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PICK OF THE PEAKS

A destination less obvious for outdoor swimming, the Peak District has some real gems hidden among its hills and gorges. Rowan Clarke navigates through mermaid mysteries, limestone gorges and literary parkland

When it comes to inland outdoor swimming, the Lake District undoubtedly holds the trump card. It’s the obvious choice, and it’s where I began outdoor swimming, travelling there with three of my best friends year after year for the Great North Swim at Lake Windermere.

But a hundred miles south-east, a quieter, less touristy national park equals the Lakes for beauty, drama, literary credentials and wild swimming. We swapped Wordsworth for Austen and glassy lakes for majestic parkland, craggy gorges and eerie tarns when we went wild dipping in the beautiful Peak District.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

A growing number of endurance athletes are swimming for good rather than glory. Perhaps the most prominent of these is Lewis Pugh, UN Patron of the Oceans. We were privileged to join him on a leg of his Long Swim of the length of the English Channel, which he is undertaking to raise awareness of the plastic in our oceans. Elsewhere in the magazine we bust some more technique myths, visit the Galapagos Islands and the Peak District, test the latest outdoor gear for swimming adventures and meet the writers of best-selling book The Salt Path.