Wild swimming in Scotland and the Scottish Highlands has taken off tremendously in the last couple of years. A wild swim provides outdoor lovers with a refreshing boost, often likened to that of hiking and other uplifting wilderness activities.
Scotland is home to some of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches and water spots in the world. A quick dip can help you to hit reset and forget the babble of a busy mind. Removing some of the more documented Scotland wild swimming spots, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite wild swimming locations on the West coast.
River Oude, Oban
Clean and lively, the waters here make for a refreshing river swim. As with any wild river swimming, we advise you to take extra caution, especially as there are hidden rocks in some of the shallow parts here.
Falls of Falloch, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Despite this part of the Trossachs being quite crowded on warmer summer days, these exciting falls make for reliable wild swim location, due to the natural pool they form before heading downstream. The more adventurous swimmers amongst us will enjoy the naturally carved platforms from which they can dive into the basin below.
A popular picnic spot, you can take a short walk to the smaller pools downstream to escape the larger crowds.
Gulf of Corryvreckan
Not for the faint-hearted, The Gulf of Corryvreckan (featured in Robson Green’s “wild Swimming” programme) is transformed into a whirlpool during tides. Confirmed to be the 3rd largest whirlpool in the world, the swim across its waters is safe during slack water, when the whirlpool is dormant.
Loch Melfort Hotel is delighted to have teamed up with swimming experience experts SwimTrek, giving you the opportunity to take part in this iconic open water swim under full supervision (subject to availability). Thrill seekers – this is something you DEFINITELY don’t want to miss!
Port Bàn, Argyll
This secret little slice of Scotland comes with panoramic views across the sea to Islay and Jura. The unspoiled coastline allows for a peaceful paddle in the water and (if you’re really lucky) you might spot wild dolphins making an appearance.
Calgary Bay, Mull
We couldn’t create a list of West coast swim spots without including some of our favourite island locations. Calgary Bay, on the North-West corner of Mull, is a dream of turquoise shallow waters and dazzling white-shell sands. It’s horse-shoe shape provides an element of shelter, making it an easier spot for less confident swimmers. The bay is perfect for a quick dip, though you’ll find the committed heading out in a wet-suit for a longer plunge.
Carry Farm, Argyll
The bay at Carry Farm is ideally placed for a swim, as you don’t need to stray too far from the road to get to the beach. Don’t be put off by the pebbly shoreline, the waters remain shallow and (as you wade further out) become sandy and easy to navigate.
The Witch’s Cauldron, Clunes
If the name alone doesn’t intrigue you, then nothing will! This magnificent swim spot is made up of a series of three falls and pools. One of the main selling points to the location is how close you can get to the base of the larger falls from the main pool. Confident swimmers will find the current at the bottom of the falls quite strong, but still relatively easy to navigate.
Ostel Bay, Argyll
Another of Argyll’s hidden gems, Ostel Bay is an alluring crescent-shaped beach with views across the Isle of Arran. With shallow waters for a relatively large stretch, it’s a nice spot to take children for their first wild swim experience.
It’s worth noting that the beach here is a good 15-minute adventure from the road, and in colder seasons the last part of the walk before the bay can get a little boggy.
Easdale Quarry, Easdale
Once the center of the Scottish slate industry, the little island of Easdale and its slate quarry now provide wild swimmers with an intriguing splash spot filled with Mediterranean sea water. The turquoise L-shaped pool makes for a sheltered swim, and the quarry is deep enough for daredevils to make an adrenaline-filled leap from the cliffs above.
Getting to Easdale is relatively easy, with visitors gaining access to the island by a short ferry ride from Ellenabeich.
Note: Easdale is a car-free island.
Loch Melfort Hotel Beach, Argyll
What could be better than waking up on the West coast of Scotland, heading down for a full Scottish breakfast, and then taking an easy 5-minute stroll down to the secluded beach of our hotel for a quick dip? Our perfect little pebbly beach is a soothing spot to walk/swim off that extra sausage, offering uninterrupted views across to the isles of the Inner Hebrides. The beach also welcomes those simply stopping by for a quick lunch/coffee/visit.
Tips for your first wild swim:
Whilst wild swimming can be invigorating and inspiring, it’s important that first-timers ensure they remain safe. We ask you to make sure to bear the following safety points in mind:
- Don’t swim alone! Be sure to let someone know where (and when) you’re going.
- Research the location. Ensure you are visiting a safe swim spot by asking questions and speaking to people in the area. Make sure you understand where the access points to the water are, and how to get out. You should also be aware of how deep the water can be at its deepest point and assess whether this is comfortable for you.
- Consider the temperature. If you’re not used to swimming in cold water for a length of time, you may want to invest in a wet-suit, or put a time limit on your swim. New swimmers should build on their tolerance for cold water over gradual, individual swims.
- Search for like-minded groups. Did you know there are TONS of wild swim groups across Scotland? Many regularly post meet-up times for organised groups swims across social media channels, so invest some time in a little Googling if you don’t have a swim buddy.
- Watch the weather forecast. The safety of swim locations can vary with the weather, as can your ability to navigate waters during windy or unreliable times.
Combine your wild swim with an overnight getaway!
Make the most of your wild swim adventure with our Scottish Wild Swimming package. Guests wake up to a full cooked breakfast, before heading to some of Scotland’s finest beaches for a short dip or two. After a day of swimming and exploring, return to our hotel for a full-bodied, warming single malt from one of the local distilleries, alongside dinner in our restaurant.