Swimming with history

Amazingly it is possible to combine your love of wild swimming and your love of history, although its not as easy as you might think (both the find suitable spots and treading water!)

“We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride”

(Bruce Springsteen, “The River”)


Innerpeffray Chapel and library (near Perth)

Swimming near the Roman fort at Strathearn near the Gask Ridge. Taken in April 2022 the swimmer (erh Digger) is pointing towards the crossing point (ish) that the most northerly road in the Roman empire took to cross the River Earn (how special is that?!!)


Felmersham Bridge (Bedfordshire)

Built in c. 1818 by public subscription in coursed limestone Felmersham Bridge has 5 arches (two visible in this photo taken in August 2019) and 4 cutwaters.


Tower of San Giovanni (Sardinia)

As you can see we are all pointing (August 2018) at the tower of San Giovanni. This is one of a number of towers “built by” the King of Spain in the 16-17th century to protect the area from pirate rains from North Africa.


Duke Murdoch’s Castle, Loch Ard (Scotland)

Stone walls of the castle are just about visible in this photo (June 2018). This castle, which occupies a rocky islet close to the south shore of Loch Ard, takes the form of a simple rectangle, without flanking towers, enclosing an area 14m by 6m. Its date of construction is not known, although it is said to have been built in the early 15th century.


La Madeleine (Dordogne, France)

La Madeleine (Dordogne) is a famous troglodyte village and I’m trying to point at one of the cave dwellings! (August 2016) It is a fascinating site in the sense that it has three different levels of occupancy: 1. The prehistoric rock shelter is at river level. 2. The troglodyte medieval village half-way up the cliff. 3. The medieval castle on the top of the cliff! It is one of several sites in the area that claims to have been inhabited for a period of 17,000 years without interruption. We just swam in the river……….


Pont Du Gard (southern France)

Pont Du Gard (southern France). Surely one of the most spectacular historic swims possible. Where else can you swim under a magnificent Roman aqueduct?!! (August 2015)


Cawfield Quarry (Hadrians Wall)

Cawfield Quarry with Hadrians Wall and specifically Milecastle 42 being pointed at (July 2014)


Just incase you can’t make out Hadrians Wall the photographer is kindly pointing at it (July 2014)


Cromwell’s Castle (Tresco, Isles of Scilly)

Cromwell’s Castle is on north-west part of Tresco, Isles of Scilly (September 2012). Technically speaking its a 17th century gun tower and not a castle….


Bryher (Isles of Scilly)

Swimming at Green Bay where a Bronze Age wall runs into the sea (Bryher, Isles of Scilly. September 2012). Technically speaking, these were probably built in the middle Bronze Age which was a time when the open landscape across Britain started to be enclosed. It goes without saying that “something” happened to the sea level after this point.


Caerleon (south Wales)

Swimming (well bathing) by a Roman tile wall (Caerleon, South Wales, September 2011). Technically speaking (yawn), these types of walls are known as opus testaceum (I bet you are wondering if I am joking?!) and are more common on the continent than in Roman Britain.


Tulum (Mexico)

Swimming with the walls, temples and watchtower of Tulum in background (Mexico, 1999). Technically speaking (yawn), most archaeologists believe its walls date to 1200-1450. Mayan pilgrims still visit and the place is best avoided between 10am and 4pm as its on the tourist bus circus who come on part-day trips from nearly every hotel in the Yacatan (and none of them even bother to have a swim!)