Home Estate Planning New wild swimming film shows Brits relaxing in freezing Lake District water

New wild swimming film shows Brits relaxing in freezing Lake District water

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We all like floating spread-eagle in the water in the Maldives, but how about the Lake District in winter? Wild swimmers who follow the hobby in Britain often swim surrounded by ice, and have become the subject of a forthcoming film.

Gaddings Dam in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, is known by locals as “the UK’s highest beach”, and is an isolated body of water amid the Lake District. For some of the year it freezes over, but a dedicated cohort of wild swimmers visit the lake daily throughout the seasons.

Wild swimming has risen in popularity over the past decade. With its mental health benefits, some scientists link the activity to a drop in anxiety and depression, and others say it can help people stay free from dementia.

New film Wild Water celebrates the reservoir, which is 780 feet above sea level with spectacular views across the popular tourist region. Film makers say: “Steeped in the poetry and prose of Ted Hughes and the Brontës, the small strip of sand acts as a magnet to a community of swimmers, day-trippers, walkers, bikers and runners.”

“Shot through the seasons over the period of 16 months, Wild Water dives into the cold water swimming community. The film tracks the breathtaking landscape and its community of wild swimmers, as they use the restorative powers of cold water to reconnect with their mental health, identity and the natural environment.

“But there is more to this place than just swimming; a whole ecosystem of activity circulates around the reservoir. There are the volunteers who maintain the footpaths in all weathers, the pub landlord fighting to keep vehicles out of his carpark, the Gaddings Dam Preservation Society, and the January Daily Dippers.”

The film is not yet set for a general release, but you can follow the filmmakers on Instagram at @wildwaterfilm as well as online. The short film won the Best Sound & Music gong at the Toronto Documentary Feature & Short Film Festival, 2023.

A selection of screenings are coming up across the UK throughout March and April and you can find the closest one to you on this list.

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