Taking the plunge: the joys of wild swimming in Britain

author photo
Joe Minihane

0. 5 of Britain's best remote wild swims

Inspired? From a dip high in the Lake District's northern fells to a soak in one of Wales' gorgeous lakes, here are five other British wild swims you should try:

1. John's Water, River Bure, Norfolk

West of the village of Aylsham in North Norfolk, this mill pond can be reached by car, or bike, but is never overrun with swimmers thanks to its rural location. A gently shelving bank slips into a wide pool, water rushing over a mill race to create the perfect spot for a languid summer dip.

2. Llyn Cwm Bychan, Wales

East of the central Welsh coast village of Llanbedr, down a long track which follows the crashing waters of Afon Artro, sits Llyn Cwm Bychan. Beneath the glowering Rhinogydd mountains, this vast lake is the ideal location for a long soak away from prying eyes.

3. Bowscale Tarn, Lake District

High in the Lake District's northern fells, Bowscale Tarn's deep waters can only be reached on a long hike. Those who make the effort are rewarded with the chance of a dip in one of England's purest bathing spots. The changing weather and 17m depth mean caution is advised whatever the time of year.

4. Dulsie Bridge, Scottish Highlands

The rapid, icy River Findhorn flows beneath this spectacular Victorian-era bridge, making for an exhilarating swim in this remote Scottish Highland location. Giant slabs of rock drop into pitch-black depths, with sandy downstream beaches making it easy to get in and out of the water.

5. Bryher, Isles of Scilly

At just half a mile wide and two and a half miles long, Bryher is a wild swimmer's paradise, its white sandy coves all easily swimmable in a day. Stinking Porth, in the west, is an Arcadian vision, its cool waters home to swaying kelp forests and starfish. It's unquestionably worth the two boat journeys from the Cornish mainland.

Image credits top to bottom (left-right): Elgol, Isle of Skye © Sara Winter/Shutterstock; Loch Saplin, Torrin, Isle of Skye © Helen Hotson/Shutterstock; tea after a swim © Youproduction/Shutterstock; Bure Valley, Norfolk © Richard Bowden/Shutterstock; River Bure, Norfolk © Chris Glasel/Shutterstock; Bowscale Tarn, Lake District © Duncan Andison/Shutterstock; Bryher, Isles of Scilly © Stephen Rees/Shutterstock

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