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Wild swimming: Scotland’s most fantastic spots

Wild Swimming Spots

If you’re going to swim outdoors, it should be somewhere breathtaking... and in more than one way.

Scotland is home to some exceedingly beautiful – albeit cold – places to strip off and enjoy the water after a day of serious hiking. Or just sunbathing and slowly traipsing around (we’re not judging). It’s a very nice way to bathe on a camping holiday, too.

So, we’ve picked out a few of our favourites. They’re all very different, both in location and formation, so we hope they’ll help you decide what appeals most and get started on your wild swimming adventures...

 

Higher Glen Etive

Ballachulish, near Glencoe  

Good access from the road and dramatic views make Higher Glen Etive a great place to take a dip. Drop pools along the river are popular for skinny dipping, despite the freezing temperatures – and you can laugh it all off afterwards in the Clachaig Inn, a well-reputed B&B serving food and drink in nearby Glencoe. 

SEE HIGHER GLEN ETIVE ON A MAP >

 

Fairy Pools

Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye  

Powerfully photogenic and situated on a lovely walking route, the Fairy Pools boast stunning waterfalls near the village of Carbost. There’s a Forestry Commission car park on a single-track road between Glenbrittle and Carbost, then a walk of 2.4km in total (if heading to the first waterfall and back). Be warned, though – it’s a very popular spot, so choose your timings carefully.  

SEE THE FAIRY POOLS ON A MAP >

 

Loch Ness

Drumnadrochit

There’s a lot more to Loch Ness than its legendary resident monster. Opposite the striking ruins of Urquhart Castle there’s a secluded, rocky area of shoreline that’s a great place for swimmers to access the water. But if you prefer busier swimming sessions, in August there’s an annual Monster Swim which you can join to raise funds for charity.

SEE DRUMNADROCHIT ON A MAP >

 

Be safe when swimming outdoors

Wild swimming in Scotland is popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s risk-free. Please, PLEASE consider the following advice before you embark on any activities:

  • Beware of the shock of cold water, which can be much more powerful than you might expect. It can numb your limbs, drain energy and even cause heart attacks. Adjust to the temperature in a safe area, with other people around.
  • Always check the water for depth and obstructions, to avoid serious injury – especially if jumping in from above.
  • Stay clean and avoid health hazards. Use plasters to cover cuts; don’t swim in stagnant lakes, urban rivers or canals; and give toxic blue-green algae a wide berth.
  • Be prepared: Do you know how you’ll get out? Do you have a plan for warming up afterwards?

 

Great-value travel to Scotland

Holidays don’t have to be expensive, especially if you want to make the most of Scotland’s natural landscapes instead of exploring cities. And careful choice of travel can help, too. On MegabusGold’s sleeper service you’ll find comfortable bunks, free wi-fi and a friendly, efficient team of staff.

Book your trip now >

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