Rugged Swim

Rugged Swim – Glasgow – White Loch

Route map for Loch White by Iain Todd on

Wild swimming can look fantastic when viewed on Instagram. Pictures of happy smiling swimmers in beautiful locations around Scotland. The reality can be very different…

I tried a Loch I’d never been to before – White Loch, just outside Newton Mearns and on the way to Stewarton. I’d passed it a couple of days previously and saw people swimming in it. I’d shouted over:

“Is it good to swim here?”

Yes, they said, but they jokingly added that “You can only swim here if you know us!”

“Well, I do now” I said!

So, with my membership of the secret White Loch swim club confirmed I returned on Saturday only to find…


After huddling under the open boot of my car while trying to get changed, I sheltered in my car while I waited for the rain to pass. Which might seem strange? Why wait for rain to pass when going for a swim? I would get wet anyway, dodging rain wouldn’t make me any less wet than a deep water Loch. But I didn’t want to be wet when I tried to dry off and get changed afterwards. There’s no point driving home cold and wet. So, I waited for a clear patch.

After 20 minutes, I had 10 minutes of sunshine so I had a very quick dip and I will return at a later date in better weather.


I returned to white loch on a nicer evening. It was now easier to park here. A gate had been opened and there was access to small area to park in.

It was though much busier. there was three different groups out and people on stand up paddle boards. My brother had been the previous night and didn’t see a soul so be prepared for it either being really busy or empty.


Nothing very exciting to report about swimming here other than it is convenient for swimmers on the south side of Glasgow.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two car parking spaces but when on a dangerous bend so it is not safe to turn east if you arrived from the west. Drive on and then turn at the farm turnoff point.

UPDATE (AUGUST 2020) – I returned and there is now more parking here. There is a gate open to a small area of parking.


Rating: 0.5 out of 5.


Water Temperature

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Around 14 degrees on a Saturday in July 2020.

UPDATE (AUGUST 2020) – It was still 14C

Water Quality

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Choppy water as there was a strong wind whilst I was there. The water was murky but clean.

UPDATE (AUGUST 2020) – I came back on a nicer day and I had a great swim. The water was very calm.

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