Wild swimming in Switzerland's River Aare every week through winter

Wild swimming in Switzerland's River Aare every week through winter

 On March 21st, the final day of winter, after 22 swims since October. Air temperature: around zero. Water temperature: 5.2.

On March 21st, the final day of winter, after 22 swims since October. Air temperature: around zero. Water temperature: 5.2.

For about fifteen years, I hated water. I hated being near it and especially being in it. That's changed a lot in the last year, starting in Svalbard and continuing in Switzerland throughout the winter.

Longyearbyen was my first foray into cold water swimming – and the first time in a long while of actually enjoying being in the water. Maybe because it was so damn cold I couldn't overthink things.

When you start at 2 degrees celsius, everything that follows feels warmer. Back in Switzerland, we were swimming in the River Aare that ran by our office quite often throughout the summer. The water is still cold even in hot months, but I brought up how it would be great to swim all year round.

My suggestion was swimming every month through winter, but that was deemed too easy. We decided on once a week, and I drew up the first draft of our scoresheet. Here's the final version:

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Since then, I have worn my bikini more times in the last twenty weeks than in the twenty years beforehand. And it's been a lot of fun!

18 of us have been in the water, including some guest appearances from neighbouring offices who had plucked up the courage to join in. And every week I've spammed our Slack #chatter channel with a leaderboard update. Here's the final version!

Aare Swim Club - Winter 2017/2018

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 I created certificates, of course (and got a friend to sign my own). The temperature listed is for the  coldest swim by water temperature ... we had a few below zero!

I created certificates, of course (and got a friend to sign my own). The temperature listed is for the coldest swim by water temperature... we had a few below zero!

Now to find a new challenge...

Hiking across Vaud on the Swiss Via Alpina, from L'Etivaz - Rossinière - Rochers de Naye - Montreux

Hiking across Vaud on the Swiss Via Alpina, from L'Etivaz - Rossinière - Rochers de Naye - Montreux

My year in books: A few favourites from 2017

My year in books: A few favourites from 2017