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North Wales is the perfect place to enjoy all sorts of adventurous activities from surfing to sailing, climbing to coasteering; but have any of you tried wild swimming? Not confined to just a pool; take your dip alfresco and experience the beauty of swimming in natural waters.

Don’t be thinking though that such a sport is for the young, technology wielding and latest wetsuit-wearing only; here we find out how a swim a day can keep you feeling young into your eighties,  surely it’s got to be worth a try…

Malcolm and Angela Mackley are both in their 80’s and have lived in the village of Llanbedrog, on the Lleyn Peninsula, for over 40 years and love swimming in the sea there. As a boy, Malcolm took to the sea to learn to swim. “Swimming helps to keep us feeling young. We swim every day from April onwards and usually stop just before our wedding anniversary on 18th October. We head out either side of high tide and always wear a swimming costume rather than a wetsuit so we can feel the water on our skin.

Our favourite time to swim is early in the morning, in the summer we like to be in the water by half-past seven so we can have breakfast on the beach afterwards. When the days are at their longest, our last swim can be as late as nine-thirty in the evening. We have certainly passed on our love of swimming to our children and grandchildren; our son Tim jumped off the sailing club jetty on his wedding day! Taking our boat out to spend the night off Bardsey and swimming in the water around the island has to be our favourite trip; it’s truly beautiful. There is no better feeling than swimming in the summer as you come out of the sea feeling energised and revitalised. We would recommend it to anyone.”

Another advocate of wild swimming is fine artist, photographer and filmmaker Natasha Brooks who swims in the sea and the cold mountain lakes of Snowdonia all year round. Her love of the water even inspired her to make an award-winning short film Blue Hue. She fits in time for wild swimming whilst working as a gardener on her native Anglesey. “Being a swimmer, I feel really fortunate to live in North Wales. Not only do I have the coastal water around Anglesey, but also the crystal clear lakes of Snowdonia to enjoy, with each of them offering a distinctive aqua landscape of their own. However, it’s the sea, with its forever changing tides and swells, that manages to surprise me each time I swim. I love interacting with the abundant marine life around me, swimming through shoals of tiny fish, watching spider crabs forage for seaweed or gallivanting with playful seals, I will never tire of it.

Swimming all year round, I feel the changes in temperature on my skin and this keeps me in tune with the passing season. A cold, brisk swim can transform even the most mundane of days into a magnificent one, and I never fail to emerge from the water feeling fresh and alive. I highly recommend making the most of the waters of North Wales to anyone; chose a beautiful spot, take a deep breath and dive in. You won’t regret it!”

Have either stories inspired you to dip more than a toe in the water? Whether it be from a beach, cove or lakeside surrounded by mountains; it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget!

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