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Four great places for a swim on Argyll’s Secret Coast

Four great places for a swim on Argyll’s Secret Coast
September is the best month to have a swim in the sea on Argyll’s Secret Coast. The water has been warming up slowly over the summer months and is now at its peak. Ok, it’s still cold enough to take your breath away, but that’s all part of the fun! So pick a sunny day, pack a blanket and a flask of tea and take the plunge. You could always wear a wetsuit...

Ostel Bay
This crescent-shaped sweep of sand is the jewel in the crown of Argyll’s Secret Coast and a top spot for a dip. It’s a fifteen-minute walk from the road, crossing springy machair. Climb over the dunes and the beach stretches out ahead of you with Arran on the horizon. On a sunny day it’s a fabulous place to paddle and swim. It’s quite shallow for a long way out and if you wait until the tide has come in over the sand, the water will be that little bit warmer for you.

Glenan Bay
Glenan Bay is around the coast from ferry terminal at Portavadie. You can follow the forest path there and come back via the coastal path. Both lead you through beautiful native oak woods. It’s a pebbly bay with sand further out. If you walk beyond Glenan Bay, past the mouth of a small river and along to Buck Bay, you’ll find a lovely swimming spot with white sand and a rocky outcrop for jumping off. There’s lots of driftwood here too, so you can light a wee fire and make yourself post-dip cup of tea. It’s a fair walk to get to Buck bay; give yourself an hour or so to get there.

Ascog Bay at Stillaig
A narrow isthmus separates two shallow bays at Stillaig. It’s a magical place to spend a sunny day, pottering, paddling and taking the plunge! Wait for the tide to come in over the warm sand and enjoy a blissful swim in these protected bays. Eilean Aoidhe is joined to the mainland via the isthmus. To get there, you can either walk over the headland from Portavadie or walk down the farm track just beyond the entrance to Stillaig Farm on the road to Portavadie.

Carry Farm
Carry is a lovely spot for a swim. Unlike Ostel, Glenan and Ascog Bays, you don’t have to walk very far to get to the beach, so it’s great for a quick dip. The shoreline is pebbly, but it gets nice and sandy as you head further out. Walk though Carry Farm to to get to the shoreline. The best bit for swimming is to your left.

If swimming in the sea in Scotland doesn’t appeal to you, then the outdoor infinity pool at Portavadie is a great option. You get the fresh sea air and coastal views – without the chilly water!

It’s important that you stay safe when swimming in the sea. Stay within your abilities and check out this safety advice on the Outdoor Swimming Society’s website - How to find a safe swim spot and other safety questions.
Infinity pool at Portavadie
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