An ode to Outdoor Swimming

An ode to Outdoor Swimming

By Abby Cornforth

Wild swimming is a release, a distraction, an addiction, a cure.

I started swimming regularly once I began working for Alpkit a few years ago, i met likeminded people who also had that thirst for adventure, or the crazy gene, whichever.

In February, my Dad got diagnosed with cancer, for a while I didn't really have a coping mechanism, but pretty soon I yearned for water. I craved the cold liquid that would make my skin tingle.

I decided to swim 52 miles in 2020 (the total length of all major Cumbria waters) to raise money for Cancer Research, it became my focus and my medicine. Every part of wild swimming, or cold water swimming, is exciting; from packing your kitbag, to hiking to your destination, to the post swim burn!

There's something about walking into a cold body of water, inch by inch, everything floats away, there's nothing to focus on but your breathing.

It brings a sense of relief from everyday worries, when you need just 15 minutes to forget about reality, what's happening in the world, any negative thoughts and you can just be, be in the moment and be yourself.

No worries, no stress, no anxiety, no pain.

This article was written by Abby Cornforth, our Store manager in Keswick.


  • Fabulous achievement Abby – and hadn’t realised how far you swam that year – remember reading about his diagnosis and loved just reading your post too 💕🧜🏻‍♀️💕

    Annette Grogan

    October 31, 2023

  • Whenever i go into the water i feel refreshed by it’s emotional healing, when i leave i feel refeshed and ready to go, I love your honesty in the above article and you set a great example.

    Ian Aitken

    January 07, 2021

  • I have only been doing open water swimming since spring2019, why on Earth didn’t I do it before!!!! It has really helped my mental health and of course my fitness levels. My very first swim was at Ullswater, can’t wait to get back there!! Happy swimming to you all xxx


    January 07, 2021

  • Totally agree Abby! I struggle to cope without it! Love it that you’re wearing the dinosaur Batoko Costume…my fav too 😊


    January 05, 2021

  • So with you, its a wonderful activity. Sorry to hear about yiur dad


    January 05, 2021

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