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Wild swimming Scandi-style

Norway and Sweden have a centuries old tradition called “every man’s right”. People are allowed to roam just about anywhere as long as they do not disturb or destroy the environment. In protected areas such as national parks there may be restrictions, for example cycling on marked trails only. This means that unlike in the UK, wild swimming is possible pretty much anywhere.

(NORWAY ¹ALLEMANNSRETT)

All uncultivated land is accessible. Cultivated land may only be walked on when frozen and covered in snow. You can pitch a tent for up to two days on any uncultivated land, no closer than 150m from a dwelling. Canoeing and swimming in rivers, lakes (but not reservoirs for drinking water) and the sea is permi¤ ed. Foraging is allowed.

(SWEDEN ¹ALLEMANSRÄTT)

Everyone has the right to access and camp on land except in private gardens, the immediate vicinity of a dwelling and land under cultivation. You can also forage (don’t pick protected species). Canoeing and swimming in rivers, lakes and the sea is allowed – unless explicitly forbidden.

SHARED CULTURE AND A LANDSCAPE SHAPED BY ICE

Sweden and Norway have a shared linguistic and cultural heritage and are home to some of the largest remaining tracts of true wilderness in Europe. The landscape has been largely shaped by glaciation during the last ice age and its immediate aftermath. The most obvious evidence are the lakes and fjords, but you’ll find examples of other glacial landforms all over the region. In the High Coast area of Sweden, for example, the land is still rising at a rate of about 8mm per year. This phenomenon is known as post-glacial rebound, which occurs because the land is no longer being forced down by the weight of ice. It will continue to rise until it reaches an equilibrium level. In this area alone the land has already risen 800 metres since the end of the last ice age.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In this issue we explore wild swimming in Scandinavia, where the right to roam extends to swimming outdoors – in some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. We also bring you reports from some our favourite events of the summer – more swims for you to add to your bucket list! We hear from Howard James and Sabrina Wiedmer about their record breaking swims – the earliest (and coldest) English Channel crossing and the first woman to cross the Dál Raita Channel, respectively. And if that all sounds a bit too hardcore and serious, Dan Abel shows us how to keep our swimming fun. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.
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