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Wild swimming in the Thames

This year we have had a little mini heatwave in the UK which was greatly appreciated since the costs of travelling abroad are astronomical now.

As part of my staycation, I decided to hike a quieter section of the Thames path, around midday I really needed to cool off and the river was looking very tempting indeed.  I’d not seen anyone in a while and being midweek even the boaters seemed to have taken a day off, so I started exploring the banks along the path for a good place to enter the water.

It took a little while, but I finally found a nice little bay that led gently into the water which was perfect except for not having anywhere to hide my clothes, however there was another entry point nearby hidden by trees at the bottom of a steep drop which was completely hidden from the path.

Having fully explored the area to make sure there we no anglers or sunbathers around I headed back to my hidden place and carefully climbed down to undress. Given this was in broad daylight I felt a little nervous as I slowly undressed starting with my boots. I’d just pulled off my top when a barge slowly chugged its way down the river, and quickly ducked down holding my arm over the girls.

Thankfully the branches of the surrounding trees went down into the water and provided a good amount of cover and the family on board were not paying too much attention to the riverbank. I crouched stock still and wide eyed almost willing them to catch me… unfortunately for them they continued on their journey oblivious, and I finally stood up again as they passed round the bend.

My heart was beating fast now so I waited for it to steady before continuing. I considered swimming in my shorts since they would probably dry out quite quickly in the heat but talked myself out of that option and finally removed my last item of clothing and carefully hid them away from prying eyes.

No matter how many times I do this the thrill of being naked in nature never goes away, carefully feeling my way forward I stepped under the boughs and branches and walked into the surprisingly cold water up to to my ankles. Though still hidden from the path I was now quite exposed to the river itself and it would be a lot harder to cover up next time.

As I became more accustomed to the water, I gingerly edged my way forward into the water until it reached my knees. At this point I could see in both directions along the river, and they would be able to see me, since the path was clear I continued walking close to the riverbank enjoying the blazing sun and finally reaching a point where the banks were too overgrown and steep to climb and there would be no real way to cover up.

At which point I heard the chugging of another barge coming down the river, there were only a few options available to me at this point and while it would have been fun to just wave as they passed by, I would have had to end my fun early… so taking a deep breath I waited until the bow of the barge came round then quickly sat down in the water.

It was freezing everywhere at once and really took the breath out of me, had the sunbathers on the front of the barge been a little more attentive they would have seen more than the splash. Swimming away was really not an option until my body acclimatised fully to the water, so I just had to stay there while the barge slowly passed.

The water is quite dark so I was pretty sure they would not be able to see much below my bare shoulders which were just above the waterline. It was however clear I did have quite the audience as they slowed down, one of them shouted out “feeling the heat!”, I just laughed and said, “isn’t everyone!”

They were obviously friendly and it was fairly obvious they could see I was at least topless so I returned their wave which ensured the girls appeared above the water line for a moment, this elicited cheer and laughter from the bargees, at which point I blushed as I quickly ducked back under the water using my waving arm to cover up.

They were clearly happy they had caught me skinny dipping but seeing my blushes continued their way, though watching and waving all the time. I waited until they were almost out of the way before I stood up again and pretended to be looking to see if they had passed round the bend, waiting for another cheer before quickly dropping back into the water.

Having given a group a distant view I was almost tempted to call it a day but I really wanted to swim first. Having waited a couple of minutes to make sure the barge was not coming back I waded out a little deeper into the water then pushed off into a breast stroke.

I quietly swam downstream for quite a way, along the way I was hidden from the Thames path most of the time but not always. If I heard hikers I would move into the riverbank or tread water until they passed, a swimmer not drawing too much attention thankfully. There were also more places to hide among the trees when I heard boats coming along the river, which at one point led to me sunbathing naked at a small clearing behind some reeds while a particularly slow boat passed… though there was a clear route up the bank so I was really on edge from the chance of someone exploring the Thames path more closely.

I spent almost an hour in the water before I was finally caught by accident, I’d become a little too bold and was swimming far enough away from the bank that some walkers had noticed me through the trees. Had it not been so quiet I might not have heard one of them stage whisper “over there, I’m pretty sure she’s not wearing a swimsuit”.

She was clearly quite observant and from the rustling of trees it was obvious her walking partner was too, after a few more strokes she said, “that is definitely a bare bottom” and laughed. I pretended not to hear them talking and continued my way for a short while as it was fun to hear their comments as they changed direction and walked back along the river to watch my bottom bob along the surface.

Spotting a little break in the trees up ahead I decided to up the ante for myself having been caught and treaded water for a little while so they could overtake then allowed myself to float downriver on my back with my eyes closed. This would normally be a really relaxing thing to do but it took a lot of control to not to tense my muscles to ensure everything was on display above the water.

It certainly stopped their talking for a little while, with only one commenting “she’s clearly enjoying herself ” and the inevitable quip regarding the proof of me being a natural red. I kept my eyes closed most of the time but did open them enough to get a clear view of who was watching, it seems my audience consisted of a small mixed group of hikers who were all having fun.

At this point I could see the boathouse and knew it was time to start heading back towards my clothes, so I let my legs sink into the water turned around to swim upstream. Swimming upstream was much harder work but my audience were stealthily keeping pace with me all the way and watching from the top of the bank when they could. Annoyingly I could hear another barge coming downstream and really did not want to be caught by them too so I swam as quickly as I could to hide behind a fallen tree that was partially submerged in the water.

It would only hide me from one direction but there were enough reeds around that I managed to pass unnoticed by the barge despite the number of people on it. Though the walkers did notice me with one saying “she’s looking in the wrong direction” and laughing as the group continued on down the track.

It took about 10 minutes for the boat to finally pass and my walkers had moved on, my heart very much racing again I decided it was now time to focus on getting back as swimming in a river is far more challenging than the sea at the best of times. I headed back out into the water and continued swimming upstream, I’d completely forgotten about the small bay with the natural incline I had originally planned to swim from but it seemed my hikers had decided this would be the perfect spot to take a lunch break.

I could see them in the distance though they clearly pretended not to have seen me so I had to make a quick decision as to how to handle things, my choices were to try and swim past quietly and hope they would not comment on it or swim back down river and wait things out. Given fatigue was starting to set in I decided the first option was probably the best one so I continued on my way blushing furiously as I came clearly into view.

I had almost drawn level before one of the smiling groups decided to acknowledge me calling out “beautiful day for swimming” to which I agreed while continuing to swim. Then one of the others seeing that I might be about to pass asked “did you happen to forget anything today?” causing the group to laugh. Initially I acted horrified before finally laughing myself saying “wild swimming’s been on my bucket list for years, I figured today was the day”.

I was about to start swimming again when another of the group said “don’t swim too far out the currents can be strong”, I laughed and said “my feet can touch the bottom from here so I should be okay”, which was true as my toes did keep hitting the mud on the river bed… but they responded “with all those boats going past I don’t believe you”.

I let myself float closer to the riverbank until my shins were resting against the slope and said “I’d be happy to prove it” while grinning expecting them to wave me on my way. Instead, she said go on then, I looked nervously up and down the river before saying “okay watch”, I placed one of my arms over my breasts and carefully stood up on the slope stating “see, the waters only waist height here”.

I’d tried to judge it so my fluff was below the water but had not quite managed, which drew a smile and the comment “seems you are right but I’m not quite sure that’s the bit you need to be covering”. I was standing no more than 2 meters from the group so they all had a very clear view so after a few moments I quickly covered up with my other hand and laughed saying “looks like it was closer than I thought” and turned around to spare my blushes and flash my bottom as I stepped deeper into the water.

They seemed like really nice people so I decided to play for a little while longer, with my fluff covered I turned back around to face them with one arm still over my breasts and said “my clothes are quite close and my arms are aching from swimming, would anyone mind if I got out here?”, one of the older women in the group laughed and said I don’t think the boy’s would speak to us again if we refused.

The boys in question were all men and everyone seemed quite happy with the idea, so after quickly checking the river and making sure the path was clear I slowly walked up the bank and out of the water with my hands covering the important bits. Initially I kept my arm over my breasts until the water had reached my navel and paused for a moment and looked around once more before commenting “well I think you’ve seen it all at this point” and moving my arm away.

I took the opportunity to move my hair back over my shoulders so I could stretch out a bit and show the girls off before finally walking out of the water and standing in front of the group. I let them watch me for a few moments before noting how much mud had gathered around my feet and walked a little way back into the water turning to my side as I bent over to rinse them off to keep things from getting too explicit.

As I walked back towards the middle of the group, I brushed the water off my body to prolong the experience as much as possible, one of the hikers commented “well you’re clearly not shy, I thought you would be dashing straight off to your clothes”.

It was clear everyone was still having fun, so I just laughed and just said “with my luck I’d probably end up tripping over if I dashed past, besides I didn’t bring a towel either so I’m hoping I’ll dry off by the time I get there.”

This led to the most British thing that has ever happened on any of my adventures, they offered me a cup of tea. I laughed and said “I’d love one” and I ended up spending the next ten minutes sitting naked on the edge of the bank with my new friends in a rather less than ladylike fashion slowly drinking a freshly brewed cup of tea as I dried off.

Shortly after the tea was finished, I heard a gate clash at the other end of the field and to the laughter of the group quickly dashed into the trees for cover. It took a while for the second group of walkers to pass and thankfully they did not investigate their dogs barking, the group found it hilarious as I walked back out from behind the trees in the distressed princess pose once more.

Once the coast was clear I uncovered myself again with the girls making it obvious I was enjoying the situation. At this point I had lost track of time on how long I’d been away from my clothes, the group noted this and offered to walk back with me and to help if they had went missing.

This in turn led to the slowest km I had ever walked as we passed though the long grass with the group kindly running ahead to hold back any brambles or nettles that might cause problems. I honestly have no idea what I intended to do if another group had walked down the path as there really was nowhere to easily hide. Finally, we reached the tree and after a quick twirl at the request of the group I climbed down the bank to check on my clothes.

Thankfully they were exactly where I had left them so I picked them up and walked back into the small part of the clearing where the group would be able to see me get dressed. Given my attire consisted only of a t-shirt, shorts, socks, and boots it did not take too long. Though I did start by sitting on the floor to put on my socks and boots after brushing any debris off the soles of my feet.

Once suitably attired one of the gents offered a hand to pull me back up the bank which I gratefully accepted. It turned out we were heading the same direction, so we all walked back to town and occasionally chatted about things that did not involve my being naked. They were kind enough to invite me to lunch and insist on paying after learning I was not carrying any money, saying it was the least they could do for such an entertaining afternoon.

This to me was the perfect way to properly end the lockdown, though I imagine you can guess how I spent most of the past summer.


Adventures of an Exhibitionist