When it comes to water quality, there is nothing in public pools without a “chemical club”. For the most part, chlorine is used as a disinfectant, both critically considering environmental and health concerns. At wild bathing and -swimming, we rely on the natural cleanliness and self-cleaning power of our waters. Keeping both, as well as the conscious use of natural resources in and around these waters, should be a top priority for us Wildswimmers. Because wildswimming does not mean that we are allowed to perform outside like the “wild ones”. But on the contrary!
Wildswimming means respecting nature
The well-known saying “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but impressions” is a first approach. Although in my context “leave nothing behind except the squish that your floating body writes in the water”, I like it even better. That we leave no waste at our “wild” swimming areas should actually be a matter of course. However, an inventory shows that this is not the case. Sad but true. However, almost never the “work” of real sports fans, but almost always of thoughtless “nature consumers”. Not only will not leave anything behind on my tours, most of the time I and the people who travel with me will be a waste collection for the dirt others left behind! Our goal is to leave a swimming area cleaner than we found it.
Wild swimming and bathing? Gladly – but not at any price!
The choice of the right entry point will probably be considered. At frequented spots, suitable points of contact are usually predetermined or obvious. What does not work is to make its way to the water through reed belts or water lilies or over / through bog areas. Of course, breeding and spawning areas are also forbidden for entry. If no gentle access to the water can be found, then there is no swim. The same applies, for example, to flat inflow and outflow tarns – especially in hot summers or after rainfall-poor periods. Often these small pools are pure meltwater or precipitation-dependent waters. At low water levels, these small volumes of water can then easily “tip over”. A swim would additionally burden these waters. A renunciation of the supposedly wet “pleasure” is beneficial not only to one’s own health, but also that of the respective water body. Add to that one point: real water swimmers never go sunscreen-smeared into the water!
Wildswimming means to respect fellow human beings
As you know, the freedom of the individual ends where it affects the freedom of the neighbor. Consideration is a noble virtue that unfortunately is less and less common. Roaring ghetto blasters are in public baths an impertinence,in the wild they are an absolute no-go. Yelling, screaming, barking: For some may be quite funny for everyone else an impertinence. Conflicts between swimmers, fishermen and photographers can be avoided with some instinct. It does not have to be that the ambitious photographer can not shoot his picture of the perfect reflection (eg on the Styrian mirror lake), because constantly a swimmer or a bathing dog makes waves! Of course, this also includes that the rights of landowners and any designated / official bathing prohibitions. Camping and firing should be restricted to the designated areas. In the tours I have taken, I pay close attention to the observance of these rules, not only on the water itself, but also on the environment. In my groups, environmental awareness and consideration are thus not only lived but also taught. This is my understanding of “sustainable tourism”.
Wildswimming means respecting your limits
Wild and alpine swimming exists in different nuances and facets. From the “well-tempered” moor lake and almsee to the icy cold glacier lake or torrent, everything is possible. From the short dip to the longer crossing – both can be a challenge. Many are looking for exactly these too, to feel again, to ground oneself, to come down. Wildswimming can do that, especially in combination with a hiking. Wildswimming offers a whole new experience of limits. However, this requires great sensitivity for environment, a sound sense of humanity and a good sense of responsibility. A sense of responsibility towards nature, the other and itself . Then and only then can Wild- or Alpine swimming unfold its full magic.