9 Breath-Taking Wild Swimming Spots to Try in Scotland

There’s a new trend working its way through Scotland and the UK and it involves dipping into cold water in the early or late hours of the day.  From secluded beaches to peaceful rivers and lochs, wild swimming is something you have to try in 2021.

Along with the thrill of swimming in a beautiful location, it’s said to also boast a number of emotional and physical benefits, including improved circulation and a release of positive endorphins.

Before you venture out though, keep in mind that it’s best not to engage in wild swimming alone and to stay as close to shore as possible.  As an extra safety measure, you may also want to wear something bright.  Don’t forget to have something warm waiting for you once you get back to shore – it’s going to be chilly.

So, where should you give wild swimming a try?  Here are our top recommendations.

9 Places to Try Wild Swimming in Scotland

1. Allt Daraich, Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye is a popular tourist destination but once you move away from the road at Sligachan, you will find beautiful green and blue pools that are perfect for swimming.  There are also rocks and waterfalls to add to the fun and the Cuillin mountain range just adds to the overall beauty.

Allt Daraich, Isle of Skye_Geograph
Source: Geograph

2. Inversnaid, Loch Lomond

This is one of Scotland’s most famous bodies of water and the sandy beaches are the ideal place to leave your belongings as you dive into the cool waters.  There is also Milarrochy Bay towards the east that’s popular among wild swimmers if you have some extra time.

Inversnaid, Loch Lomond_Loch Lomond
Source: Loch Lomond

3. Glencoe Lochan, Highlands

Glencoe Lochan is another exceptional place to try wild swimming.  Along with it being home to some of Scotland’s most beautiful glens, you can also enjoy small waterfalls at Glen Etive and take advantage of the river’s deep plunge pools.

9 Breath-Taking Wild Swimming Spots to Try in Scotland
Source: Wikipedia

4. Plodda Falls, Glen Affric, Highland

While you will need to navigate a gorge, the swim is well worth it, especially since not many people venture here.  Once you reach the deep still pool at the bottom of Plodda Falls, you can take in the peaceful surroundings and plant life.

Plodda Falls, Glen Affric, Highland_Twitter
Source: Twitter

5. Sandwood Bay, Sutherland

You may want to wait until you’re a bit more experienced with wild swimming before you head to Sandwood Bay in Sutherland.  The surf and riptides can be a bit wild at certain times of the year, so be cautious and don’t swim alone.  The landscape alone is breath-taking if you decide not to venture into the water though.

Sandwood Bay, Sutherland_CainGram
Source: CainGram

6. Glen Etive, Highland

If you decide to head to Glen Etive, you can expect to be surrounded by high cliffs as you enter the deep water.  There are several river pools you can choose to swim in – each one more memorable than the next.

Glen Etive, Highland_Wild Swimming
Source: Wild Swimming

7. River Douchary, Highlands

If you’re up for a long walk or cycle, you can head to River Douchary, which is around 8 miles inland from Ullapool.  Along with swimming in the clear waters of the natural canals, there is also a series of stunning waterfalls to enjoy along the way.

River Douchary_BBC
Source: BBC

8. Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

If you like the idea of an epic backdrop and more privacy, this might be the best wild swimming spot for you.  To get here, you need to make your way through a few fields located between Drumnadrochit and the car park of the castle.

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness_Virgin Atlantic
Source: Virgin Atlantic

9. Tràigh Mhòr, Tolsta, Isle of Lewis

During the summer months, this is one of the best places to swim and the trip to the Hebrides is wonderful all on its own.  If you would prefer a long swim in clear water while the sun shines down on you, this is the swimming spot for you.

Tràigh Mhòr, Tolsta, Isle of Lewis_Outer Hebrides
Source: Outer Hebrides

Check out wild swimming spots in Dumfries and Galloway.

There are so many ways to enjoy the natural beauty of Scotland but wild swimming has fast become one of the most recommended ways to do it.  Which spot will you try first?

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