Caught by the River

Waterlog at 20

12th May 2019

This evening, BBC Radio 3 will commemorate 20 years since the publication of Roger Deakin’s seminal Waterlog – an account of his swimming journey through Britain’s rivers, lakes, lochs, pools and the sea. As wild swimming enthusiast Alice Roberts discovers, not only has the book inspired others to follow in Deakin’s breast strokes and take up wild swimming,  but it has highlighted the importance of connecting with the natural world. This celebration of wild swimming (which includes archive recordings of Roger Deakin and extracts from Waterlog), features input from friends, writers and wild swimming enthusiasts including Sue Clifford, Richard Mabey, Robert Macfarlane, Joe Minihane and Susie Parr, with wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson. The programme will be broadcast at 18:45 (and available here thereafter).

The milestone – and news of this celebratory broadcast – have given us cause to reflect, once again, on the essential influence of Deakin on this site. Discussing the great man over email recently with Chris Watson, Chris wrote: ‘I always felt that Roger had an intuitive understanding and enjoyment of sound. It could be listening with pleasure and anticipation to the bubbling rhythm of a roasting salmon being drawn out from his kitchen Aga or the satisfying crunch of a dock plant being separated from its roots by his special docking spade.’ Such delight in small pleasures is just one example of where the Deakin and CBTR attitudes to life intersect.

If you’d like to take this opportunity to delve back into our archive of tributes to Roger Deakin – published as a series of posts in 2016 to mark 10 years since his untimely passing – you can do so here.