonia in north-eastern Spain, exploring the Costa Brava and Costa Barcelona with Vies Braves, a new way for tourists and locals to swim safely in the sea.

Last year I was in the south of France and looking forward to some sea swimming. But on the Cote d’Azur around St Maxime all the beaches were laned off. Venture beyond the ropes and you risked being mowed down by a yacht, jet ski or waterskier. So I was forced to swim up and down alongside the ropes. I may as well have been in my local indoor pool.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

We know that most of our readers are fully converted to the joys of swimming outdoors and only venture into indoor, chlorine-filled pools when necessity (or a training schedule) dictates. But it seems that some people haven’t yet discovered our world. They don’t know the thrill of cool water against their skin, the joy of looking up and not seeing a roof but sky and trees. They don’t know how to gauge the temperature of natural water (nice, cool, flippin’ freezing!) or the special properties of river, lake and sea water. When they swim they don’t hear bird song, they hear the aqua aerobics class from the lane next to them. If you know one of these people, please help them by showing them a copy of this magazine. We have lots of inspirational stories and features to help them break out of that chlorine-filled box. What better way to dip into swimming outdoors than wild swimming in our beautiful national parks? Our feature on the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales will guide you to the best swim spots in both parks. Or if you prefer your waters a little warmer, why not head to the Costa Brava, where I explored the coast from the safety of new boat-free areas. We have also been hearing from readers about their epic swims: English Channel, North Channel, round Bermuda and the length of Britain’s longest river. We love reading your inspiring stories, even if your challenges sometimes scare us a little bit... Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.