The mental and physical benefits of wild swimming – and where to do it in the UK
By Ella Walker . Published 2021-02-02BOLD-Fitness
Now’s the time to give wild swimming a go, even in the winter
1. Hampstead Heath Ponds, LondonLeap into Hampstead Ponds and it’s hard not to feel as though you’ve dived straight into a Richard Curtis movie – or the Eighties. Open year-round (visit cityoflondon.gov.uk and search ‘bathing ponds’ for times and info), there’s mixed, men’s and ladies’ pools to pick from (and ladies, you get hot showers).
2. River Dart, Staverton, DevonIf distance swimming is your thing, this long stretch of water is a great place to practise your breaststroke while floating past weeping willows and the old steam train, which runs adjacent to the river. According to locals, the best entry point is down the footpath between the railway station and old mill.
3. Kailpot Crag, Ullswater, Lake DistrictThis enormous lake is the perfect spot for blowing off the cobwebs during a long hike. Rugged Kailpot Crag is a particularly picturesque place to dip your toe in – a daredevil jumping spot surrounded by deep, crystal-clear waters.
4. Fairy Pools, SkyeSwim spots don’t get more photogenic than Scotland’s aptly titled Fairy Pools, which funnel the freshest water from the foot of the Cuillin mountains into waterfalls that tumble into turquoise lagoons. Be warned – the waters are icy cold.
5. Howth, County DublinAlong the coastal path from this Irish fishing port is a popular spot for teens who want to launch themselves off the gnarly islet during the summer, but it presents a year-round opportunity to make a splash for confident open-water swimmers. Wetsuits are advised in the winter.
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