Take a dip somewhere a little bit magic – the Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye. Crystal clear icy water flows from the foot of the Cuillin mountains, forming lagoons and waterfalls that’ll both enchant you and give you serious brain freeze.
I’ve been dying to go to the famed Fairy Pools since I came across a photo which captured a lone swimmer diving deep below the surface of an azure lagoon. It looked like something from the Caribbean, but it was in the Highlands. And it was just as wonderful as I was hoping when we hiked there a few weeks ago for a dip. I’m usually perfectly happy jumping into muddy rivers or the salty sea, but this enchanted spot is something else.
A walk up the heather-clad moors leads to a tumbling river and a series of deep stone pools. The deepest of the lagoons has an incredible submerged arch, connecting one pool, fed by a waterfall, with another that is so perfectly still it’s like a mirror. Clamber down to the water and there are flat, sheltered rocks where you can shed your clothes (and even sunbathe if you’re very lucky). Muster up a bit of courage, dive into the waterfall pool and you can make like Lara Croft, swimming down and under the stone arch and up into the other pool. It’s the most perfect wild swim I’ve found in Britain.
The nearest village to the Fairy Pools is Carbost on the West of Skye. The start of the walk is signposted on the road to Glenbrittle. The water is pretty chilly all year round, so a wetsuit will help you keep pretending to be a mermaid for longer. Take goggles, too – the water is so perfectly clear that you can see everything underwater.
Here’s the walk, step by step, although it’s hard to get lost – just follow the river up to the foot of the Cuillin mountains.