The Benefits of Wild Swimming in Scotland


Posed photos of middle-class urbanites in cashmere bobble hats have flooded social media as townspeople took to the trend of Wild Swimming in Scotland. It’s interesting that this is seen as a new trend, our open waters, once used by our Grandparents as a place where people congregated on a summers day to paddle, picnic and play are now the centre of a trending hashtag on Instagram- but is Wild Swimming in Scotland just a trend, or do people really seek out its benefits?

With the overbearing pressures of work, studying, finance, social life, exercise, technology, dieting, meal prep, self-care and whatever other millennial facade is thrown our way, society has been left feeling overwhelmed. With one third of Scots struggling to cope with mental health each year, it is no wonder that people are taking to Scottish Waters as a relief from daily life. 

Wild Swimming in Scotland

Wild Swimming is an instant mood booster

The worst thing my friends say to me as we stand, hands in pockets, hats on and hoods up, looking out the arctic lagoon is “You’ll feel better when you’re in”, but they (annoyingly) are correct- the most difficult part of Wild Swimming in Scotland is, getting in. 

As you feel the sharp shingles of water creeping through your wetsuit and onto your skin, you really do start to question your sanity, but as you fully submerge, you are overwhelmed with endorphins flooding your body, and suddenly, you feel a sense of tranquility overwhelm you.

Endorphins are the hormones that our body releases when we feel pain, or stress, and are released to our brain to improve our mood. The biological theory is that the shock of the cold water triggers our bodies natural stress response, which then increases heart rate, blood pressure and releases our bodies stress hormones. As our stress hormones travel through our body, we are left on a natural high.

Wild Swimming is not only a short-term mood booster, there are numerous studies to suggest that Wild Swimming can aid coping with long-term mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Immersion in cold water helps us to be able to reduce our bodies stress response, not just to cold water, but to every day challenges. 

“After accomplishing the cold water, I feel I am ready for the day ahead.”

-Savannah Cobb-Thomas, 24, Regular open water swimmer, Scotland
Wild Swimming in Scotland

Wild Swimming is a full body workout

There are various physical levels of what people class as’Wild Swimming’. To some, it is wading in for a quick dunk, to others, it is breast-stroking across the loch, either way, there are physical bonuses to taking the plunge. I won’t dive too deep into the physical impacts of Wild Swimming, as I do not want my opinions of Wild Swimming to be categorised within the confines of diet culture. However, I do think it is important to state that there are numerous physical benefits to Wild Swimming in Scotland. 

Improved physical strength

The act of using your arms, legs, hands and feet to stay afloat is a great form of exercise, with the added pressure from the cold water making your body work harder to keep you warm. The added weight of your wetsuit, neoprene socks/ boots, safety tow and wetsuit gloves helps burn calories and aid weight loss. 

Improved Cardiovascular health

Heading into the cold Scottish water will literally take your breath away. But in doing so, you are improving your cardiovascular health, the cold water immersion sparks a ‘shock response’ that stresses the cardiovascular system and elevates the heart rate- an important element in high-intensity heart-healthy exercise. 

Improved Immunity

Other physical benefits of Wild Swimming include:

  • Improved Cardiovascular health
  • Strengthens Immunity
  • Strengthens metabolism
  • Reduced pain and inflammation
It is important to take note that if you have any previous injuries or medical issues, you should speak with your doctor before starting new physical activities. 
Wild Swimming in Scotland

Wild Swimming builds a sense of community

“I like the sense of achievement cold water swimming gives me, particularly when I go with friends there is a sense of competition of who can bare to get in first!”

Birte Naeve, 22, Regular Wild Swimmer in Scotland

Although I crave the feeling of tranquility and joy that wild swimming brings me, I do often have moments where staying wrapped up under a blanket sounds a lot more appealing than plunging into the ice-cold Scottish waters, but then the overwhelming feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) comes into play, as I watch my friends waddle into the water. 

Having friends and family that are crazy enough to join me, is my favourite part of Wild Swimming in Scotland. As the cold water touches our skin, our screeches and squeals bounce off the surrounding mountains until the sounds escaping us are nothing but joy and laughter, cheerful sounds that can only be made by a group of buffoons taking on the challenge of Scotlands waters with nothing but some neoprene protecting us from the elements. 

With Wild Swimming becoming ever more popular in recent years, the Wild Swimming community has flourished, with more and more groups popping up, where people go to seek out companionships with like-minded people. Wild Swimming groups open up the waters to everyone, allowing people to safely swim with people, make friends and experience the benefits of Wild Swimming in Scotland, when they may otherwise not be able too. 

Find a Wild Swimming group near you, here

If you are looking to join a Wild Swimming group in Edinburgh, check out these ones below : 

Edinburgh Blue Balls
Location – Various around Edinburgh, including Portobello beach
Swim Times –Various, see Instagram
Social Media – Edinburgh Blue Balls

Chilly Dippers 
Location – Portobello Beach (by the Epsy pub), three miles east of Edinburgh
Contact – Olivia Sharron
Swim Time – Various, see Instagram
Social Media – @chilly.dippers

Wild Swimming in Scotland with friends

Safety considerations for Wild Swimming

Although beautiful, the Scottish Waters should not be under-appreciated, they can be somewhat dangerous if not respected. If you are participating in Wild Swimming in Scotland, it is important to be sensible and to keep safe, follow the checklist below to make sure you are doing all you can to keep safe and have fun in Scotlands waters. 

Acclimatise

Entering the water too quickly could give you ‘cold water shock’ where your body does not have time to react to the shock, cold water shock, at the worst, can be fatal. To build acclimatisation, start wild swimming in the summer months, when the waters are warmer, you can also take cold showers- but bare in mind, its always better to slowly wade into the water to allow your body to react safely to the cold. 

Check out the Outdoor Swimming Society’s guide to acclimatisation here.

Wear adequate protection

If you are Wild Swimming in winter, it is important you wear adequate protection to keep yourself warm- wear a neoprene wetsuit (of the correct season), neoprene gloves and socks and always swim with a tow float. Check out our Guide to Wild Swimming blog here where we highlight some of our favourite equipment. 

Don’t stay in too long

With all the adrenaline running through your body, you may simply be having too much fun and not realise how cold your body is, staying in for a couple minutes is enough to feel the benefits. 

Get warm and dry straight away

It is important to get warm and dry straight away and keep warm for 20-30 minutes after you swim- a good excuse to head to grab a coffee from your local cafe. 

Know the waters

Scottish waters are temperamental and should be respected- it is important to keep yourself safe by learning about the dangers of currents and tides and recognising the dangers of the waters. Bare in mind, weather conditions of previous days can completely change the safety of your local swimming spot. 

Check out the RNLI‘s guide to keeping safe swimming in the outdoors here.


If you like wild swimming, you will love Coasteering. At Intrepidus Outdoors we are getting more and more Wild Swimming groups or organised clubs joining us for a Coasteering adventure. Participants are taking to the picturesque Scottish sea by not only taking the plunge, but sending it off a cliff to get in!  

MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoningcoasteeringmountain biking and hill walking tours, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. We are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people.

If you are looking for additional information about adventures from Edinburgh, we have published a number of blogs:

  • A guide to Wild Swimming in Scotland here
  • Eight Scottish Wonders- by Paul Lamarra here
  • The best head torches for adventures in the outdoors here
  • High and Mighty- Bouldering in Scotland here
  • Top tips for backpacking Scotland here
  • 6 steps to being happy like a Scot here 
  • You’ll never get bored in Edinburgh here 
  • Best Budget Hotels and Hostels Edinburgh here 
  • Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
  • Stag Party Outdoor Adventures Edinburgh Essentials: here
  • SUP, A Buying Guide: here

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the our Trip Advisor, Youtube channel and check us out on Visit Scotland.

Intrepidus Outdoors – Adventures Edinburgh, Scotland!

Intrepidus Outdoors is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and specialises in Outdoor Activities. We are an adventure tourism and outdoor education provider based in Edinburgh. However, we also operate out of Glasgow, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Tweed ValleyPerth, Fort William, Cairngorm National Park, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Loch Tay.

We specialise in canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and hill walking, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. The experiences that we provide take clients into some of the most exquisite, incredible and extreme environments the UK has to offer. Through our MY Adventure (Edinburgh) brand we are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people. These expeditions are through the disciplines of hill walking as well as canoeing. 


Mission Statment :

To deliver the highest quality adventurous experiences to entertain, thrill and inspire.


 

Outdoor Activities: Edinburgh & Scotland

Our values reflect those of a business started by a small group of rock climbers and mountain bikers. The experiences that we have had adventuring, and our passion for the outdoors, has led us to choose a lifestyle dedicated to sharing our love for the outdoors with others. The approach that we take to the experiences that we provide, and the business that we run, is that of sustainability, and an unapologetic quest for quality.

For us at Intrepidus Outdoors, we recognise that our experiences kayaking in clean rivers, surfing on unpolluted beaches and climbing frozen waterfalls have contributed to who we are as people. Therefore, protecting the planet so that the next generation of adventurers can have their own experiences, is hugely important for us. We believe that for people, communities and businesses to make the choice to minimise their impact on our planet, they must first value the planet that we have. We feel that the best way for people to value our blue planet, is to have first hand quality experiences in nature. They can then see the beauty of a forest, feel the power of an ocean and learn to love what is outside our towns and cities, so that they then fight to protect them. We strive to through the products that we deliver make a small difference to peoples understanding of the impact that they have on our world.

Our experiences adventuring have made us who we are and Intrepidus Outdoors is a reflection of us. We provide real adventurous experience that we hope you will cherish.


 

Adventure Activities: Edinburgh & Scotland

There are cities where stuff is happening all year round and where you will never get bored. Edinburgh is undoubtedly one of these cities. It’s an extraordinary place, full of history, festivals, impressive architecture and plenty of attractions you won’t find anywhere else. Not to mention that we are located on the door step of so many amazing adventures and outdoor experiences.

We would like to introduce you to this extraordinary city, giving you a full range of possibilities that can be found north of the wall! Edinburgh has a huge dose of beautiful history, world-famous festivals, fantastic attractions, adrenaline fuled expereinces and great food. Edinburgh is calling you and you simply cannot refuse its invitation.

There are a many outdoor and adventurous experiences to be had in Edinburgh. If you are a thrill seeker visiting Edinburgh and interested in a canyoning, coasteering or mountain biking adventure in Scotland, Get In Touch!


Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is a fantastic destination with a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene. Here are 11 reasons why Edinburgh is a great city to visit with friends:

  1. Historic Architecture: Edinburgh is known for its historic and impressive architecture. Explore the medieval Old Town, with its narrow alleys and the iconic Edinburgh Castle perched on Castle Rock. The contrasting Georgian New Town offers elegant streets and squares.

  2. Edinburgh Castle: Dominating the city’s skyline, Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit. Explore the various sections of the castle, learn about its history, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from its vantage points.

  3. Royal Mile: The Royal Mile is the main street of the Old Town, running from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It’s lined with shops, pubs, and street performers, making it a lively and entertaining stroll.

  4. Festivals: Edinburgh is famous for its festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival. If you visit during August, you’ll be treated to a vibrant atmosphere with countless performances, events, and shows.

  5. Scenic Views: Climb Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano located in Holyrood Park, for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. It’s a great place for a hike or a picnic with friends.

  6. Cultural Museums: Edinburgh boasts several excellent museums, including the National Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, and the Scottish National Gallery. These institutions offer a diverse range of exhibits, from art and history to science and technology.

  7. Whisky Tasting: Scotland is renowned for its whisky, and Edinburgh is a great place to sample some of the finest Scotch whiskies. Explore local pubs and whisky bars to experience the rich and varied world of Scottish spirits.

  8. Haunted History: Edinburgh is known for its haunted history, and there are various ghost tours that take you through the city’s spookiest spots. It’s a fun and eerie way to learn about the darker side of Edinburgh’s past.

  9. Dynamic Arts Scene: The city has a vibrant arts scene, with numerous theaters, galleries, and performance spaces. Whether you’re into traditional or contemporary arts, you’re likely to find something that suits your tastes.

  10. Friendly Atmosphere: Scots are known for their friendliness, and you’ll likely find the welcoming atmosphere extends to the city itself. The friendly locals and the convivial ambiance of Edinburgh make it an excellent destination for a memorable trip with friends.

  11. Outdoor Activities on your Doorstep: Edinburgh is on the edge of the Pentland Hills, Ochil Hills, East Lothian, the East Neuk of Fife and a hour and a half drive from the Cairngorm National Park. We deliver outdoor adventures, activities and exciting pursuits to all of these amazing locations. 

Outdoor Adventures Scotland.

We operate out of Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Tweed ValleyPerth, Fort William, Cairngorm National Park, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Loch Tay.

It’s no secret that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From the rural coastlines to vast mountain ranges, we have it all. Whatever kind of experience you’re after you’re sure to find it here, so we’ve put together an adventurer’s guide to Scotland to help get you started. Our guide breaks down all the outdoor activities Edinburgh has to offer and many more adventures to keep you entertained on your holiday.

Scotland’s allure for outdoor adventures is rooted in its unparalleled natural beauty and diverse landscapes. From the rugged peaks of the Scottish Highlands to the tranquil shores of its countless lochs, the country provides a stunning backdrop for a myriad of outdoor activities. Hikers can traverse historic trails like the West Highland Way, while mountaineers are drawn to the challenge of scaling iconic peaks such as Ben Nevis. The expansive coastline and intricate network of rivers offer opportunities for water enthusiasts, from thrilling white-water rafting to peaceful kayaking. Scotland’s commitment to preserving its wilderness allows for accessible exploration, inviting both seasoned adventurers and casual nature lovers alike. With a rich cultural heritage woven into its landscapes, including ancient castles and historic sites, Scotland stands as an exceptional destination for those seeking not just outdoor excitement, but a profound connection with the untamed beauty of the natural world.

Moreover, Scotland’s outdoor appeal extends to its diverse range of activities, accommodating adventurers with varying interests and skill levels. Cyclists can navigate scenic routes, taking in the breathtaking views of rolling hills and coastal panoramas. As winter blankets the land, the Cairngorms and Glencoe transform into playgrounds for skiers and snowboarders, offering a thrilling winter sports experience. Wildlife enthusiasts find solace in the country’s natural habitats, where red deer roam freely, eagles soar overhead, and seals bask along the rugged shoreline. The proximity of Edinburgh, the capital city, further enhances the Scottish adventure, providing a seamless transition from urban exploration to the untamed wonders that lie just beyond its borders. In every season, Scotland’s outdoor wonders beckon, promising a tapestry of experiences that blend natural splendor with a rich tapestry of history and culture.

MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoningcoasteeringmountain biking and hill walking tours, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. We are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people.

If you are looking for additional information about adventures from Edinburgh, we have published a number of blogs:

  • Welcome to Edinburgh- A guide to the Scottish Capital: here
  • 6 steps to being happy like a Scot: here 
  • Adventures guide to Scotland: here
  • You’ll never get bored in Edinburgh: here 
  • Best Budget Hotels and Hostels Edinburgh: here 
  • Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
  • Stag Party Outdoor Adventures Edinburgh Essentials: here
  • Best Restaurants in Edinburgh: here

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the our  Trip AdvisorYoutube channelVisit Scotland page and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventures with us! Equally, if there is any gear that you would like us to review, drop us a DM.

Here is a list of our Frequently Asked Questions about Outdoor Adventures from Edinburgh!

What are the best outdoor activities in and around Edinburgh?

Canyoning, Coasteering, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Canoeing and Rock Climbing!

Is Edinburgh a good venue for adventures?

Edinburgh is on the doorstep of incredible locations for outdoor adventures. Only a short minibus ride and you are in world class venues for coasteering, canyoning, mountain biking and hiking.

Are your adventures suitable for beginners?

Yes. Our outdoor adventures are great for everyone!

Do you provide all the equipment?

We provide all technical equipment for your outdoor adventures with us. This includes canyoning and coasteering boots!

Is Edinburgh good to visit?

Yes. Edinburgh is a fantastic city to visit, offering a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Is Edinburgh expensive?

If you live in the south of England, No. If you live in the Midlands or the North of England, Yes.

How much is a pint in Edinburgh?

Between £4 and £6

Do you collect us from our hotel for adventure tours?

Yes. On our private adventure tours we collect clients from their hotels.

Where do you collect open group tours from?

Edinburgh Waverley Train Station – The Market Street Entrance.

What is the age range of your adventures?

Open groups 14+. Private groups all ages!

How extreme are your outdoor adventure tours?

Canyoning and coasteering has jumps up to 10meters and the canyoning has waterfall abseiling uptimes 17 meters. So you tell us?!

How much are your adventure tours?

Days trips from £95 per person including transport.

What is the most popular outdoor adventure from Edinburgh?

Canyoning. People LOVE canyoning. We also love canyoning!

Do you take pictures?

Yes. All instructors will take pictures with their iPhones and GoPro’s. They will send them to you after the adventure.

What is your favourite outdoor activity?

Our team like lots of different adventures! Some like the extreme trips like canoeing while others like the more mellow tours like canoeing.

How are your trip advisor review so good?

We aim the exceed the expectations of our clients on all our outdoor adventure tours from Edinburgh!

Where do you run adventure tours from?

We operate out of Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Tweed Valley, Perth, Fort William, Bruar, Dollar, Alva, Cairngorm National Park, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Loch Tay.  .

What are your group sizes for private outdoor adventure tours?

Between 8 and 80!

Do you provide transport for your outdoors experiences?

Yes! We have a National Operators License to operate our own fleet of 17 seater minibuses.

Who is the best adventure tour provider in Edinburgh?

With over 350 5star TripAdvisor reviews the Intrepidus team aims to exceed our customers expectations in every trip!

What provider runs the best outdoor experiences in Scotland?

Intrepidus Outdoors run canyoning, coasteering and hiking almost every day and we have over 350 5star TripAdvisor reviews!

Location


Unit 2/2
Edlin Industrial Estate
Edgefield Road
Loanhead
EH20 9QX

Contact


Phone: 0131 357 1990
Email: info@intrepidusoutdoors.co.uk

Opening hours


Mon - Fri
8:00 to 18:30
Sat & Sun
8.30 to 19.30