Wild swimming makes a splash with wetsuit searches up 495%

Wild swimming makes a splash during lockdown with searches for wetsuits in the UK up by 495 per cent, sales soaring and Tik Tok videos of people taking cold water dips going viral

  • Google searches for wild swimming have grown 86 per cent year on year 
  • Mountain Warehouse says sales of wetsuits are up 229 per cent year on year 
  • One Tik Tok video with tips on wild swimming has received over 33,000 likes  

Searches for wetsuits are up 495 per cent on mountainwarehouse.com. Pictured is the Shorty women’s wetsuit, which is available from the retailer at the end of March for £69.99

Britons have turned to making lemon drizzle cake and sourdough bread to help get them through lockdown and millions have taken up running.

To this list we can now add wild swimming, with searches for wetsuits up by 495 per cent on the mountainwarehouse.com website and sales up by 229 per cent compared to the same time last year, with over 2,000 units sold in the coldest winter months.

Google search volume for the trend, meanwhile, has grown by 86 per cent year on year, with 8,100 searches for wild swimming in the past two weeks alone. 

Plus, Tik Tok videos of people taking the plunge into cold open water are going viral.  

Britons are being inspired by the likes of Tik Tok content creators Hebridean Baker and Miss Elsa Grace, who have both posted wild swimming videos.

One video posted by the Hebridean Baker, real name Connaich McLeod, shows his partner Peter taking a dip in Clachan Sound off the Isle of Seil before he is seen paddleboarding with his dog.

He captioned the Tik Tok clip: ‘The only way to swim in Scotland – head to toe in neoprene! And yes, it’s freezing.’

The video has received over 3,900 likes with one Tik Tok user, Elmer Heiji, commenting: ‘I honestly got shivers from here! Looks refreshing, though!’

Tik Tok content creator the Hebridean Baker posted a clip of his partner Peter, pictured, enjoying a wild swim in the Clachan Sound off the Isle of Seil

Miss Elsa Grace’s video contains tips on how to get started when wild swimming.

The video, which has been liked more than 33,000 times, shows her and a friend easing themselves into open water in bathing suits. 

In the voiceover she suggests: ‘Maybe you could start by putting cold water on your wrists to acclimatise yourself, but don’t stay in too long because it can get uncomfortable.

‘Lovely clean swimming and canoeing’ is possible at this beauty spot from the bank opposite Ulting Church, pictured, by the River Chelmer on the Essex Coast. Image from the book Wild Guide to London & South East and courtesy of Wild Things Publishing

This idyllic spot, called Wadenhoe on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, is a ‘wonderful place for messing about in the water’, according to the Wild Guide to London & South East (image from the book and courtesy of Wild Things Publishing)

‘Make sure you warm up with lots of nice layers and drink a warm tea and walk home if you can.’

In 2018, the British Medical Journal cited open water swimming as a possible treatment for depression, following a case study undertaken in the UK.

The report suggested that putting our bodies into fight or flight mode can help us better adapt to stress. 

Not sure where you can wild-swim in the UK? Two books by Wild Things Publishing reveal all you need to know.

Wild Guide London & South East lists secret beaches, rivers and lakes perfect for swimming and Wild Swimming reveals information on ‘300 hidden dips in the rivers, lakes and waterfalls of Britain’.

Wetsuit prices at Mountain Warehouse vary from £49.99 for a kids full wetsuit to £99.99 for the newest adults styles.  

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