Ever fancied breaking free from the mundane shackles of your chlorinated, fluorescent-lit local lido? Fancy trading in that dreary old lane for a rippling, serotonin-spiking, glorious British wild swim?
Whether you’ve nodded approvingly at the first or wheezed in sheer disbelief at the latter – the truth is, Wild Swimming is not just for your hippie aunt living in Cornwall. It’s a liberating, exhilarating experience that brings you one stroke closer to nature. And well, I’ve got to admit, it’s a heck lot more interesting than attempting to master the perfect tumble turn at your local swimming baths or trying not to swallow any pool water. Yuk! So if you’re a seasoned ducker or a nervous newbie, it’s high time you grabbed your swim shorts and dipped your toes into the magic of Wild Swimming in the UK.
But, where do you start? How do you tame the wilderness for a lovely paddle? Luckily for us, the UK is a wild swimming paradise. There’s a vast array of spots, each with its unique charm and natural beauty. I’ve tried to break it down to five top areas – a difficult task, I assure you! Let’s get our feet wet, shall we?
1. Warleigh Weir, Somerset, England: Quite the crowd-pleaser, this one! There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the invigorating waters of the River Avon, alongside fellow swimmer enthusiasts. And when you’re done, feel free to execute an elegant British kickback on the adjacent grassy areas. Perfect for picnics!
2. Loch an Eilein, Aviemore, Scotland: Say hello to the sapphire-blue waters of Loch an Eilein. Surrounded by the rugged Cairngorm mountains and dense pine forests, the magic words here are “seclusion” and “wilderness”. The water’s a tad chilly, but we Brits are hardy, right?
3. Milarrochy Bay, Loch Lomond, Scotland: Within driving distance of Glasgow, this is a great spot close to the village of Balmaha. Surrounded by Munros and walking trails, the stunning stretch of water has a sandy bay giving great access to the water.
4. Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy, Wales: Blue by name, blue by nature. A deeper plunge into this former slate quarry offers a bit of aquatic excitement. For the adrenaline junkies amongst us, it’s a top spot for coasteering and cliff jumping. Safety first, though!
5. White Park Bay, County Antrim, Northern Ireland: Aside from the jaw-dropping view of the Atlantic Ocean, you might also get to swim with cows here – yes, you heard that right! The local cows tend to enjoy a good paddle in these waters, too. And who could blame ’em?
The thrill of wild swimming is something that words fail to capture. It’s a sensory overload – a cocktail of nature, serenity, invigoration, and freedom wrapped in just your sports swimwear and a watery cloak. So go ahead, swap the chlorinated blues for these stunning hues.
Remember: Always ensure you’re adequately dressed down, respect the surrounding nature, and most importantly, keep safe!