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Lakes for swimming

Lakes for swimming

There’s something quite glorious about wild swimming. Be it a simple splash-about in a trickling stream or wading into seaside waters, it feels carefree and a little bit brave. When you see abandoned shoes and rolled up socks on grassy banks, when you hear whoops of laughter and delighted squeals, and when you spy a four-legged friend shaking himself dry, it’s a tell-tale sign of a summer’s day. So this summer, why not plan an adventure that involves a drive-out to nearby(ish) cool waters? And as soon as the sun shines, grab your things, get up, go, and don’t forget the towels…

A word or two on safety

Open water swimming should always be approached safety-first. Be sure to research your chosen spot first for water quality and to find out if it’s suitable for your level of experience, and familiarise yourself with the safety advice. And don’t swim alone if you’re inexperienced with wild and cold water swimming. Wildswimming.co.uk is good resource.

Kailpot Crag, Lake District

This very specific spot on Ullswater Lake is tucked away from the crowds. It’s surrounded by twisted oaks and rowan trees with deep, clear water to splash in. Try heading there at sunset to make the most of its west-facing aspect. While you’re in The Lakes, you could also try Crummock Water in Buttermere.

Goldiggins Quarry, Cornwall

Spring-fed and set within a grassy amphitheatre, this quarry lake has glistening jade-coloured water and is a bit of a suntrap too. To reach Goldiggins, there’s a beautiful moor-side path past the Hurlers – one of the most complete stone circle remains in the whole of the south-west.

Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia

Llyns are essentially another word for tarns – high lakes that appear as if from nowhere during mountain hikes. Snowdonia has some of the very best, where you can swim completely immersed in the landscape. This glacial lake is a popular stop for the brave. Prepare to shiver…

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

Another for those who can stand the cold. The Fairy Pools are a thing of true beauty in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. Expect to see a succession of small pools and waterfalls. You might want to take a wetsuit.

Claverton Weir, Bath

Described as a ‘meandering cascade that forms a lagoon across the River Avon’. There’s a shallow beach section beneath the falls for children and if you follow it upriver, you can enjoy a leisurely swim trail that’s dappled with balsam and willows. Kingfishers are often spotted here so you can turn it into a mini water safari.