A book to be read outside
‘This is a book to be read outside – may it go waterlogged, sun-buckled and wind-chapped.’ Epigraph to Wild Woman Swimming: a challenge readers as far afield as Australia, Canada and the Arctic Circle have enjoyed taking up.
Patchwork of friendships formed through a common love of water
‘Our wild swimming group made its first patchwork blankets for Jackie when she got married, and then for Linda when she became seriously ill. We decide on a broad colour scheme and square size, and individuals either crochet, knit, felt or applique squares and add-ons which they post or bring to a bee for stitching together. Yesterday, a few of us met at Castle Drogo to see the Grayson Perry and Louis XIV tapestries currently on display there, and I was given the fabulous blankets made for me by my fish friends afterwards.
My beautiful blankets, and the muffler and bag, represent a map of friendships forged through a common love of water and nature. It’s about shared adventures, shared confidences, shared scares, shared perspectives. Some of those who made and sent squares are wild swimmers I’d only ‘met’ online.
There are all kinds of styles, interpretations, and approaches to both crafts and the world stitched in, with flashes of inspiration and unique embellishments abounding. I love them. It’s overwhelming to receive such a gift. My mum was completely overcome when I showed her and spent ages looking at each element.
Kari’s square came attached to a piece of ribbon; she made it from sterling silver and copper. It features the MRI scan of my brain tumour, Hunt, replete with cerebral oedema. How Grayson is that?’
Extract from Wild Woman Swimming: Castle Drogo, 15 April 2016. Photos of the quilt taken at the book launch at Dartington, September 2018.
Autumn wild swimming for beginners: The Guardian (Nov 2013)
‘Wild swimming expert Lynne Roper takes beginner Isobel Colchester on a journey to Sharrah pool, in the heart of Dartmoor in Devon. Roper explains what first attracted her to wild swimming and how to pursue it as a hobby – even in winter. She also gives her top tips on how to swim safely and enjoyably’
Sea Life: BBC Radio 4’s The Listening Project (June 2015)
Fi Glover introduces a conversation between wild swimmers Lynne and Queenie, who prefer not to look too closely at what may be swimming with them.
Obituary by Emma Pusill, The Guardian (Aug 2016)
‘My friend Lynne Roper, who has died of a brain tumour aged 55, developed a love of water during her Devon childhood, and it never left her. Her early career was in the RAF and academia; when she moved on to become a paramedic, she fitted wild swimming – outdoors in natural surroundings – around her shift patterns, saying that water washed away the stresses of the job.
Lynne had turned to wild swimming to regain her physical and emotional health after a double mastectomy. She immersed herself in rivers, the sea, and the friendships formed through water. For her, wild swimming was never about how far or fast you swam, or how cold the water. It was always about the experience itself, and the connection with the environment.’
Obituary by Ella Foote, The Outdoor Swimming Society (Aug 2016)
‘Lynne often described the swimming community as her tribe and inspired many to plunge into unknown waters – with or without a costume – having only just met her! “Lynne’s approach to swimming was never about how far, how fast, how cold or any sort of tribalism within swimming,” says close friend Emma. “It was the chance to connect with the outdoors, nurturing and life affirming and she hated bloody tow floats!” Lynne’s warming nature was just what was needed after a cool dip and if that wasn’t enough many were lucky to enjoy a homemade soup in her colourful cottage – door always open to friends and swimmers.’