I’ve always appreciated hearing my U.K. friends use the terms “wild swimming” and “rough sleeping.” To me, they’re just…swimming and…camping. But those discrete, one-syllable adjectives bring a frisson of dangerous connotation to what I sometimes take for granted, and I like it. A little bit of edge.

Rachel Agnew lives in the Lake District and is a wild swimmer, or a swimmer of wild waters, and here she meditates on the sense of self that drives away thought, fear, and worry in cold mountain waters.

“I haven’t got an adult version of myself that doesn’t have health problems to go back to…It’s almost like I lose my identity, jsut for a moment. You aren’t 28. You aren’t female. You don’t weigh X number of stones.”


The cinematography is lush and real. So is the rejuvenation from waters such as these.


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