Wild swimming in Northern Spain

September 14, 2017

Six year old POD was back in a river again recently, this time in the picturesque town of Cangas de Onis, Asturias. You may remember she went wild swimming last summer in Potes, Cantabria. Initially we’d thought this medieval town would be somewhere we visited when we wanted the supermarket. In actual fact, it surprised us all and we regularly found time to stop by even if we’d been exploring much of the day.

Aside from the supermarket, there were three reasons for this. Many of the restaurants served what was essentially a three course meal (with drinks) for just €13. After we’d made some room in our tummies, there was also the most wonderful ice-cream shop to visit with an abundance of delicious flavours to sample. Funnily enough it was after a visit to this ice-cream shop, we stumbled upon kids playing in the river. POD had only begun 1-2-1 swimming lessons six months earlier but she was keen to have a paddle. In no time at all, the dress was off and she was in albeit in her pants! Although slightly apprehensive at first, seeing the other children having a whale of a time meant she was quickly attempting doggy paddle while the POD Father stood close-by.

From that moment on, it became a bit of a thing and we’d venture back whenever we could so POD could swim in the river with the locals. It didn’t matter that she didn’t speak any Spanish and they didn’t speak any English, they got by through expressions, hand signals and laughter. We were also more prepared after the first time too taking swimmers, footwear and a change of clothes. It became a bit of a thing, whenever we were in Potes she’d want to go in the river. That worked for everyone as we’d do something as a family we wanted to do beforehand.

We really hoped when we were in Asturias a couple of weeks back, we’d find another Potes. Or at least a town not too far away from us that had lots to offer. As it happens, on our first full day we headed to the picturesque Cangas de Onis to check out the market. Nearing the town we discovered the most magnificent Roman bridge, the river beneath looking like it had crystal clear water. Having had a look from above, we absolutely had to head down to have a paddle.

It was a beautiful warm summer’s day and POD was keen to give swimming a go. Rather like the first time in Potes, we were completely unprepared with no swimming costume. But that’s what makes wild swimming so much fun isn’t it? We bought POD some water shoes to protect her feet and in she went, the POD Father standing close-by to ensure she stayed safe. Although there weren’t any kids nearby to play with, she got to watch little fish swim past her feet.

We ventured back to Cangas de Onis a couple of times after that and while POD was keen to go back in the river, cloudy weather would have made the water chillier. It was a shame for her as the water was so ridiculously clear but we didn’t want her to get cold. We’d highly recommend wild swimming when it’s warm enough. Common sense prevails when it comes to keeping kids safe in rivers. We always check water to make sure it’s clear (we definitely wouldn’t let POD go in if it were blue, green or murky). We keep her away from algae and rocks she might slip on. She never goes in on her own and usually wears shoes and a hat.

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