orange hat ladies, wild swimming, skinny dipping, women swimming

Baring all!

Today (the second Saturday of July) is National Skinny Dip Day and so many swimmers will be baring all to take a plunge. It’s an opportunity for people to get out of their comfort zone and, it is suggested, a way to “develop acceptance of yourself and others” (Skinny Dip Day). A plunge in many ways.

Skinny dipping is a wonderful idea but one that may need careful thought to action. I’m guessing naked bathing isn’t for everyone at a busy shoreline with clothed walkers stopping with a coffee to gawp and children pointing as their parents pump up the SUP. But for many there will be an early morning swim in quiet solitude and no clothes, away from the public gaze. I know of several people who regularly slip down to a deserted beach first thing or at last light to skinny dip.

orange hat ladies, wild swimming, skinny dipping, women swimming
Illustration by Karen Mead

Here in the UK dippers are being encouraged to raise money for the British Heart Foundation whilst stripping off. “Gone are those dark days of victorian prudery, shrouded in body shame. We encourage you to go forth and be proud, BE FREE!” says the website. I love the idea that at least on one day in the year we could all forget about body image and prejudice (accepting that this is a very big ask). So here’s hoping that the experience encourages some to face their fears and find an inner strength to accept themselves and/or others, and strip off to swim.

You don’t of course have to be raising charitable funds in order to skinny dip, nor do you have to restrict yourself to swimming unclothed on this specific day today. Outdoor swimming, naked or otherwise, is available all year round – no club membership, no dress rules and no entrance fee. 

Nick Mayhew-Smith has written an interesting article on the history behind skinny dipping for the Outdoor Swimming Society website https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/skinny-dipping-baring-souls-and-bottoms/ On reading this you can see that there are many reasons as to why you might want to do it, or even feel obliged to do it! It might be a religious epiphany, cure you’re arthritis for a day or help a tiny weeny bit to save the planet from pollution. Whatever the driver behind swimming naked, it’s perhaps something we should all experience once in a while. It’s a natural feeling of utter freedom but perhaps, I feel, one that doesn’t need to be shared with everyone…

orange hat ladies, wild swimming, skinny dipping, women swimming
Illustration by Karen Mead

Swimming in the buff ,or otherwise, let’s just enjoy getting our individual bodies into the water….But if you are daring to bare all this weekend – be naked and be proud!

All original drawings are available to buy – please message for details.

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