Saltcoats Bathing Pond: Bid to restore lido catches 'snowflake' generation zeitgeist – Scotsman comment

A lido – an outdoor swimming pool close to the sea, a river or lake – was once a fairly common sight in Scotland.

The old Saltcoats Bathing Pond, which was originally built in the town's original salt pans, could be brought back into use (Picture: Three Towns Explored)
The old Saltcoats Bathing Pond, which was originally built in the town's original salt pans, could be brought back into use (Picture: Three Towns Explored)

But, somehow, we lost the habit. Swimming pools become mostly indoor affairs, with the beaches of sunnier climes apparently softening our resolve on returning to dip a toe in chilly Scottish waters.

However, times are changing once again and a new effort to restore Saltcoats Bathing Pond – once considered Scotland’s finest outdoor pool – feels very much in keeping with the new zeitgeist.

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Opened in 1933 on the site of the former salt pans, it could attract up to 2,000 people on a daily basis in its pomp, but closed in the 1980s when swimmers found they preferred newly opened heated baths nearby.

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Fast-forward to the present day and ‘wild swimming’ sounds new and exciting. It has definitely captured the imagination of many, even if some among the older generation may archly raise an eyebrow and note quietly that this is what they would have once simply called ‘swimming’.

But anything that helps people to take more exercise is surely to be welcomed. Given the state of Scotland’s health, many of us, if we are honest, will admit that we need it.

And there is a certain irony that among those leading the return to outdoor swimming are members of the so-called ‘snowflake’ generation, who are proving to be hardier than their reputation suggests. But then again, perhaps it’s just that they don’t feel the cold quite so much.

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