Victoria Whitworth began swimming in the cold waters of Orkney as a means of temporary escape from a failing marriage, a stifling religious environment and a series of health problems. Over four years, her encounters with the sea and all its weathers, the friendships she made, the wild creatures she encountered, combined to transform her life. This book is a love letter, to the beach where she swims regularly and its microcosmic world, to the ever-changing cold waters where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet, and to the seals, her constant companions.



This was Book 12 of my 20 Books of Summer 2020.

\This was a fascinating read as the author shares her thoughts on her love for wild swimming along with a considerable amount of background to the history, folklore and wildlife in Orkney.  It also features her family and the background to the state she finds herself in now and how that the sea seems to call to her and helps her find a way to escape her problems with a dip in the sea,and her various encounters with the wildlife along the way.

I found her writing about the swimming and the wildlife the most incisive and illuminating so would have loved more. It connected more with me as  a reader, even though the passages about the history of Orkney and folklore were interesting but it just felt like they overshadowed her own personal battles at time.  It talks about the mental and physical benefits of swimming and delves into the psychology of her compulsion to go swimming when times are tough, even when it may be putting herself in danger.  

The language she uses was beautiful and it is one of those books that you totally immerse yourself in and I found myself looking at online pictures of Orkney to really get more of out this book – it really seems as beautiful as she describes it! 



2 thoughts on “#BookReview SWIMMING WITH SEALS by VICTORIA WHITWORTH #20BooksOfSummer20

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