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Tracing the lines

Swimdermere is an immersive research project that traces the different bodily, socio-cultural, political, and ecological lines of open-water swimming and environmental health at Windermere, England’s largest lake. The research is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, South West Doctoral Training Partnership, and the University of Exeter (Human Geography).

Trace of Windermere
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Research Focus

Swimdermere questions the relationships between open-water swimming and environmental health at Windermere, focusing on two popular designated bathing sites (Rayrigg Meadow and Millerground) over a full 12-month season (September 2022 – September 2023).


This immersive research project included: (1) observing general swimming/lake activity and water/weather conditions, alongside recording the researchers personal swim responses; and (2) recording separate one-to-one ‘swim-along interviews’ with open-water swimmers.

Both recordings included written diaries, photographs, audio, and videos.

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Research Fieldwork

The 12 month fieldwork concluded in September 2023 featuring 40 swim-along interviews and 60 observational visits/swims. You can find more information about the methods used by clicking the button below. For any other queries, please get in touch through the Contact page.

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Recent Posts

That’s a wrap!


That’s a wrap. One hundred visits staggered across September 2022 – September 2023. Last Sunday morning marked the end of my twelve month fieldwork at Windermere. Thank you to the Rayrigg regulars for letting me join in your weekly dip during my final visit. There is no way I can summarise an entire year on […]

Environmental Concerns


Environmental concerns at Windermere are again making local and national headlines, generating significant attention around sewage pollution and the seasonal fluctuations of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).  I recognise this attention has created further adaptation, ambivalence, and avoidance within the swim communities, so I thought it may be useful to offer a snippet of my reflections explored […]

Summer Tensions


The summer in the Lake District National Park is a recurring pressure point marked clearly on the calendars by residents and the authorities. The warmer months present many social tensions as more visitors surge its narrow roads, small towns and villages, tired footpaths, and fragile waters. These pressures are also present at Windermere, housing many conflicting […]