Taking the plunge: Wild swimming fills lockdown void

The hobby's increasing popularity comes as many people decide to holiday in Scotland this year.

Wild swimming is enjoying a surge in popularity across Scotland, with open-water enthusiasts taking to lochs, rivers and the sea during lockdown.

Scotland’s leading water safety body says it has seen an overall increase in water-based activities – from windsurfing to kayaking.

However, due to these activities becoming increasingly popular, authorities are pleading with new water go-ers to keep safe.

Among those taking up the hobby is Sarah Moore from Aberdeen, who started wild swimming as a way to fill the void of lockdown.

She said: “Everyone was out walking a lot at the start and I think when people kind of thought ‘actually, you can do things that are for free now’ you don’t need have an expensive gym membership or something.

“This (the beach and the sea) is all right on our doorstep. We’re so, so lucky here.”

The increasing popularity of wild swimming comes as many people choose to holiday in Scotland this year, swapping the Mediterranean for colder bodies of water.

With more people taking part, authorities are anxious to remind people of the dangers.

Norman Todd is a wild swimmer with more than 15 years’ experience. He’s encouraging others to make sure they take precautions.

He said: “Be aware of any currents, any tides. If you are going out with someone else and that person agrees that he’s going to stick with them, then they have to stick together and don’t swim off and leave the other person on their own as well.”

Michael Avril, chair of Water Safety Scotland said: “We love that our coastlines and waters are being used, but obviously we have our own concerns.

“That’s why we’re asking people to not take any unnecessary risks and enjoy their time at the beach or the coast safely.”

People can learn how to keep safe in and around Scotland’s waters here.