An Introduction to Wild Swimming in Scotland.
We love a bit of wild swimming, and it’s becoming increasingly popular across Scotland’s great outdoors. Let’s dive in and discuss the benefits of wild swimming, with some expert anecdotes from one of Scotland’s best-known wild swimmers.
If you fancy taking a wee dip on your visit to Scotland, look no further than nature’s very own swimming pools. We can’t promise warm – or even bearable – water, but that’s all part of the experience, isn’t it? Thanks to the Outdoor Access Code, swimming is permitted almost anywhere in Scotland, so long as swimmers act responsibly. There is no shortage of scenic spots to submerge in, with 125,000km of rivers, 16,500km of coastline, and over 31,000 lochs to choose from. Are you ready to take the plunge?
The Benefits of Wild Swimming
A surge of adrenaline comes with all adventurous activities, and wild swimming is no different. The endorphin release will leave you craving more, and that’s only one of the rewards. Wild swimming has numerous physical and psychological benefits. It quiets the mind, and heightens your senses. The fresh air, sunshine (if you’re lucky) and scenic stimulation are all excellent for mental health, while the cold water increases blood flow to your organs, and boosts the immune system. It is also described as natural pain relief, soothing joint pain and sore muscles. Wild swimming makes you feel energised and alive.
When you immerse yourself in the brisk water, it’s important to remember that the chill is all part of the thrill! Wild swimming enthusiast, and all-round crazy character Calum McLean attests to this:
“I find it always lifts my mood and fulfils my natural curiosity for adventure. I’m always looking for new spots to swim, at any time of year. The natural high from a good swim is a magical feeling that many wild swimmers will preach about to anyone who’ll listen!”
Calum is a TV presenter, film-maker, and obsessive wild swimmer from Inverness. His water-based exploits have landed him his very own wild swimming series Dhan Uisgeon BBC ALBA, which is filming it’s third series – in winter! Calum has been avidly swimming since he was a wee boy, but has only fully adopted wild swimming as a hardcore hobby in the last ten years.
Calum made a video a few years ago called the Scottish Water Temperature Chart which went viral on social media, and he is still heckled in the supermarket to this day. “Is it Baltic, aye?”.
Calum’s favourite wild swimming spots in Scotland are:
- Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye– beautiful at low tide, the grey & black sand is revealed and there’s fun surf to play in.
- Loch A’an, Cairngorms– the long walk in over a mountain is worth it for the incredible clear water.
- Soldiers’ Leap, Killiecrankie– a deep river pool with easy access and some challenging jumps if you’re brave enough.
Top Tips for Wild Swimming
Wild swimming is rewarding and exhilarating, but can be also dangerous, so should be approach with a bucket-load of caution and good old common sense. Here are some tips from the experts:
- Choose a swimming spot which matches your ability and experience.
- Always get into the water slowly to acclimatise your body and stabilise your breathing before you start to swim; newbies might want to start off by wearing a wetsuit.
- Make sure you can get in and out of the water easily, and don’t swim too far from the edge.
- Never jump into water without checking the depth first.
- When you get out of water, get dried and put on lots of layers straight away.
We think that wild swimming is something everyone should try at least once, and there’s no better place than Scotland. The scenery is immense, and wild swimming is the perfect way to get up close and personal with your surroundings. Who’s coming for a swim on the wild side?
Follow Calums McLean’s Scottish adventures and wild swimming escapades on his Instagram page @caldamacL
If you are interested in escaping the city for the day we deliver a range of outdoor activities including hill walking, canyoning, coasteering, and canoeing. We provide these adventures to lots of clients including stag and hen groups, adults visiting Edinburgh and also a kids holiday clubs. At Intrepidus we also like to provide interesting and informative blog posts about our experiences of Edinburgh! Hope you enjoyed. 🙂