7 of the Best Scottish Lochs for Wild Swimming

Have a go at wild swimming with our roundup of the best lochs to jump into this summer

Best Scottish Lochs for Swimming

Loch Ard plays host to a swimming festival in September

Wild swimming has made a bit of a comeback in Scotland in recent years, so now that the summer heatwave has arrived and the water temperatures might just go from absolutely freezing to plain old freezing, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of those natural swimming pools. So we’ve compiled a list of the best lochs to dive into now summer is in full swing.

Loch Lomond
Home of the Great Scottish Swim, the largest expanse of freshwater Great Britain has to offer was always going to make the grade. Surrounded by beautiful shores and guarded by the striking Ben Lomond, this is an ideal swim for those who want to experience some magnificent Scottish scenery at the same time.

Loch an Eileen
This quiet, romantic spot at the foot of the Cairngorms, with a ruined castle sitting on an island 100m offshore, is popular with wild swimmers. It’s also great for walking and biking.

Loch Coruisk
Only accessible by boat, or a 7-mile walk for those feeling energetic, this freshwater Loch lies at the bottom of the Black Cuillin in Skye. This is the option for those who prefer remoteness to the busier shores of other lochs.

Loch Morlich
Popular with kayakers and windsurfers, this water sports hub also makes a handy swimming spot, with wetsuits available for hire on the beach at reasonable prices. There’s also the charming Boathouse Cafe, for when the water really does get too cold.

Loch Ness
Famous for the scaly green monster lurking beneath its depths, Loch Ness has also become an iconic outdoor swimming location. The Monster Swim race is held here in August, attracting many to dive into its peaty waters. We do recommend, however, that if you catch a glimpse of Nessie or any other sea monster, you swim in the other direction … fast.

Loch Beinn a Mheadhoin
Lying next to Loch Affric, this peaceful stretch of water is surrounded by original Caledonian Pine. The forestry car park halfway up the Loch is near easy access points to the water.

Loch Ard
Situated in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Ard is one of the smallest lochs in Scotland. It hosts a swim festival in September, with its sheltered location making it ideal for open water swimming.

So now you have no excuse – grab your goggles, and try swimming on the wilder side of life.

Open water swimming can be dangerous, so please take proper precautions when attempting an open water swim. You should:
● Wear a lifejacket if you are an unsure swimmer
● Wear a wetsuit if you are not used to swimming in cold water
● Wear a bright swimming cap to make you more visible
● Be aware of any potentially dangerous wildlife that could harm you
● Ensure the water is clean and safe to swim in.

For more information on swimming safely in open water, head to the NHS website or the Wild Swimming website.

Great Scottish Swim

Thousands of people take to the water and swim in Loch Lomond, raising money for charities in the process. The event aims to make swimming races in open water as accessible and popular as charity runs and marathons have become in recent years, with a choice of half a mile, one mile or two. Wetsuits only. This year's…

Swim Loch Ard

Swim across one of the smallest fresh water lochs in Scotland, Loch Ard. The event includes a 1km, 2km, 3km, 5km, 10km and 12.5km swim with a 1km and a 2.5km loop set up on the day of the swim.


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