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Take the plunge – wild swimming is all the rage

Swimming in a pool is for wimps… whatever the weather, there’s no beating a dip in the great outdoors. As wild swimming becomes ever-more popular, here are our top five spots in the UK for a natural plunge.

Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove,

Where: Dorset, England

Description: Durdle Door is one of England’s natural wonders and swimming through the arch out into wide open sea should help to explain what all the wild-swimming fuss is about. The only downside is its sheer popularity, drawing 200,000 visitors a year.

Wildness rating: 3/10


The Fairy Pools

Where: Glen Brittle, Skye, Scotland

Description: The name sums up the magical nature of this series of pools. They look as though they should be warm, given their aqua blue colour, but don’t be fooled. However, the water is so clear here that you can admire every pebble and rock contour.

Wildness rating: 1/10


Blue lagoon, Abereiddy

Where: Pembrokeshire, Wales

Description: What attracts most people to the lagoon is the chance to leap off the blackened quarry walls into the deep blue water, coloured by the slate beneath. The walls are 20-45ft above the pool, so you need a head for heights. Even when the sea is full of white-tipped waves, the water in the lagoon stays flat and calm. But if it’s too rough, you can pop through the narrow channel that connects you to the sea and swim around to Abereiddy Beach for a nice cup of tea.

Wildness rating: 4/10


Lundy to Woolacombe

Where: North Devon Coast, England

Description: To date, only a few have accomplished this mammoth swim, with Woolacombe local Nick Thorn covering the 20-mile distance solo in an astonishing six and a half hours in September 2010. The currents and swells and changing weather make this even trickier than swimming the Channel. Experts only.

Wildness rating: 10/10


Loughrigg Tarn

Where: Ambleside, Lake District, UK

Description: When no less a Lake District authority than William Wordsworth describes a tarn as one of the region’s ‘most beautiful examples,’ you know you’re in for one hell of a picturesque dip. The bank is almost circular with striking views.

Wildness rating: 3/10

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