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Wild Swimming In The Lake District

The best places to swim in the Lakes and tips for wild swimming

· Nature,Outdoors,Hiking,Family

Have you ever been wild swimming in the Lake District? It’s certainly something that should be on everyone’s bucket-list, as one of the most tranquil, refreshing and wholesome (also one of the coldest) things to experience in the great British outdoors.

If you’re heading on a wild adventure in the Lake District this Summer, then check out some of our top tips for outdoor swimming in the Lake District:

Where not to swim in the Lake District:

Let’s start with the do-nots. There are several places in the Lake District where you can’t swim because of dangerous currents (for reals! People have died), these are: Ennerdale Water; Haweswater Reservoir, and Thirlmere reservoir. This handy guide from ‘Swim The Lakes’ shows you exactly where you can swim and boat safely in the Lake District.

Another reason to avoid swimming in certain bodies of water would be if you spot Blue Green Algae or pollution in the water. Blue Green Algae is luckily easy to spot, as it can cause sickness in humans and death to dogs. For more information on Blue Green Algae visit the Lake District National Park website

Where to wild swim in the Lake District:

Now that we’ve got the fun stuff out of the way, get out there and enjoy some of these top swimming spots in the Lakes!

  • Coniston Water

The edges of Coniston Water are teaming with swimmers on a hot Summer day, so you’ll not be lost on where the best places are. As well as plenty of swimmers, there are lots of boats too, so stick to the edges to avoid the occasional cruiser. Luckily, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Swimming in Coniston Water, Lake District
  • Black Moss Pot, Langstrath Beck

Another favourited Summer swimming spot, Black Moss Pot in the Langstrath Beck is a deep plunge pool, sided by rocky outcrops- perfect for a picnic with adventurous kids, as they can jump in and out to their heart’s content, while you chill out with the odd sheep for company, on the bank. It’s a good hike down the Langstrath valley to get to Black Moss Pot, so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery en-route, and maybe stop somewhere quieter for a swim, if you’re not into sharing your swimming spot.

  • Rydal Water

One of the smaller Lake District lakes, Rydal Water is the perfect quiet Summer swim. Less than a mile from the parking at White Moss carpark, this tranquil, otter-filled paradise is one of our personal favourites!

  • Styhead Tarn, near Seathwaite

Another great swimming spot; this one is perfect for wild-camping too, if you’re feeling adventurous. Styhead tarn is surrounded by rocky outcrops, beautiful views, and is clear and deep. Nothing beats a good Summer hike- unless it’s a Summer hike finished off with a tarn-swim!

Tips for wild swimming:

There are a few good things to remember when wild swimming in the Lake District- wherever you choose to lay your swimming-cap.

  • Stay visible: make sure you wear something bright, like a colourful swimming cap. This is especially important when swimming on the bigger Lakes, near boats.
  • Don’t go too far: Swim near to the edges and don’t venture too far out. This is especially important in cold water, where cramp could set in very quickly.
  • Know your limits: If the water is cold, don’t stay in for longer than is comfortable, and remember that it’s important to get out and warm up- you can’t spend as much time in there as you would in a pool.
  • Warm up slowly: If the water is particularly cold, don’t jump in a hot shower straight away (as tempting as it is!), Instead, use clothing and towels to warm yourself up first, so as not to shock your system.
Woman wIld swimming in cold water in the Lake District

For more beginners tips on open-water swimming, and wetsuit hire in the Lake District, see the ‘Swim The Lakes’ site.