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THE LURE OF THE ORKNEY ISLES

70 islands, 600 miles of coastline. Ella Foote visits Orkney and discovers an archipelago perfect for wild swimming adventures

Just an hour off the smallest plane I have ever travelled in and I have sand between my toes and I am striding towards the water off Scapa Bay, Mainland Orkney. I have exchanged quick and polite hellos with two of the local Orkney Polar Bear swimmers, Peter Fay and Lucy Stansfield, and am now swimming into an onshore breeze while exchanging swim related stories. I feel elated; I am suddenly very far away from my day job, surrounded by beautiful landscape and immersed in cool, clear water.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

To paraphrase Ethel Merman, everything in the world of outdoor swimming is coming up roses. There may be thorns (such as FINA’s wrongheaded wetsuit rules), but we are undergoing a period of exciting growth with more and more people swimming outdoors and distance records being smashed around the world. One of the trailblazers in the world of marathon swimming is Sarah Thomas. In ‘Century Swim’ we meet her to talk about her mind-blowing 104-mile world record swim. For many outdoor swimmers, autumn is time to hang up wetsuits and swimming costumes until spring next year. With that in mind this issue is a pool training special, including a beginners’ guide to swim training aids. But your swimming season needn’t end now – in ‘Extend your Season’ I look at how and why you should swim outdoors all year round. If you’re anything like me, a lot of your time is spent procrastinating about getting into cold water. Our competition this month is to win the ‘Outdoor Swimmer’s Guide to Faffing’ calendar (and a snowflake swimming hat) by artist and outdoor swimmer Nancy Farmer. Check out the competition on page 23. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming. Jonathan Cowie Editor
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