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A Taste of the Wild Side

September in Hackney is not the time nor place you'd normally find a group of people donning their costumes and taking a wild swim. But that's exactly what happened as LDN sounds went back to nature.

Hackney is littered with examples of transformations of London's industrial past, none more so than at West Reservoir, complete with grand Victorian pump house which is now part nature reserve, part outdoor water-sports and swimming club.

The fabulous folks at Love Pop-Ups London had managed to get hold of some tickets for a wild swim, camp fire and food evening where the brave could take a dip then warm themselves by the campfire with mulled wine and street food.

The friendly staff handed each of us a swimming hat then it was off to the changing rooms to brave the water, which I was told was a balmy 17 degrees. Not bad for September. Mercifully, first timers and veterans alike were offered wet suits to ward off any chills.

Despite being a former County level swimmer, the briefest of dips was enough for me as the thought of a camp fire won the day, especially since marshmallows were available for roasting in the flames.

It was certainly a welcome site, as was the pop-up bar serving a range of drinks, though we were especially pleased to see the mulled wine!

While this is not the sort of thing I'd usually do in September in the UK, it was exhilarating and a very welcome escape from the stresses of city life. The water was clean and the facilities excellent and I can see why people get the wild swimming bug. When June comes around you never know, you might just see me there again...