Great Britain is not especially known for its dramatic wilderness or quality outdoor swimming. Suggest an outdoor swim to your average Englishman and expect him to decline, imagining a dip in a dank local lido. While the quality of Britain’s lidos isn’t really much of a debate, the notion that the country doesn’t offer brilliant outdoor swimming spots isn’t so cut and dry – especially for the more adventurous among us.
Pembrokeshire’s Blue Lagoon is a deep pool created by the flooding of the old quarry by Abereiddi beach. Perfect for cliff diving and with cliff edges high enough to offer stunning coastal views, the Blue Lagoon is ideal for a sea-salted day spent testing your nerve for how high you like to dive. The Lagoon gets its name from its azure colour, owing to the high copper content of the water. Getting there is simple: Take a short hike up the coastal ridge from Porthgain past the ruined quarry buildings that serve as a striking but beautiful reminder that the quarry’s workers used to carve out a dangerous living from the area’s stone. Bring your binoculars with you; red-beaked choughs wheel overhead and if you’re lucky you might spot a porpoise just out to sea.
If Britain’s South-western coast doesn’t appeal, head North to Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. There you’ll find Lumb Falls. You’d be forgiven for associating the area with grazing sheep and country lanes, not with a roaring waterfall, sparkling waters and jutting moss covered ledges framed by hanging ferns and ivy. As if designed deliberately, Lumb Falls is perfect for diving. Many of the ledges are good for experienced and novice jumpers alike – high enough for a good thrill but not so high you’ll start feeling nervous. Like any diving pool, always make sure you check the water’s depth before taking the plunge: very hot summers can leave the pool a little shallower than usual.
Intrepid swimmers should head to the (relatively) remote wilds of the Isle of Skye and its Fairy Pools. The moniker does not describe it well – they are more akin to Iceland’s glacial fjords and volcanic stream estuaries than something from a children’s story. The vivid blue waters look as if they should be warm, but this is Scotland; they are anything but. The pools swimmers must be brave or a little foolish (both helps) when jumping in for the first time. The water has only three temperatures: Arctic, Baltic and Siberian. Shrug off the lung-contracting cold and you’ll be instantly rewarded with one of the most stunning wild swimming spots in the country. The two pools higher up the glen are the pick of the bunch: a waterfall flows into the first, separated from the second by a partially submerged arch, giving the first pool a choppy rapid current, and the second an almost bizarre serenity and crystal clear waters. Lift yourself up onto the rock buttress and dive in, swimming underneath the arch separating the two pools. This is wild swimming at its finest.
Our staple mid-length short will add a touch of style to a rugged day of wild swimming. Effortless and relaxed, the short comes in a classic gingham pattern of trademark rescue red or a more subtle navy.
Heading to one of the wild swimming destinations is an ideal chance to enter the OB5 photography competition. We’re celebrating our 5th anniversary by giving you the chance to win a £3000 to spend at Orlebar Brown, plus a trip for two to Thailand. Click the image above for more information on how to enter.
We’ve put together a Spotify playlist to accompany you on your journey into the wild waters. Hit the road with the likes of Alabama Shakes, Jack White, Alt-J and Crocodiles to get you ready for your outdoor expedition. We’ve also thrown in some perfect, chilled summer tunes for when the sun starts to go down.
UPS Standard (2-5 Business Days) $10.00
UPS Express (2-3 Business Days) $15.00
UPS Next Business Day $50.00
UPS Standard (2-5 Business Days) $17.00
UPS Standard (3-5 Business Days) $60.00
UPS Standard (4-5 Business Days) $90.00
UPS Standard (4-5 Business Days) $90.00
UPS Standard (3-5 Business Days) $100.00
UPS Standard (4-5 Business Days) $150.00
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