What happens when you take two sets of slightly eccentric brothers, both sets of whom originate from the North of England, and put them in a very cold pond in Kings Cross, central London on Sunday morning early in the May Bank holiday? Something like this…
Jack, Calum and Robbie Hudson aka the Wild Swimming Brothers – little, middle and big brothers respectively in age but the opposite in height – got in touch with BJ and I when they saw one of our blog posts about wild swimming spots in the UK.
We immediately hit it off as they all love being in the water, love joking around, and generally love having fun together outdoors. Calum and I hatched a plan to get all of the brothers together in an outdoor swimming venue in central in some Bowler & Beach swim shorts.
With the help of the very talented Stephen Hughes as our photographer (check out his work here), we had a hugely entertaining – if slightly chilly – morning at Kings Cross Pond…. Read on to find out more about the Wild Swimming Brothers and our chosen venue.
So who are the Wild Swimming Brothers?
Robbie, the eldest brother explains, “Originally from Cumbria, England, Jack, Calum and I grew up in a small village in the Lake District and spent our childhood diving into lakes, leaping off rock stacks into rivers and kayaking down streams to find hidden islands. These days we all live apart, Jack in Newcastle, Calum in London, and myself in Berlin, but we come together on wild swimming adventures. We swim to promote conservation, motivate people to embark on their first wild swim and to get closer to the natural world.”
And now for their penchant for rather crazy challenges…
Jack, the youngest of the clan, starts, “Over the years we’ve swam together off the Princes Islands of Turkey, bathed in mountain springs in the Himalayas and dived into the palace pools of Indian Maharajas. Apart we’ve swam in 6 continents, from the waterways of Venezuela to the crater lakes of Guatemala, from the vast sandy beaches of Australia to the dense jungles of Indonesia.”
Calum adds, “Our recent expedition in 2015 saw us swim across the 3rd biggest whirlpool in the world, The Corryvreckan off the coast of Scotland and later last year we become the first people ever to swim the 90 mile River Eden from source to sea on our ‘Swim the Eden’ journey.” You can read more about this monster challenge on their website here, as well as seeing some interesting pictures of the journey…
What is the latest challenge for the brothers?
Calum, the ring leader usually responsible for the wild ideas explains enthusiastically, “We’re just launching our 2016 expedition this August called “Into the Maelstrom”. This is will be a world first attempt to swim across the two biggest whirlpools in the world, The Moskstraumen and Saltstraumen. Swirling violently off the coast of Norway, patrolled by pods of Killer Whales, above the Arctic Circle and on the edge of the Lofoten Islands these two vast vortexes are the strongest and fastest tidal currents in the world and will be our biggest challenge yet.”
You read more about this epic challenge and stay abreast of the latest updates via the Wild Swimming Brothers blog here. BJ and I wish the Hudson boys all the best in their challenge, and will be featuring a blog post on them in our popular format of ’10 questions in 10 minutes’ soon!
A final word on the chosen venue for our shoot, the Kings Cross Pond
The Kings Cross, Pond, in the very impressively regenerated development behind Kings Cross station, is the first of its kind. The UK’s first ever man-made fresh water public bathing pond is a piece of innovative Land Art, within a working construction site area of London’s King’s Cross. The 40m long, natural, chemical-free pond is the creation of Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and artist Marjetica Potrc. The pond heats up as the seasons get warmer, and whilst it was a brisk 11 degrees Celsius when we were there in early May, it reaches balmy temperatures north of 22 degrees in the summer! Earlier in the year you get to benefit from the very cool sauna they have on-site…
You can book a visit to the Pond here, and on behalf of the Bowler & Beach brothers and the Wild Swimming Brothers, we would heartily recommend it as a slightly different but must-do London outdoor experience!