Online resource for wild swimmers being developed by the University of the Highlands and Islands

Wild swimmers in Loch Morar in the Western Highlands.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is developing an online resource based on Scotland’s wild swimming spots.

SwimWild, a company that offers open water coaching, adventures and events, is working with the IT and Digital Media department at Moray College UHI to create a portal where enthusiasts can find information on the safest places to cross the river. not.

The resource will feature reviews of swimming spots, including advice on accessibility and difficulty.

The five-month project received funding through the Scottish Government’s Innovation Voucher program which supports collaboration between businesses and universities.

Alice Goodridge, founder of SwimWild and experienced long distance swimmer and trainer, said: “Wild swimming can have great benefits for mental and physical health, but can also be risky for those just starting out if they don’t know how. do it safely.

“I’m constantly asked about safe swimming spots and local swimming groups, as well as general outdoor swimming safety information. I think a portal can help people find the answers they need. ‘they seek and provide better access to geo-tagged information on swimming safety in Scotland is sorely lacking at this time. “

Dr Malcolm Clark, Computer Program Manager, Researcher and Lecturer, is leading the project at Moray College UHI.

He said: “Mental health and well-being are at the forefront of our concerns due to the pandemic and the recovery that has followed. We look forward to working with Alice to provide this proof of concept platform. to make people more active and involved in outdoor pursuits. “

It is hoped that the new resource will be launched by early 2022.

Open water swimming has become a popular activity in Caithness over the past year or so, with many people bathing in outdoor pools or lochs or at local beaches. Regular outdoor swimmers talk about the benefits for physical health and mental well-being.

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