Ripples of Joy: The Unique Slow Swim Experience in Bradford-on-Avon

Ripples of Joy: The Unique Slow Swim Experience in Bradford-on-Avon

The Bradford-on-Avon Slow Swim Picnic held on June 8th, 2024, offered a unique blend of leisure and community spirit along the serene stretches of the River Avon. This event isn’t about competition or speed; it’s a celebration of the joys of swimming and the beauty of nature, perfectly encapsulated in the historic setting of the 14th Century Tithe Barns in Bradford-on-Avon in England.

The event organized by Stuart Hamilton, welcomed swimmers of all ages and skill levels to participate in a 1.6km swim along the river. Unlike traditional races, the Slow Swim Picnic encouraged participants to immerse themselves fully in their surroundings, embracing the Slow Swimming philosophy which promotes enjoying the journey rather than rushing to the finish line. This ethos resonates deeply in today’s fast-paced world, advocating for a moment to pause, reflect, and savor the environment.

The swim was structured in four distinct waves, catering to different preferences and paces—from those keen on a brisk swim to others who preferred a more relaxed float down the river. The waves included “Seriously Need More Cake” for the slightly competitive, “Relaxed ’cause we know where the cake is hidden” for steady swimmers, “Enjoying the Journey” for those who love to take it slow, and “Pooh Sticks” for participants who were there to float and soak in the scenery.

Participants gathered after their swim at the picturesque Tithe Barns for a communal picnic, sharing not just food but stories and laughter, embodying the community spirit that the event aimed to foster. Every attendee, from volunteers to participants, contributed to a warm, inclusive atmosphere.

The success of the Bradford-on-Avon Slow Swim and Picnic marks it as a standout event in the realm of open water swimming, emphasizing not just physical activity but the joy of being part of a like-minded community. Future events in Cambridge, Norfolk, and Dedham Vale promise to carry this spirit forward, offering more opportunities for swimmers across the UK to partake in these delightful gatherings.

Booking has now opened for next year’s Bradford-on-Avon Slow Swim and Picnic, on Saturday 7th June 2025.

Cambridge Slow Swim Picnic

  • Date: Saturday, 6th July 2024
  • Location: Grantchester to Sheep’s Green, Cambridge
  • Distance: 2.5km Social River Swim and Picnic (Wave 4 1.2km)

Norfolk Slow Swim Picnic

  • Date: Saturday, 27th July 2024
  • Location: Dilham Hall, North Walsham, Norfolk
  • Distance: 1.8km Social River Swim and Picnic (Wave 4 0.8km)

Dedham Vale Mill 2 Mill Slow Swim and Picnic

  • Date: Saturday, 11th August 2024
  • Location: Flatford Mill CO7 6UL
  • Distance: 2.2km Social River Swim and Picnic (Wave 4 1.2km)

Great East Skinny Dip at Clacton-on-Sea

  • Date: Saturday, 7th September 2024, 1pm (meet from 12 noon)
  • Location: Martello Tower/Marine Parade West, Clacton-on-Sea CO15 1XY