Top 5 wild swims in the UK

Britain has developed a new-found passion for wild swimming. Graihagh Jackson dips her toes into the watery world to discover the best of Britain's plunge pools

3 mins

1. Fairy Pools of Skye, Scotland

The spellbinding aqua-colours of the Fairy Pools makes you want to believe these waters are those of the Seychelles, but at 6°C they are far from it. An incredible underwater archway and tumbling waterfalls make this an unusual spot for wild swimming. 

Although chilly, the water is so crystal-clear you can see piles of pebbles neatly stacked on the river bed.

2. Blackmoss Pot, Cumbria

With water reaching 'bath time temperatures' during summer months, this unusually warm site hosts natural jacuzzi and a 20m channel sheltered by rock walls. If you've got the nerve, there's also a 2m jump.

Moss-covered, ashen rocks surround this Cumbrian swimming spot and baby brown trout roam at deeper depths. If you're feeling bold, and with nothing around for miles, this plunge might be best enjoyed sans swimsuit.

3. The Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy

This wild swim is all about what lies beneath the surface. The abandoned and since flooded slate quarry is reached via a cliff-top pathway past ruined buildings and crumbling cottages.

The site not only has a range of jumps – up to 20ft in height – but also some unusual underwater scenery and geological features, which are often hidden by the rippled surface reflections.

4. Pennard Castle, The Gower

No list of top wild swims would be complete without a location on a white sandy beach with a castle ruin in the background. The mouth of this river is unmanned; the estuary winds freely through rich sand-laden mud to the sea, where you can bob up and down to the ebb and flow of the ocean.

5. Coed-y-Rhaiadr, Wales

Welsh for 'waterfall woods', this Brecon Beacons hideaway is full of caves, wooden gorges, and swallow holes guarded by overhanging trees and songbirds. It's the perfect combination of walking and isolated wild swimming and promises not to get your toes too sludgy.

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