I grew up close to the river Ystwyth, near Llanilar, and I knew every place to play. All the streams, rivers, paths, roads, fields, and woodlands.
A few miles cycling to get sweets or visit friends in Trawsgoed was not uncommon, sometimes twice a day.
We often visited the river’s banks – it wasn’t deep enough to have a swim but it was still a fun place to be. A feature of the area, of growing up, that was very important. When older I would visit the Rheidol on a hot day for a swim, or visit the beach and brave a swim in the cold sea. There will always be a danger near water, a risk, but I think we were sensible enough.
BBC reports that South Wales Police have issued a warning – “Keep out of the docks”.
It’s such a shame to read this.
“Our message to youngsters is simple: ‘If you want to go for a swim, then go to the swimming baths where the environment is organised and safe. And keep out of the docks.’“
Insp Tony Williams, of South Wales Police
They are correct with their warning. The docks are not a safe place to swim. We don’t quite know why, this isn’t an evidence based warning. But we know that the docks are not looked after in a way for people to enjoy them. Anything could be lurking under the water’s surface. They haven’t been cleaned for a while, and they don’t have much access. The water may be a little stinky too.
It would be great to see young people in the Taff valley have the same connection with their local rivers, or waterways, that I did when growing up. Connecting with your local environment is an important factor for fulfillment – which is important at any age. The person diving in the Bay had the correct attitude. We shouldn’t criticise their desire to connect and play in their local environment.