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Wild Swimming

Go Wild Swimming in Girvan

Try wild swimming in Girvan with Swim The Lochs

In centuries and decades gone by, tourists flocked to the coastal town of Girvan to escape the fumes and grime of the city. However, it wasn’t just the clean air that drew visitors, it was also the ability to go sea bathing, a practice made popular in Victorian times when the railway arrived in the town.

Immersing yourself in cold, salty water was deemed a cure for many ailments. A therapeutic dip in the Firth of Clyde was such a popular pastime, a bathing station was built in Girvan to cater for the demand.

A bathing platform and chute were installed in the sea to add some fun to what many now considered a pleasurable activity. The healing waters of Girvan were transformed into a thriving seaside playground.


The arrival of package holidays to warmer climates not only tempted tourists away from Scottish beach towns, they also reduced our tolerance and desire to bathe in cooler seas.

However, recent years have seen a huge revival in wild swimming and a growing number of people are raving about the health benefits once again. Outdoor swimming and cold water therapy are back in vogue, but for those starting out, the thought of immersing yourself in the chilly sea can be intimidating.

Keen to try wild swimming in Girvan? Book on one of the monthly Dips and Chips events with Swim The Lochs

If you’re keen to go for more than a paddle in Girvan, a monthly Dip and Chips event is the perfect opportunity to get more than your feet wet. Set up by open water swimming coach Sarah Redman who runs Swim The Lochs, the event is held on the first Wednesday of the month and is suitable for all levels of experience from first-time dippers to experienced wild swimmers. After an exhilarating sea swim, the session finishes with a chippie tea at a local cafe, you can’t get a more seaside expereince than that!

We recently caught up with Sarah and asked her to share some of her wild swimming tips and tell us more about her Dip and Chips events.

Hi Sarah, can you tell us how long have you been wild swimming and what inspired you to start?

I started swimming in the river that runs through our farm during covid, in the spring of 2020. It was the heat that initially got me in the water and then I was transfixed by the view from the water, everything I was used to seeing looked completely different. And I felt completely different when I came out.

What benefits have you personally experienced from wild swimming?

Whatever has been going on in my day is forgotten the second I get in to water; I feel reset in both mind and body after a swim. And the other amazing thing about outdoor swimming is the sense of belonging to a friendly and welcoming likeminded community.

What advice would you give anyone thinking about trying wild swimming for the first time?

Definitely do it!

But do not just jump in, even on a hot day the water is cold! Research where you are planning to swim. Don’t swim alone. But preferably book a 1-2-1 session with me in the first instance.

You run monthly ‘Dips and Chips’ events in Girvan, what inspired you to set them up and what does a typical session involve?

I was inspired by the never ending, often empty beach. A typical session involves meeting on the prom; a safety briefing; a quick change on the sand; a pep talk and then in to the water we go, slowly with lots of encouragement, it’s not a race. Then everyone gets out at their own time, gets out of wet gear, puts lots of warm layers on. And then when everyone is ready we all head to the chippy for a warming cup of tea, fish supper and lots of laughter.

Have you undertaken any specific training in order to lead these events and are they suitable for people with no prior experience of cold water swimming?

Yes. In 2021 I qualified as an STA Open Water Swimming coach which means I am fully qualified and insured.

As long as you can swim everyone is welcome at my sessions; it’s all about dips not distance, community not competition.

What advice would you give to visitors planning to include some wild swimming during their holiday in Girvan?

Do it, you won’t regret it, but as I’ve previously mentioned DO NOT JUST JUMP IN! Research where you are planning to swim. Don’t swim alone. But preferably book a 1-2-1 session with me in the first instance!

What else would you recommend visitors do during their time in Girvan?

As much as they can. Girvan has so much to offer visitors and locals alike, and I’m proud to be helping to do my bit to regenerate this lovely little seaside town.


To find out more or to book an open water swimming session in Girvan, visit Swim The Lochs

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