Now the clocks have gone back, some people might want to hide indoors for the winter and wait for spring to arrive. But for Britain’s wild swimmers, that won’t be an option.
However, being brave and taking on colder water in late autumn and winter is not just about putting on thermal swim leggings and other clothing to keep you warmer - highly important though this is.
Autumn can also be a great time for exploration and discovering new places to go, which is why it may be worth thinking about finding wild swimming spots in the North York Moors.
While 2021 has marked the 70th anniversary of the birth of Britain’s oldest national parks - the Peak District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor and the Lake District - the North York Moors will reach the same landmark next year. That means it may be a good idea to get in early and find some good spots.
A place that has already been discovered but is worth checking out is Scaling Dam Reservoir. This hosts open water swimming sessions on Tuesdays on a first come, first served basis, with up to 60 swimmers at a time. Participants must be aged at least 12 and able to swim 500 metres.
Another option is sea swimming. Unlike the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales or Northumbria national parks, the North York Moors isn’t landlocked. If you fancy braving the North Sea, you can do so from locations in the national park such as Staithes, where you can swim beneath the imposing 650 ft cliffs, Kettleness or Robin Hood’s Bay.
Some might try the latter after completing Alfred Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast walk, although there are also options just outside the national park such as Whitby and Scarborough.
Inland, the geology means there are few tarns or lakes in the manner of the Lakes or Yorkshire Dales, but there are plenty of streams with waterfalls that make great swimming spots. Falling Foss and Thomason Foss are two such examples according to the Wild Swimming website.
So if you want to try out a new location before the birthday attention brings in the crowds, now may be a great time to check out the Moors.