Wild Swimming in Scotland
Welcome to our aquatic haven, where the allure of open waters meets the thrill of untamed landscapes. If you’ve ever felt the irresistible call of nature, the pull of adventure in your veins, then you’re in the right place. This is a rendezvous for those who seek the exhilaration of wild swimming – an exploration into the untouched realms where crystal-clear lochs, meandering rivers, and rugged coastal shores become the canvas for our aquatic adventures.
In this blog, we embark on a journey beyond the chlorinated confines of traditional pools, discovering the hidden gems that Scotland’s wild waters have to offer, we’ll guide you through to reveal the benefits, hidden gems and top tips in our ‘Wild Swimming in Scotland’ blog.
- Benefits of Wild swimming
- Scotlands best Wild Swimming locations
- Keeping safe in the water
- Essential gear for taking the plunge
Benefits of Wild Swimming
Wild swimming offers a myriad of benefits for both physical and mental well-being. The act of swimming in the wild, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, promotes stress reduction and a sense of tranquility. This connection with the natural environment fosters mindfulness and elevates mood through the release of endorphins.
Cold water exposure, a hallmark of wild swimming, not only boosts the immune system but also improves circulation, contributing to better overall health. Beyond the physiological benefits, wild swimming encourages social interaction, community building, and a profound appreciation for the environment. The adventure and exploration associated with finding new swimming spots add an element of excitement, making wild swimming a holistic and rejuvenating experience for both body and mind.
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Immune System boost
- Connection with Nature
- Social Interaction
- Improved sleep
- Adventure and Exploration
Our top 5 Wild Swimming locations- Scotland
Scotland boasts a plethora of stunning wild swimming locations, each with its unique charm and beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned wild swimmer or a newcomer seeking to dip your toes into the adventure,
- Glen Nevis, Fort William
- Fairy Pools, Skye
- Glencoe Lochan, Glencoe
- Gladhouse reservoir, Edinburgh
Glen Nevis, Fort William
Glen Nevis, located at the foot of Ben Nevis—the UK’s highest peak—in the Scottish Highlands, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and it offers some inviting swimming spots amidst its scenic beauty. Some of these clear mountain-water pools are hidden within the towering peaks of the glen, so be prepared for the walk- it’s always totally worth it for the picturesque wild swimming experience. Here are a few Glen Nevis swimming spots worth exploring:
- Lower Falls (Polldubh Falls)
- Upper Falls (An Steall Ban)
- Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge
Fairy Pools, Skye
The Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye are renowned for their magical beauty and offer a captivating wild swimming experience. Located in Glen Brittle, at the foot of the Black Cuillin mountains, the Fairy Pools consist of a series of crystal-clear, vibrant blue pools connected by cascading waterfalls.
Glencoe Lochan, Glencoe
Glencoe Lochan, situated in the iconic Glencoe Valley in the Scottish Highlands, is a picturesque location surrounded by woodland. While wild swimming in Glencoe Lochan may not be as popular as in some other locations, the lochans’ tranquil setting makes it an appealing spot for those seeking a peaceful swim in a beautiful natural environment.
Gladhouse Reservoir, Edinburgh
Gladhouse Reservoir is located in the Scottish Borders, near the village of Temple. The reservoir, also known as Gladhouse Loch, is situated amidst picturesque surroundings and offers a serene setting for a peaceful escape
Wild Swimming Scotland- Keeping Safe
Wild swimming in Scotland offers a unique and exhilarating experience, but safety should always be a top priority. Here are some key safety considerations for wild swimming in Scotland:
Scotland’s waters can be cold, even in the summer. Cold water can lead to hypothermia, so it’s crucial to be aware of the temperature and wear appropriate gear like wetsuits to stay warm.
Scotland’s weather is known for its variability. Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for changes in conditions. Strong winds, rain, and low visibility can impact safety in the water.
Know the Environment
Understand the characteristics of the water you’ll be swimming in, such as currents, tides, and potential hazards. Be cautious of submerged rocks, underwater vegetation, and any potential dangers beneath the surface.
Consider wearing safety equipment such as brightly colored swim caps, which make you more visible in the water. Depending on the conditions and location, you may also need items like a tow float for increased visibility and buoyancy.
If you’re not accustomed to cold water, gradually acclimate your body by entering the water slowly and allowing time for adaptation. Avoid jumping straight into deep, cold water without first getting used to the temperature.
Essential gear for taking the plunge
When engaging in wild swimming in Scotland, having the right equipment is crucial for safety, comfort, and enjoyment. Here’s a list of recommended equipment for wild swimming:
Although some of you more seasoned wild swimmers may thrive off the adrenaline from the numbing chill as your skin touches the mountain water, wearing a wetsuit is always a good idea- not only for warmth, but for buoyancy too.
Unless you are a distance swimmer, there is no need to spend hundreds on a wetsuit, a cheap all-rounder will do to start with, here are our favourite budget and not-so-budget wetsuits:
Wether you’re trying to swim a distance or you’re heading in for a quick dip, a tow float is essential in keeping you safe in the water. A tow float is a buoyant device that you can tow behind you while swimming. It not only increases your visibility in the water but also provides a safety float if you need a rest or assistance.
Arguably, it is not the most essential piece of equipment, but it definitely is for me. Quite frankly, there is nothing more lovely than sipping on your steaming tea or coffee to warm up your shivering body from the chilly Scottish water- it’s even better if you bring a wee sweet treat too.
Contrary to the suggestions from google search engine, you do not need a fancy dry-robe to warm you up after your swim- unless you want to look like a hardened swimmer for the instagram. Wrapping up warm after your swim, is just as important as keeping warm in the water.
MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoning, coasteering, mountain 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.
- Eight Scottish Wonders- by Paul Lamarra here
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- 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, Visit 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.