Adventure swimming in remote small lakes is a great experience and can provide the highlight of your hiking trip. Here you’ll learn the basics to wild mountain swimming.
In order to stay safe and come out smiling, follow these basic safety principles.
- Never go alone. Always swim with somebody who can help you if you get into difficulty; most tarns are very remote and there’s no time to call in Mountain Rescue.
- Take the right kit. Putting on a modern swimming wetsuit not only keeps you warmer in the water, but it also helps to keep you afloat due to their inherent buoyancy. A bright silicone swim cap will protect your head from cold and make you more visible, and a quality pair of goggles with clear lenses will let you appreciate the wow factor of swimming in clear mountain water. Remember to take a travel towel and some extra warm après-swimwear too as your core temperature will decrease when you get out and the cooled blood from your periphery is pumped back in—a lightweight down jacket and woolly hat will do the job.
- Know your limits. First practice in a familiar and safe lowland location, get in slowly and acclimatize to the cooler water and observe how your body reacts to it. Of course, follow the first and second principles here as well. The less you shock your body and the more you know the wild swimming environment, there’s a lesser chance for you to panic and get into trouble; keep in mind that tarn water will always be a lot colder than lowland water, even in summer. Always let common sense be your guide.