Wild Swimming has really taken off in recent years, and it is great to see so many people sharing the joy experienced whilst taking the plunge outdoors. Here in Moray we are spoilt with locations to swim, and I have become hooked on the thrill of the swim since my first dip in February 2020. My favourite place to swim is with my pod, on West Beach in Hopeman. It is a gorgeous sandy beach, with handy rocks to leave your gear whilst you swim. My coldest swim has to be at Dulcie Bridge, where I had to break the ice to enter the waters of the River Findhorn, even after a year of wild swimming, this was a quick dip!
In November 2020 I planned a visit to Linn Falls, near Aberlour with some of my swim buddies. The Falls are very picturesque, with a meander through the native woods to a series of waterfalls and pools fed by the Aberlour Burn. It was a mini adventure early one morning for my first waterfall swim. Used to swimming in the clear waters of the Moray Firth, it was a bit daunting to launch myself into the peaty water and yes, it was absolutely freezing. Twice I tried to swim under the waterfall, but the flow of the burn was too strong to get there. It was very chilly once we were out too, although we warmed up quickly with the tasty pastries and cake we had brought along to share. Absolutely worth the early alarm!
The kids were given snorkel masks this year, so whilst they were in their wetsuits, I bravely went in to give it a whirl in my swimsuit at Hopeman East Beach, near the Daisy Rock at the east end of the bay. Thankfully, with all the gorgeous sunshine we have had this summer the temperature was fine and swimming with the snorkel was fun. We were lucky enough to see comb jellyfish, baby squid, crabs and lots of little fish swimming through the kelp below us. It did give me a thought that we regularly swim in this environment without really being aware of how much is below the waves.
- Lossiemouth West Beach is a popular spot to swim, with a bay surrounded by a reef making the water calm and no currents!
- Cove – Cove Bay, just below the Clashach Quarry, is the most idyllic spot. If the sun is shining you might think you’ve landed on a Greek Island. The sandy bay here is surrounded by a rocky shore on either side, and has a gentle shelf when the tide is out
- Hopeman West Beach – a gorgeous bay often with gentle rolling waves to bob along with, or and enough of a span to swim lengths
- Hopeman Harbour – a great place to swim when the tide is in, and if you are feeling brave you too can try leaping from the steppies! There is very little in the way of seaweed in the outer basin and lots of clear blue water.
- Hopeman East Beach – walk along the front of the hutties and you will see a delightfully sandy beach. Any spot here is good for swimming, there are submerged rocks nearer the Daisy Rock (to the East), and a small tidal island (The Scailies) which is surrounded by kelp in the centre. There are lots of handy rocks for your gear, and picnic benches along the front for coffee afterwards!
- NB Findlay’s Bay, immediately to the east of Hopeman Harbour is not suitable for swimming due to strong currents