With freshwater lochs, river pools and sea lochs on your doorstep – outdoor swimming on Mull opens up an entirely new experience of the island from the water.

Wild swimming is essentially swimming outdoors in natural spaces, such as rivers, lakes or the sea. It has seen a surge in popularity in recent years – and for good reason! Practised with care, taking a dip in the (sometimes bracing) waters around the island can be extremely rewarding with potential mental and physical health benefits.

Loch Na Keal

A few paces down the track from your pod you’ll find Loch na Keal, with unforgettable views of an island studded sea. This is the dramatic coastline where ancient lava flows, creating basalt terraces and distinctive sea cliffs. Loch Na Keal is a sea loch stretching into the centre of Mull for almost 14 miles – it can be as calm as a mirror (or as rough as the North Atlantic). 

Loch Ba

Nestled in the hills, Loch Ba is an inland, freshwater loch, about 5 km long. It is drained by the River Ba, flowing into Loch Na Keal. Access on foot following a signposted, gravel track. The loch is used primarily for sport fishing – discover more via Hooked on Mull.

Calgary Bay

Where white sand beaches meet clear blue seas. Bordered by rolling hills, sea cliffs and wind-battered trees. Although this sheltered bay feels wild and remote, it is easily accessible – with a car park and public toilets. You can even enjoy a coffee or ice cream crafted by locals in the boat-converted ice cream hut.

What do I need to go wild swimming?

  • Swimsuit or wetsuit (depending on the season)
  • Tow Float (dry bag, additional visibility and buoyancy)
  • Aqua shoes (thick grippy soles stop your feet from slipping or getting cut on sharp rocks)
  • Swim cap (not essential but makes you much easier to spot)
  • Goggles (if you want to explore the underwater world)
  • Changing robe/large towel (you’ll want lots of space to get changed discreetly)
  • Sun cream (again, weather dependant!)
  • Water bottle and/or thermos
  • Snacks for that post swim refuel

There’s no right or wrong way to get started wild swimming – and you certainly don’t need to spend a fortune before getting in the water. Whether you choose a wetsuit, or swimsuit what’s important is that you feel comfortable and happy. After that, just be sure to stay safe in the water – and enjoy your swim!

Note: Swimming outdoors is a great way to stay fit and connect with nature but some basic safety precautions must be taken. Each year a number of water-related accidents and deaths could potentially be avoided by following proper safety measures. Wild swimming has inherent risks and dangers and is undertaken at your own risk.  Conditions change quickly.  Always make sure you are well prepared for any conditions and have the correct level of experience and kit for your chosen swim.  Make sure someone knows where you are swimming and always take someone with you.  Please note that inclusion of locations on this list does not guarantee their safety or suitability for wild swimming.  Check the tides, depth and ensure there is no blue-green algae present before swimming.

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