5 Fabulous Locations for Wild Swimming near Glencoe

Our favourite open-water swimming locations near Woodlands Glencoe

A guide to wild swimming near Glencoe

Over the past couple of years, we’ve noticed that oodles of our guests have been channelling their inner mermaids/men and embracing the somewhat chilly open waters in and around Glencoe.  Once you get over the thought of the cold, it actually becomes quite simple to see why open-water swimming in the Highland wilderness has become so popular.

Not only does wild swimming in these parts offer enthusiasts the chance to immerse themselves in the raw beauty of the Highland lochs, rivers and seas, there’s also a combination of factors that outdoor swimmers rave about!  The connection with nature, the physical and mental health benefits, the sense of adventure, the community and camaraderie swimming outdoors fosters, as well as its role in promoting environmental awareness.

Please do remember that outdoor swimming is a risky (and cold!) business so take time to research your chosen swimming spots when considering a swim. The Outdoor Swimming Society is a really great resource for tips and tricks to swim safely outdoors.

Katie’s wild swimming adventures

As more and more folk embrace this invigorating pastime, we thought we’d send our very own Katie Sharp out to literally test the water and share her thoughts on some of her favourite open water swimming spots in the area.  Katie is a very experienced open-water swimmer in the area and you can follow her adventures over on her Instagram page. 

So here goes, all five of the open-water swimming spots listed below have various things in common.  They’re located a short drive from RiverBed Luxury Wee Lodges and SeaBed Luxury Lookouts at Woodlands Glencoe, the water is crystal-clear, the views are incredible and they all boast convenient parking and access points.

Loch Leven

Five minutes from Woodlands, Loch Leven is perfect for those wanting a quick dip at the entrance of Glencoe.  You can enter the loch at the bay in front of the Isles of Glencoe Hotel, which offers a good amount of shelter from most wind directions. Here you can do a little backstroke and gaze directly up at the Pap of Glencoe.

Loch Linnhe

Woodlands Glencoe is situated directly on the banks of the tidal sea loch, Loch Linnhe, so a perfect option if you fancy a cooling dip before diving back into the bubbling hot depths of your private hot tub! Further along the loch towards Fort William, you can enter the loch at a little beach where you can swim whilst looking up at the UK’s highest mountain, mighty Ben Nevis.

Cuil Bay is another favourite spot and the best place to swim whilst watching the sun set.

A lady goes wild swimming in the River Coe.
wild swimming near glencoe woodlands

Loch & River Etive

Half an hour’s drive from Woodlands you’ll find yourself whizzing along the Skyfall road in Glen Etive.  If you’re after a full-scale wilderness swimming experience, this is it!  Despite the road being fairly busy with folk trying to recreate the famous James Bond scene, the glen feels delightfully isolated where an open-water swimmer is truly spoilt for choice.  Not only is the river peppered with deep and delightful pools, there’s a stunningly beautiful loch at the end of the road, where you’ll also find a carpark.

Camusdarach Beach

If you prefer the salty stuff rather than a fresh water dip, there are several fabulous beaches within a short drive from Woodlands Glencoe.  Our absolute favourite is Camusdarach Beach over in Arisaig.  This beach was the setting for the 1983 movie Local Hero, and although this beach is wonderful, there are in fact eight of the most bone-white and beautiful beaches in Scotland in a row and all offer perfect open-water swimming opportunities.  Pick your spot and dive in!  

Loch Morar

Just a ten-minute drive from Camusdarach Beach you can wash off that salty water in the dark depths of the UK’s deepest body of water, Loch Morar.  If you drive up along the lane that edges the loch, you will see several little beaches which make for great entry points.

A lady enjoys a swim in the river in Glencoe.
A lady comes up for air after a river swim in the River Etive.
A lady leaves the loch after a sunset swim in Loch Linnhe.

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