A Guide to Wild Swimming in Angus

Wild and cold-water swimming has never been more popular, with visitors from across the UK regularly seeking out fresh and saltwater spots.

Our Swimmer’s Guide has been created with help from Cameron Smith, founder of Arbroath Cliff Tours, an adventure tourism business providing breath-taking kayak tours of Arbroath’s incredible sea caves and rock formations, to support the numbers of people taking up wild swimming and help visitors to make the most of Angus’ sandy beaches and beautiful rivers.

Open water swimming can have many benefits, including:

  • Better sleep quality – Open water swimming can result in an increase in prolactin in the body which may help to improve sleep quality.
  • Increased happiness – Hormones that stimulate the thyroid have been shown to increase by more than 50 per cent after swimming which has all kinds of benefits including an improvement in mood.
  • Boosted immune system – Open water swimming in colder water can make your more body more robust and resistant to infection.
  • Preventing and managing long-term health conditions – Cold water and open water swimming can make other systems of your body more efficient and more effective.

View top tips for wild swimming.

Wild Swimming Locations in Angus 

The Angus Tour Dookers Facebook group has been created as a tool to plan meets, share tips and build a community for those keen to dook in Angus but unsure about the area’s hidden gems. Join the group to share your ideas and hear from others.

Here are some of our suggested locations.

Coastal Locations:

Auchmithie Beach

Auchmithie village features 120ft high red sandstone cliffs, a picturesque pebble beach and…

East Haven Beach

East Haven is one of the oldest recorded fishing communities in Scotland.

Lunan Bay beach, Angus

It is overlooked by the ruins of Red Castle, and reputed for agate…

Carlingheugh Bay, Arbroath

Carlinghuegh Bay, (commonly known in Arbroath as The Flairs), is located to the…

Montrose Beach

There's a short promenade with plenty of car parking and the kids can…

Carnoustie Bay, Angus, Scotland

In this large, shallow bay there are opportunities for windsurfing, canoeing, sailing and…

Rivers, Waterfalls and Lochs:

Arbirlot Falls

Arbirlot is a small village, approx. 2 miles west of Arbroath, and is…

Loch Brandy, Glen Clova

A small loch in Angus, Loch Brandy is located nearly 610m (2,000 feet)…

Loch Lee

A reservoir in the southern Grampians of Angus, Loch Lee lies at the…

Shakin' Brig, Edzell

The Shakin Brig (shaking bridge) is a pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the…

Swim Safely

It is important to remember, that with the unknown comes additional risk. We are extremely lucky in Angus to have so many incredible beaches but it’s important to remember beaches are usually better to swim at high tide as you are closer to the shore and there is less chance of rocks and debris in the water. Anyone thinking about going swimming must do their own research, looking into tide times, riptides and weather conditions.

There are no lifeguards at any of the beaches in Angus. Before entering the water, make sure you know where you can enter and exit, if there are any hazards you should be aware of and what the tide and currents are doing. If you see someone in danger, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

Top Wild Swimming Tips

1. Never swim alone. It is safer and more fun with friends.

2. Make sure you have the right equipment. Wear a wetsuit to help you stay warm and a brightly coloured swimming hat to help you be seen in the water. Take a tow float with you to act as extra buoyancy if you need it.

3. Your body takes roughly one minute to get used to the cold water. If you accidentally fall in cold water or start to panic, try to relax, lie on your back and breathe deeply, it will get easier.

4. If swimming at the beach, research rip currents before you leave the house. Swim side on to the beach to escape the rip.

5. If swimming in the sea, learn to read the swell reports which tell you how much the sea is moving up and down (how big the waves are). If there is a big swell (4ft+) then maybe leave it for another day, or dook at a waterfall instead.

6. A general rule for cold water swimming length is 1 minute per 1 degree of temperature. For example, if the sea temperature is 9 degrees, do not exceed 9 minutes.

7. Have your towel and warm weather gear all set up and ready for when you leave the water. Dry off, clothes on, have a boogie, a cuppy and a cake, smile and heat up.

See the RNLI website for more tips on how to get started wild swimming and how to stay safe.

Check, Clean, Dry

Every time you leave any body of water, please follow the national ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ guidance:

  • Check your equipment and clothing for living organisms. Pay particular attention to damp or hard to inspect areas.
  • Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them or on a hard surface.
  • Dry all equipment and clothing. Some species can live for many days in damp conditions.
Wild Swimming at Arbirlot Falls Arbroath