This is easily the most famous book written about open water swimming. It’s always the book anybody means when they say “Oh....you know...the guy, he went around swimming, lived in a place with a moat....it’s called water-something”. Well it is that book, it’s not surprising that so many people have read it and it is worth the hype.
Simply, Roger Deakin takes off around the British Isles in an attempt to swim as much of it as possible and that is precisely what he does. He covers water in just about every format, sea, lakes, rivers, lidos, waterfalls and rock pools (plus a few more). His descriptive language brings the places to life and leaves you with a sense that you know he enjoyed himself. The book was a bestseller and has subsequently inspired a number of documentaries. It’s guaranteed a mention (or direct quote) on any programme about a place he visited or described. It goes beyond swimming and was clearly a personal journey, the perfect travel diary to have left behind. Reading about him not only ‘discovering’ his (and ours as a species) affinity with water truly got me out the door in my trunks and goggles.
If you are going to read one book about swimming/water and you enjoy a bit of flowery language then this is without question the one you should read. Documentaries do not do it justice.