Research Methods

Both research methods were undertaken at the Rayrigg Meadow and Millerground bathing sites, staggered across September 2022 – September 2023. Please read a summary of the methods below. Please Note: The fieldwork has concluded and the project has entered the analysis phase.

Taylor (the researcher) was briefly observing user interactions with the lake, alongside recording water/weather conditions, and making general descriptive written reflections, later analysing the notes at home afterwards. Taylor was often swimming and video recording his experiences with a GoPro while in the water, and a static camera while on the shoreline and jetty, but he was not directly recording user activity.

The swim-along interviews recorded before, during, and after our swim, inviting open-ended questions about our motivations, what we notice about ourselves and around us, including access, water quality, weather conditions, kit, and anything else we wish to share. There was also the option of recording the interview via a GoPro mounted to my tow float. A land-based interview was also offered using an audio dictaphone.

OWS carries some immediate physical risks when exposed to fluctuating temperatures, water quality, weather, and environmental conditions. There was continuous dialogue before, during, and after the swim, and the participants were responsible for their own swim safety. The use of tow floats during the interview were mandatory (Taylor had a spare), but they could choose whatever swim kit they felt most comfortable using. Participant responses were anonymised with a pseudonym (chosen by the participant), and Taylor later analysed the recordings at home.

A Consent Form alongside a Demographics and OWS Experience Survey was completed prior to the swim-along interview. 

Open Water Swimming Kit
Toxic Blue Green Algae Windermere
taylor butler-eldridge
Dry Robe

Participant Information

The 12 month fieldwork at Windermere concluded in September 2023. The project has now entered the analysis and write-up phase. However, for your own reference, you can view/download the Participant Information Sheet below. For more information, please get in touch.

Participant Information Sheet

Research Findings

Anonymous quotations from the recorded interviews or conversations may be used for Taylor’s PhD Thesis, alongside future academic publications and teaching material within health geographies, psychogeographies, and other transdisciplinary OWS research.

The research also aims to encourage broader public engagement with existing (and potential) communities invested in OWS and environmental health at Windermere through a series of creative and collaborative outputs featured on this research website … so, watch this space!

No identifiable audio-video footage from your recorded interview or conversation will be published, yet the environmental context e.g. showing weather conditions may be re-layered into a feature video on this research website. All participants will be assigned pseudonyms (chosen by you), and no other person aside from Taylor will be able to identify individuals. All statements/observations made will be anonymised. All data collection and storage will comply with GDPR regulations, and you are free to withdraw from the research at any time without needing to give a reason and without any repercussions. For more information, please read the Participant Information Sheet above, or get in touch if you have further queries.

Supported By

University of Exeter Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy

This research has also been reviewed and approved by The Geography Research Ethics Committee at the University of Exeter.

For information about the research background, aims, and principles, please click the button below.

Swimming with Care at Windermere

Research Zine collaboration between Taylor Butler-Eldridge and Bethan Thorsby.