The concept of open-water, or wild swimming, is nothing new – we’ve been doing it for centuries. But as we ease out of the Covid pandemic, the idea of splashing around in the cold, life-affirming waters of Scotland seems to have increased its appeal.
With the recent obsession with swimming outdoors, and nostalgia for a time when summers were spent enjoying the Scottish coastline, there’s been a huge resurgence of interest; folk are keen to see their once-loved tidal pools being revived.
Already, in the East Neuk of Fife, a few have been brought back from the dead and are up and running thanks to the efforts of passionate and dedicated community members. Each pool has their own facebook page and a group of local people who regularly use each pool, welcoming visitors to join them. Its worth dropping a post on the facebook pages asking times of organised swims. It is recommended you wear neoprene gloves and boots as it can be quite rocky underfoot, and do not go alone. Your host can offer you more information should you wish to join the swimmers on your break in the area.
This jewel of the Fife Coastal Path has sadly fallen into disrepair since its 1930s heyday. However, a diverse range of swimmers of all ages and backgrounds continues to swim here every day.
A committed band of locals has therefore formed a not-for-profit initiative to widen the access to the Cellardyke Tidal Pool (known as “The Bathie” or “The Cardinal Steps Bathing Pool”) by making it safe and accessible.Inspired by the success of neighbouring sister pool, the West Braes Project in Pittenweem, their mission is to bring Cellardyke’s neglected and beloved beauty spot back to life, to attract a wider audience to the magnificent tidal pool and into our vibrant rural community.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/424095339179025
Pittenweem Tidal Swimming Pool can be found just around the headland from the village of Pittenweem. The whole West Braes area has undergone a renewal project that includes the tidal pool, for more information and to support them visit West Braes Project.
Small car park with toilet block on the cliff and you have steps leading down from the cliffs to the seawater swimming pool. You also have a crazy golf area run by volunteers on the clifftop.
The best time to visit is 2 hours after high tide and up until 2 hours before high tide where you will also have a small area of sandy beach. At high tide, you can still swim but the sea will cover the walls and you may get some waves.Pittenweem Tidal Swimming Pool, West Braes, Pitten' weem, Fife KY10 2PT, United Kingdom
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/338945980974349
The pool is in an idyllic location; the windmill which once pumped sea water into the long-abandoned salt pans standing proud on the raised beach above. Hewn out of the rocky coast, the pool is ringed by man-made walls and access points which naturally replenish with a fresh cascade of seawater.
Those daunted by the prospect of swimming in the open sea, with its associated hazards (undercurrents, rip tides and so on), would do well to come here. It’s a haven for “safe” outdoor swimming, with little chance of being swept out to sea.
It’s thanks to a huge community clear-up that the pool is once again thriving.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/St-Monans-Pool-100815638785448