Green Wild Swimming Adventure for ITV
Swimming are pleased to have been associated with Robson
Green's new wild swimming tour of Britain: Robson Green's Wild Swimming
Adventure on ITV1
9pm on Tuesday 8th December.
can read full details of the programme here, from ITV
Episode One PI
Episode Two PI
Robson Green on his Wild Swimming Adventure
“I’ve always been drawn to water. Maybe it’s
all the fun it’s given me, all the adventures.
Perhaps it’s how I feel when I’m in it – I
feel free.” Robson
undertakes an aquatic journey through the wild waters of Britain
in this new two part
documentary series for ITV1.
a decidedly shaky
start in the Tyne to his ultimate goal to swim to Holy Island off the coast of his
native North East, the programme
charts Robson’s adventures as he swims his way through lidos, tidal
lakes, rivers and seas.
journey is at
times an emotional one as Robson talks about his late father who
love of swimming in his son, and it is this memory that keeps Robson
during some of the extreme swims he attempts.
tells the programme
that recent loss of his father has inspired him to attempt to swim to Holy Island.
Robson, the challenge is about reconnecting with his father, who
in the North Sea,
and his own boyhood
rain or shine
four million people swim in Britain’s
wild waters every year and during his journey Robson meets many interesting characters
who have left the
chlorine of swimming pools behind for natural waters.
the tranquillity of Britain’s
lidos and tidal pools to Scotland’s daunting Corryvreckan whirlpool and the
extreme cold of Llynn Lladraw Lake
in Snowdonia, Robson challenges himself mentally and physically during
wild swimming adventure in the river that dominated the area where he
raised – the Tyne.
He says: “If I’m going to
swim around Britain
I want to start at home.”
his attempt ends
abruptly when he gets into difficulties and has to be rescued by a
says: “Well it
wasn’t the best of starts. My body shut down after 200 metres. The
saps you. I asked the lifeboat guys when was the last time anyone swam
in here. He said,
‘Friday night, but they were absolutely
off their heads!”
one of sane mind
has swum the Tyne
in the past 50 years. But
it’s woken me up and now I’m ready.”
to the place he had his first wild swim - Seaton Burn, the watery
his childhood, which he describes as ”a beautiful little river, with
swans and water hens“.
river was just
yards from Robson’s childhood home but on his return he discovers that
idyllic stream is now neglected and overgrown.
visits a place
that has emotional memories for him: Seaton
Sluice on the North coast, where
father taught him to swim, or, as
Robson recalls, “where he hurled me into the North
says of his
father: “He was a
big, big powerful man my
dad, and involved in the most dangerous occupation in the world. Worked down the mine –
worked down a black
hole for 42 years. That
sort of job
moulds a certain type of man and my dad was that man.
He was one hell of a swimmer – he could swim
for miles in ten degree water – in his swimming trunks!
I lost dad recently and I think that’s why
I’m doing this journey – reclaiming identity and family.”
in the River Tyne has made him
realise that he needs to start his wild swimming adventure in a gentler
starts his journey
Tinside Lido, where he meets lido enthusiasts Bob and Dave. Such is their love of Britain’s
lidos they have swum a
mile in a hundred of them. They
Robson that their next plan is to go around Britain’s
coastline swimming in the
coastal tidal pools.
gives Robson the
idea for his next wild swim and he finds the perfect tidal pool at
in Cornwall. After his swim in the pool
that he describes
as “paradise” Robson moves on to choppier waters.
travels to Burgh
in Devon, where,
with a group of tri-athletes,
he swims the one mile circumference of the island.
Halfway through the swim he comments: “Once you get over the
fear of being
splattered onto the rocks and ending up like strawberry jam ... I’m starting to enjoy
it. I’m at one with
next swim is
at the Henleaze swimming club where he takes part in their long swim
event. As he
prepares for the race at
this exclusive private club he asks the lifeguard for advice on the
swimming attire – should it be shorts, speedos or the ‘budgie
were a gift from his wife?
Robson faces a much colder challenge.
He heads for Wales
Llynn LLydaw, in
National Park. The
lake is the
training camp for extreme cold water swimmer Lewis Pugh who
swam at the
Pole in 2007 to highlight the effects of global warming. Robson is
Lewis will be able to prepare him for his Holy
that the water in the lake at 7º is only
warmer than the waters the Titanic went down in.
asks Lewis how painful the North Pole swim was. Lewis tells him:.
“It was extremely painful. When I got out of the water I remember
at my hands and my fingers were like sausages, because we are made of
when water freezes it expands so the actual cells in my fingers had
expanded and burst. I
was absolute agony
and I couldn’t feel them again for four months.”
the water is so cold Lewis suggests that Robson wears a wet suit for
his swim across the lake. Lewis
tells an apprehensive Robson the importance of keeping his mind clear
focused. With Lewis running along the bank shouting encouragement,
completes his swim, but Lewis then wants him to do it again – without a
says: “I’m going to give you a bit of time to recover and I’m going
to psych you up properly.”
is shocked and says he can’t do it saying, “I only lasted five
minutes in the Tyne.”
replies: “Trust me on this and I’ll do it with you.”
agrees to take the plunge, and with Lewis swimming alongside him
he sets off across the lake.
describes how he felt during the swim: “My body was on fire and
telling me to give up but something inside was saying, ‘Carry on.’
Every time I
looked up there was Lewis. He reminded me of my dad -
my dad just pushed me along when I was
tells the programme that all he could remember as he came out of the
water was ‘the valley spinning, the ground started to morph, started to
and then I felt incredibly nauseous, I wanted to be sick’.
tells the programme: “I think what he’s trying to achieve by
swimming to Holy Island
is a great thing to
do. For an untrained swimmer to do this is absolutely magnificent. To swim all the way there
for his father, I
take my hat off. I
think it’s a great thing,”
reflects on the experience of his swim with Lewis and says: “He
will be there with me at Holy Island.
that’s what shapes us. They’ll all be there with me – all the people
on this journey.“
to get a few more ‘pleasant paddles’ under his belt before things
get serious, Robson travels to Cambridge where he meets Jordan Savage
Gloria Dawson – both committed wild swimmers.
take Robson swimming at Grantchester Meadows, which is described as
‘the most beautiful place to swim in Cambridge’. Robson then has a lone
swim in the River Cam
in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm that he joyfully describes
travels to Dover
to meet Freda Streeter, also known as ‘the general’.
Freda has trained hundreds of cross channel
swimmers and Robson joins a group of her students for a swim across Dover
He insists on wearing his wetsuit – which Freda describes as a ‘wimp’
years of experience make her the perfect person for Robson to
confide his worries to.
asks her: “How do I get over the fatigue, the anxiety, the fear that
I am going to have a heart attack?”
tells him: “You are a fit man.
Think positive thoughts. You are not going to
have a heart attack. When
you hit a brick wall push through it.”
next stop on his journey is a location that is surrounded by
myths and legends – Loch Ness.
sets up camp at the side of the Loch
as evening falls, but decides against a swim in the dark because
the beasties come out!”
an unsettled night he wakes to a beautiful morning and dives in
naked because “there’s only one way to enter that water that’s going to
you feel alive, awake and liberated”.
he swiftly changes from birthday
wetsuit – a more sensible option in the cold, murky waters of the Loch.
next challenge is a big one – to swim across the mighty Corryvreckan whirlpool located between the
islands of Scarba and Jura in Scotland.
meets with Simon Murie
who has spent years discovering and realising swims. His greatest
accomplishment has been to plot a swimming route across Corryvreckan,
world’s third largest whirlpool.
and Simon take a boat trip to see the whirlpool before they
attempt swimming across it. After
the raging waters, Robson comments: “That was some serious piece of
I have never seen anything like that in my life. I think you can admire
beauty of the ocean, the biggest swimming pool in the world, but my
ignore its ferocity at your peril.”
the day of the swim arrives, Robson is prepared but the boat taking
them out has mechanical problems, and there is a chance they won’t be
get out to the whirlpool.
boat is repaired at the last minute and Robson now has only thirty
minutes to swim the whirlpool before the tides turn it from tame to
pair complete the swim, despite encountering some massive jellyfish
on the way.
emotional Robson tells Simon: “There are only a few things I’ve been
proud of in my life and I’ll tell you what, that is one of them. Honest. I cannot believe what I’ve
just done. If I
can do that - I can do Holy Island.”
tells the programme: “He did fantastically. He swum one of the
toughest crossings in the British
Isles and he
did it on a spring tide – one of the toughest tides. All I can say is
awe of what he did today.”
reflects: “Everything seems to be progressing to one defining
moment. It’s all taking shape. There’s a sort of story here, this isn’t
about coming across the idyllic and the beautiful of Britain.
It’s about dealing with
self-doubt; it’s dealing with achievement, endurance, human endeavour -
bordering on life changing actually.
is reaching the end of his wild swimming adventure and he faces his
previous swim has taken its toll as he explains: “I’m in a lot of
pain actually, elbows hurting, knees are really shot, I think not only
ocean been talking to me, my body’s talking to me as well.”
Holy Island will be a challenge, as Olly Jay, Robson’s
pilot for the swim,
the programme: “I hear he’s not wearing a wetsuit which I’m a
little bit surprised about. It’s
swim. I think if it
takes much more than
40 minutes the cold will start hitting him.”
has kayaked the sea around Holy
for 11 years and tells Robson he has never seen anyone swim to it.
it’s a first!” Robson replies.
Robson sets off on the 10 mile swim the current keeps taking him off
says: “Thank goodness Olly
was there – he kept saying the current will take you eventually, go
with it. Don’t
fight it. let the current take you. And
Robson reaches the rocks of Holy
he can hardly stand as he completes what he describes as “one of the
things I’ve ever done”.
swim has taken its toll on Robson’s body and he collapses as his
body goes into shock. He tells the programme: “I was in trouble, I
I was in trouble, I was in trouble.”
swim was incredibly tough
for Robson and he tells the programme that there was one person in
who helped him achieve the challenge.
the way through this I’ve had people helping me. But I kept saying
at Holy Island I’m
going to be on my own. But
I wasn’t. Immediately
you start hearing
the voices. There
was so much imagery
during that swim but there was one overriding one – and it was my dad,
person who taught me to swim. Father,
teacher and protector, and he was protecting me out there.”
has one more swim he wants to do.
returns to Seaton Sluice with his son, to swim together at the place
his father first taught him to swim.
Robson Green on
What started out as a travelogue celebrating
beautiful, idyllic and undiscovered parts of Britain, using the self
mode of transport known as wild swimming, turned out to be one of the
worthwhile and profound experiences of my life. It was also the first
didn’t have to fake it in front of the lens.
it also became a voyage of overcoming self
reclaiming one’s identity, commitment, the importance of home and of
family. A notion that many people watching will share.
I ventured so far outside my comfort zone
the filming of this story but in a strange and ironic way it brought me
the comfort of my own home.
During filming so much imagery started to
itself and began to remind me of the happy times I use to spend with
Dad on holiday (which was always near water; be it alongside rivers,
oceans) and realising it was one of the a rare occasions when work and
worries, didn’t have to be the main topic of conversation.
My father taught me to swim.
His teaching methods were simple, but
effective. He hurled me into the North
the age of seven and then took great satisfaction at watching me
water to a froth. However, the method worked!
Just to give you an idea of the temperature of
stretch of water just up the road as the crow flies is the Arctic Ocean! Ten degree water
tends to focus the mind and I took off
like a motor boat towards the shoreline.
What draws us to water?
Whether I’m fishing, floating or swimming in a river I am happy. Mainly
someone who likes to have fun. All my memories connected to rivers,
oceans are happy ones. The older I get the more fun I have, the more I
life and the more I learn about myself.
was all about climate and conditions and who better to lower ones
with other than the Ice bear himself, the Indiana Jones of wild
Gordon Pugh. If I
thought the river Tyne
was cold think again Robson! I
was about to enter the world of Extreme Wild
During my journey Lewis Pugh was a person that
really stood out for me. He prepared me psychologically for
that was way outside my comfort zone. His
introduction to the notion
of committing to an objective, becoming unstoppable and reaching that
was life changing.
There was no swim I couldn't do after meeting Lewis because anything is
possible if you COMMIT!!
It seems the link between Lewis and I is that
want to swim where no one else had swum before, a major reason why I
do the Holy Island
swim. There must be a fear
factor involved. Someone
told me that
there are two types of people who think swimming in freezing
dangerous and they are fools and liars.