After reading Roger Deakin’s “Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain,” I will never see Britain or swimming in the same way, ever again. Wells, drains, rivers, lakes, seas and more, Deakin presents swimming in the most alluring and historical of ways. This book is a history lesson, a geography lesson, a natural history lesson and more all wrapped in intelligent and beautiful prose. And being that Deakin is from those parts, well, he’s got that snappy sense of humor as well.
At least I don”t remember swimming or wading of any sort. Yes, I did bathe, but that doesn’t count. Swimming has a rich, storied history in Britain and Deakin brings it back for all of us know-nothings. The landscape in which he submerges is so diverse and so interesting and ranges from the open sea to hidden, semi-secret sources protected by generations of those who know the power of a good swim.
Another aspect that emerges, sadly, is the prevalence of pollution. In some cases, seriously dangerous stuff left over from decades of industry and mining. We have no room to speak here in the good old US of A where pollution is one of our specialties, but it pains me to read about some of the issues that Deakin reveals. But man is this a fun book, and one that has prompted me to remedy my lack of moisture when it comes to visiting Britain. Time to bust out the speedo. Get it, read it.