Some holiday houses come with their own private pool, fantastic yes but surely no comparison to being able to slip out your front door and go for a wild swim. Here are a few of our top spots and how to get there.
Shore House as you may guess from the name sits right on the edge of the water, at high tide the garden is actually the Atlantic Ocean. It is rocky so care is needed but the location couldn’t be better. The really adventurous could carry on towards the once inhabited island of Longa which looks invitingly close. Once you are all done it’s a mere couple of steps from sea to hot shower, dram and log fire.
Gullane has some of the finest beaches in East Lothian and they can often be completely empty, somewhat surprising given the proximity to Edinburgh. It’s just a two minute walk from the golden sands over the dunes to get to the comfort of St Peter’s House. In addition to swimming this is a top location for kite surfing and you can even cycle for miles up the coast on the sand and the newly opened John Muir Way.
Lewis has a huge selection of stunning beaches but very few are as easily accessible as the one just below Riof Ocean Cottage. Situated on the shore of Loch Roag this luxurious 4 star cottage is right on the loch shore. You can spot otters from the decking outside or launch your own boat or kayak. The famous white sands of Riof beach are just five minutes away.
What’s the most impressive thing you have ever spotted while out swimming? Not many people can boast of sharing the sea with dolphins but they are regular visitors to the shoreline around Rosemarkie and Fortrose. Chanonry Point is one of the best spots in the country for watching dolphins and although it is frowned upon to attempt to get in the water with them swimmers at the nearby Rosemarkie beach can often see them popping out of the sea not far away. The appropriately named Dolphin House is just a two minute walk away from the beach and is close to all the facilities in the town so you can recharge after your exertions.
If you really want to play a game of one upmanship then there is really only one way to top swimming with dolphins, so how about swimming with a mermaid? The Old Salmon Bothy in Portmahomack is right on the seafront, just a few steps from the water but travel down the coast a few miles and you will come to Balintore. As part of the Seaboard Sculpture Trail a life sized statue of a mermaid has been sited on a rock just below the tide line. At low tide you can walk right out to it but when the tide comes in you have to swim.
So you have been swimming with dolphins and mermaids, what could top that? Nessie of course. Point Clair House sits on the banks of Loch Ness where a number of paths from the garden lead to a beach, a natural harbour and the location of the well documented 1973 sighting. This a gem of a location with amazing views towards the inviting waters up and down the loch. In winter you can easily launch a kayak or dingy from the beach to conduct your monster search if the waters look a bit too cold.
Photo: Loch Achilty by Steven Brown