Swimming in Leeds: The best wild swimming spots near me and how to stay safe during open water swimming
As the weather starts to warm, little else seems as appealing as an early morning dip in open water.
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West Yorkshire is blessed with some idyllic locations to try open water swimming, or wild swimming, however it is important to be aware of the dangers of open water swimming.
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Attend supervised sessions when possible, and make yourself aware of the ‘float to live’ advice. Photo: Scott Merrylees
Attend supervised sessions when possible, and make yourself aware of the ‘float to live’ advice – more details are listed below.
This open water swimming spot is supervised between Wednesday 6pm until 8pm, Saturday 8am until 10am and Sunday 8am until 10am during the summer.
Sessions start at £4.25 for swimmers.
Last year Leeds Dock announced it would offer open water swimming sessions during the summer.
In partnership with Love Open Water and NOWCA the sport is now a permanent fixture at Leeds Dock with sessions every Friday (11am – 2pm), Saturday (9am – 12pm) and Sunday (10am – 2:30pm).
Established in 2009 the Blue Lagooners is Yorkshire’s premier open water swimming venue.
The crisp and clean water is spring fed from the surrounding limestone that acts like a filter.
Their coaches are leading industry experts who will also advise and consult for the governing bodies of open water swimming and triathlon.
There are several places you can access the river in Otley, including by Wharfebank Mills and by Otley Police Station.
To access the water either head to Manor Garth Park near to the police station or walk down the path that runs by Wharfebank Mills.
The ‘Hidden Dip’ is the name given to part of the Wharfe accessible from Castley Lane and upstream from Arthington Viaduct.
Water shoes are strongly recommended as the river bed is very stony.
Wetherby is another good location for swimming in the Wharfe, with a small pebble beach near to the swimming spot ideal for entering.
It is advised that people swim upstream here.
This spot is known for quite a large expanse of water so it is ideal for swimming in.
You can access the river near the weir, or further upstream at Jackdaw Crag.
How do I stay safe in open water?
Open water swimming involves risks and it is your responsibility to understand and assess these risks. If you are not a regular open water swimmer, take it slow, respect the water and ‘float to live’.
*Fight your instinct to thrash around.
*Lean back, extend your arms and legs.
*If you need to, gently move them around to help you float.
*Float until you can control your breathing.
*Only then, call for help, swim to safety or continue floating until help arrives.
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