It was Lynne Roper’s health that became the driving force behind her getting into the water. In 2011, after having had a double mastectomy, she joined the Outdoor Swimming Society and really never looked back. Even though she was a late starter to the delights of wild swimming, she never really looked back and was soon an essential member of the society. She inspired many others to join and to learn just how to understand the complexities of river flows and currents off the coast of Devon. This journal is a record of the swims that she had with friends from the group and her dog, Honey. She was an all-year swimmer, taking to the water in tors, ponds, rivers and reservoirs and even the odd quarry. Equally happy in bitterly cold waters in the winter as she was luxuriating in the silky smooth waters in rivers in the summer.

I grin through the constant rumble and hiss of crashing waves and foam, imbued with stormy energy.

Sadly, this wonderful diary of a lady who wanted to spend as much time as possible in rivers and the sea was to be cut short by a brain tumour and she passed away in 2016. Roper was a paramedic and she never really thought of herself as a writer, but this book proves otherwise. She has a beautiful way of writing, razor-sharp perception coupled with wry humour. You feel the shock of the cold water too as she slips into the water and see the light as it reflects and flickers off the surface. We are only reading this book as her friend Tanya Shadrick collected her writings and took them to publishers. No one was interested, so she set up The Selkie Press and published it herself. I am so glad she did, as this is a beautiful book to read.

Paul Cheney 4.5*

Wild Woman Swimming by Lynne Roper
The Selkie Press 9781527221987 pbk Sep 2018