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Ten best wild swims in the Lakes and Dales

Daniel Start, author of the new Wild Guide to the Lakes and Dales, reveals his favourite wild swims in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales

Swim in sparkling waterfalls and hidden tarns, snorkel down gorges and through river pools. The Lake District and Yorkshire Dales are our most popular and best- loved National Parks, and are fabulous for wild swimming. The Lakes owe their excitement to the soaring peaks and the serene lakes they enclose, formed by volcanic upheavals and subsequent glaciation. Water is everywhere, islands to canoe to, hidden waterfalls to swim under, while lakes offer secret coves and shores.

The Yorkshire Dales owe their rich topography to the soluble limestone geology, formed beneath ancient tropical seas hundreds of millions of years ago. Below ground lies a labyrinth of natural tunnels and giant chambers, above are river pools and spectacular waterfalls with plunge pools.

YORKSHIRE DALES

Stainforth Force, Ribblesdale

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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.
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