One woman's wild swimming adventures in the west country

the wild woman

My blog persona comes in part from the ideas of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and her seminal, enticingly-named book:

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman. 

Estes is a Jungian Psychoanalyst who argues that women’s wild natures have been repressed over centuries, to our detriment. She uses a range of folk tales to teach us how we can reclaim our feminine power, confidence and intuition. Wild Swimming puts me in touch with my Wild Woman, and gives me the freedom to think and feel unchained as I swim.

As an antidote, I can also recommend the book I bought for my Mother, a life-long owner and lover of Standard Poodles:

Women Who Run With the Poodles: Myths and Tips for Honoring Your Mood Swings by Barbara Graham.

16 thoughts on “the wild woman

  1. Hi,

    I am the publishing editor of 72&Rising Magazine, a magazine dedicated to all things water. The magazine covers everything from wildlife and conservation, science and research, people and cultures to photography, travel and adventure.

    We are currently in the process of redoing our website where we hope to have submissions from a wide range of people that love and are involved in water in all its forms. I recently came across your blog and wondered if you might be interested in contributing an article with images to our site? We would of course include a link back to your website.

    Many thanks

  2. Do you have an email address i can reach you on?

  3. Hi Wild Woman,

    Great to see you and the other outdoor swimmers on Slapton.

    We are doing a a Halloween event, 10 min walk from Mill Bay in Salcombe. This time we are also doing champagne and woodfired pizza. This is on 27th October.

    The view is amazing.

    Please see here:


    Mill Bay beach 10 mins walk away is here:


    Thank you so much for your blog link, we have changed the name ( made it easier to find on-line from ‘ Wild Wellbeing to ‘Wild Being ‘ ) so if you could replace the above link with the one you have posted that would be great.

    To thank you for your support we would like to offer the Outdoor swimming group first option on time of day you would like to come. Sunset will be 5 – 6pm. will keep a spot for you until Thu 18th Oct. We have two tubs.

    Please call me if needed.


    Sam – 07809 43 43 60

    • wildwomanswimming on said:

      Thanks Sam, and thanks for the hot tub! We’ve got plans to hire it again so will be in touch.
      I can’t go to the Halloween do sadly, but the other swimmers are aware so hopefully you’ll get a few takers.
      I think the link is right now.

  4. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ve nominated you for a blogging award. I wish I could say it was prestigious and “official”, but I don’t think it is, however as a bit of fun I thought you might enjoy a few more readers. I got nominated by someone who got nominated for 3 awards so feel free to look at her post and choose all three or whichever you like. I’ve given her blog address in my post about it.

    I do hope the swimmer who died this weekend wasn’t one of your group of swimmers. Horrible thing to happen.

  5. Hello, I’d like to use one of your swimming photos in a presentation about open water swimming, but I don’t know how to contact you other than this? I’ve ticked the box “notify of comments via email” so if you reply to this with a better way to get in touch I will see it. Or just let me know ‘yes or no’. It’s a photo of 2 people swimming…only caps visible, no faces identifiable ,on a very choppy, wavy gray day.

  6. Hannah Lucas on said:

    Hello WWS,

    I was wondering if you can help me – sadly I live in a rubbish place for wild swimming – the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border. I was wondering if through your contacts in the wild swimming world if you knew of any good spots/people in the know around this area?

    I’ve only had one ‘proper’ wild swim, in the mouth of the Erme Estuary from Wonwell beach on a warm mellow October evening, the water was dark and just cold enough to tingle the skin, the late sun streaming through the turning trees. I was stunned into silence (rare) and have never felt so alive. Need to feel that again…. !

    Thank you for the inspirational words and pictures – Honey looks like the perfect swimming companion!


    • Hi Hannah, I love the Erme and Wonwell, and we are so lucky to live in this area.
      The best place to go to find swimmers is the Outdoor Swimming Society. You can join for free and sign up for the newsletter on http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com and you might be able to find a local rep to you under The Team. There’s an interactive map at wildswim.com also owned by the OSS.
      If you’re on Facebook, that’s by far the best way to hook up with other swimmers, to start with via the OSS Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/outdoorswimmingsociety/. Ask on there and someone will find you! There are many local groups doing all kinds of things, and it’s a very friendly and fun way of life. Unless you’re into training, avoid the triathlon and channel swimming type clubs, look for the wild swimmers. Many people do both, but it can be pretty off-putting if you find the wrong type of swimmer! Good luck, get back to me if you have no luck and I’ll dig someone up for you.
      And of course if you’re coming down this way, get in touch and we’ll take you out for some swims.

  7. Martin on said:

    What a great blog. Super writing and smashing pictures.

    (Post Office)

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