Get in the swim at photo expo
ASECLUDED lake, nestled beneath the towering cliffs of Snowdon, is a wild swimmer’s favourite lake. Vivienne Rickman-Poole from Llanberis swims in many Snowdonian lakes year round.
She swims year-round, often alone except for the company of birds.
An exhibition of photographs and film, called #swimsnowdonia, by Vivienne can now be seen at the National Slate Museum, Llanberis.
She is passionate in equal measure about her creativity and outdoor swimming and has been documenting her swims for many years as part of the current project.
“The lakes of Snowdonia have come to play a big part in my life. Living in Llanberis for over 10 years, I’m an obsessive outdoor swimmer and have come to see the lakes like old friends.
“I enjoy their company come rain or shine, I crave the changing seasons on my skin and their huge massive expanses of deep, dark, nothingness below the surface. To be totally alone out in the middle of the lake, kicking back looking up at the mountains is a truly selfish indulgence.”
Describing her favourite lake Vivienne said: “I have so many, but Llyn Du’r Arddu is a very special Llyn.
“Its atmospheric location under the dark cliffs of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu and its beautiful turquoise and azure blue hued waters are hard to beat in the Park.
“I also like the fact it’s a bit of a walk to get to it so it’s not somewhere I visit everyday. It has wonderful folklore attached to it of fairy folk and local shepherds. It’s these stories and an areas history that gives the lake context and can evoke thoughts and feelings for a swim.”
She started swimming as a baby and growing up on the south coast of England spent her summers in the sea, rivers and gravel pits of the New Forest. But now she prefers the lakes of Snowdonia. “There is something totally unappealing about travelling to an indoor pool only to swim back and forth. It lacks the serenity and freedom, if you like that outdoor swimming offers it.
“I do occasionally swim in the sea, but I have an extremely healthy respect for the power of the ocean and everything that resides in it. I just prefer the freshness of the lakes.
“I swim most days, I live in the heart of the mountains so I am very lucky to have great access to the lakes.
“And I swim all year round. I find something quite wonderful about the brief dips in the middle of January. They may only last minutes, sometimes seconds, but are truly exhilarating,” she said.
She would recommend wild swimming but suggests beginners should swim with others at the start, do only what you feel comfortable with, get out when you feel cold and read the advice of The Outdoor Swimming Society.
Her adventures and photographs have caught the attention of international media and Vivienne has featured recently in several magazines and even featured in the BBC Countryfile Spring Special, narrating her own five-minute documentary. This will be shown again on Sunday at 7pm.
The exhibition at the Slate Museum runs until March 11, 2016.
The stunning lakes of Snowdonia and the special feeling of swimming in them have inspired Vivienne Rickman-Poole’s photos