Hell's Lum at Pennan, Aberdeenshire, offers swimmers a dramatic network of caves, pools and beaches.

10 of the best places for wild swimming in Scotland

Wild swimming is enjoying a surge in popularity in Scotland as people seek out new experiences and the basic, invigorating joy of nature during these strange times.

Dipping yourself in freezing water, often in the early light of day, might sound at odds with the notion of enjoyment but the thrills of wild swimming are being widely told as people seek out secluded beaches, peaceful coves and still lochs and rivers in which to immerse themselves during lockdown.

Boosted circulation, improved immunity and weight loss are touted as physical benefits as the body works hard to deal with the cold. The emotional release and the rush of endorphins that follow offer a therapeutic experience for many – as does that raw connection with the great outdoors.

Of course it is a case of safety first. Wild swimmers are urged not to venture out alone and to know their limits. Stay close to the shore where possible, enter gently and wear footwear and a brightly coloured swimmig cap. Look at open swimming.org for a full list of tips for keeping safe in the wild. A pile of warm clothes and a flask to hug after getting back on dry land are a must. You might even consider at wetsuit, or at least some neoprene gloves.

Author Daniel Start has toured the country seeking out the best watery spots for his books Wild Swimming, Wild Beaches and Wild Scotland.

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