Ilkley Adventure Festival - Can wild swimming save the world? The rise of the recreational activist


A panel discussion on recreational activism in the outdoors

Join us at Alpkit Ilkley on October 27th at 7pm where Jo Moseley, Amy-Jane Beer, Sara Barnes & the Ilkley Clean River Group will be live in conversation about the rise of the recreational activist. Part of our month-long 'Ilkley Adventure Festival' event series.

New forms of outdoor recreation have blossomed in recent years. When lockdown closed our public pools, wild swimming bloomed as many more folk took to the rivers and lakes. At the same time, paddleboard sales skyrocketed so much that manufacturers struggled to keep pace with demand.

However, as this new wave of recreational adventurers began to explore the natural world, they discovered it wasn't quite the pleasant idyll they imagined. Our rivers have become increasingly polluted with plastic waste and sewage overflows. Whilst, as some encountered when angry exchanges disrupted their leisurely progress, only 3% of our waterways are legally accessible.

As this new generation reconnected with the natural world, a new awareness emerged. Many recreational adventurers became recreational activists, and a fresh wave of change began to break upon our shores.

Join us for a live conversation about what this movement means for the health of our planet as well as ourselves. Can wild swimming and paddleboarding really save the world?

Jo Moseley is a joy encourager, beach cleaner, midlife adventurer and author of Stand Up Paddleboarding in Great Britain (Vertebrate Publishing). As she turned 50 Jo returned to the hills and sea she loved as a child, body boarding, wild swimming and hiking. A couple of years later, she had her first paddleboard lesson and was hooked from the moment she stood up. Now an established ambassador for the sport, Jo's goal is to share the joy of the outdoors for our own wellbeing and the planet's.

Dr Amy Jane Beer is a biologist, nature writer and campaigner based in North Yorkshire. She is the author of over 30 books on natural history, a Country Diarist for The Guardian, columnist for British Wildlife and regular contributor to BBC Wildlife and Countryfile magazines. She contributed to the 2018 People's Manifesto for Wildlife as minister for Social Inclusion and Access to Nature and is co-organiser of the annual New Networks for Nature Symposium. Her latest book The Flow: a return to the river is the result of many years spent by, on, in and under the fresh running waters of Britain and features as Adventurous Ink's deep read for September and October.

Sara Barnes is a wild swimmer and author who lives in the Lake District near Crummock Water. She swims all year round, often alone, and believes that these solo dips are a meditative, life-affirming and completely natural way of connecting with her innermost feelings and thoughts. Much of her writing focuses on the power of wild swimming and being in nature. Sara's latest book The Cold Fix - Drawing strength from cold water swimming and immersion is published by Vertebrate in November. We will have advance copies on sale on the night.

The Ilkley Clean River Group have achieved the remarkable success of securing bathing water status for the River Wharfe, the first to be granted in the country! Their entire approach has been driven by volunteer campaigners and citizen scientists.

This panel discussion is brought to you as part of the Alpkit Adventure Festival in partnership with Adventure Books from Vertebrate Publishing and Adventurous Ink, the book club for Outsiders. The evening will be hosted by founder and curator of Adventurous Ink, Tim Frenneaux.

Tickets are available through eventbrite below