Have you sometimes passed by a cool stretch of water on a hot day and thought you’d just like to jump into it to cool off? But you are aware of the signs that say “no swimming in the river!”
Well this Sunday July 12th is your chance to ignore the signs and just do it. It’s the Big Jump, or the European River Swimming Day, when you can join with others to jump into a local river where the water quality has been tested and approved as safe.
Where can you do this? As with many Belgian events, there doesn’t seem to be a single Belgian website, so if you live in Flanders or Brussels you need to go here, and if you want to jump into a river in Wallonia you need to go here.
It’s not just to have fun. It’s educational too. The event draws attention to our waterways, which are essential to ecological health. Yet they are being increasingly polluted every day by industry, agriculture and households. The Big Jump puts rivers in the spotlight, and gives the opportunity for environmental organizations to bring water conditions to the attention of politicians.
I don’t know…the water temperature might be a tad chilly!
Actually today is very cool and drizzly, so I don’t think the turnout is going to be massive
Aren’t you like those people in Iceland who swim in the frozen sea every day?
Ha! Most definitely not Carol!
Water temperatures at this time of year tend to be c. 21 degrees so actually quite warm.
List of outdoor swimming areas in Flanders with water quality: http://www.kwaliteitzwemwater.be/.
Nothing similar that I could find for Wallonia but here’s an idea for some places:
Thanks a lot John: excellent links!
Open water swimming is increasing in popularity in the UK on the back of Triathlons. Water quality is an issue and can lead to event cancellations but all will wear a wet suit if it goes ahead.. Events such as the one from Hampton Ct to Kingston can have a few thousand participants. Wild swimming is also starting to appear in the public realm.
Good to see it’s not just Belgians who are crazy! I don’t think wet suits were worn over here. But I haven’t heard of anyone catching a river-borne disease. Thanks for your comment Mark