Cross-Tamar Swim

Of course you can …                                                                                                                By Belinda Dixon


no31On Sunday we swam across the River Tamar – and back. For many of the 50 wild-swimmers it wasn’t that far; a little under a mile. For some it was. For all it was a rare chance to bob about under the vast structures that join Cornwall to the rest of England.

So what is that like?

From the water the bridges arch and soar. High above cars rumble; a train rattles across. Feet kick, arms rise and fall, swim hats gleam. Kayakers check you’re ok, the back markers keep a watchful eye. Laughter bubbles and echoes under the bridge.



It’s spectacular, surreal (the strains of the regatta jazz band waft half way across), and very special. To be crossing the River Tamar with this joyful bunch of wild-swimmers; these why-notters, these life-seizers.

And really special for me because only the encouragement of others got me there. Friends who turned out to support. People who, when I said: “I can’t do that”, said simply: “of course you can”.

And that’s something lasting. As we drove back across the Tamar Bridge, it dawned on us that now, whenever we cross this river, we’ll think: “we swam that” as we look down 🙂

Sadly, this is one adventure you really can’t just do on your own (the Tamar flows fast). It was an organised event run by Devon and Cornwall Wild Swimming. It needed official approval, rafts of safety precautions and fleets of support kayakers and safety boats. Huge thanks to all.

So perhaps clock up other preparation swims and keep an eye out for future events. Then maybe see you under the bridge …?


Published by Belinda Dixon

I'm a travel & adventure writer (Lonely Planet), broadcaster (BBC Radio Devon & BBC Guernsey) and the British Exploring Society's media Leader on its 2016 Himalaya expedition. I write a blog that aims to inspire adventures; deliver inspiring training and record and edit powerful oral history archives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.