Get in the swim at photo expo

Bangor Mail - - YOUR GUIDE -

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

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