There has been growing interest in recent years here in the UK in what has come to be called "wildswimming", i.e. swimming outdoors in streams, rivers, lakes and seas. The majority of people who engage in wildswimming don close-fitting free-diving-style wetsuits to keep warm in these cold waters and eschew additional gear such as masks, fins and snorkels. A diehard minority practise assiduously to coldproof their bodies to do their wildswimming suitless.
I prefer to follow in the wake of Geoffrey Fraser Dutton, whose "Swimming Free: On and Below the Surface of Lake, River and Sea" stands proudly on my bookshelf:
He wore a suit, mask, fins and snorkel when he ventured into the water while touring the UK. As for the UK as a snorkelling destination, I'd say that thermal protection of some kind is de rigueur
here because open waters are generally cold all the year round. As for sealife, the Farne Islands near where I live are famous for their seal population and do attract their fair share of divers and snorkellers. I have to say that what can be seen from and above the waves will be more interesting than what is visible in the depths. Where I have snorkelled, the sight of the rising sun and the sandy beach is more pleasurable than what goes on underwater: few fish, the odd crustacean and clumps of seaweed. Just being in the water is therapeutic. Which reminds me that I've done plenty of diving into snorkelling history this year but precious little into the North sea with my vintage drysuit and basic gear.
I'm unfamiliar with Victoria Whitworth and her book "Swimming with Seals". Can you tell us a little more about her and her oeuvre