Into the Water/Dhan Uisge is a new series on BBC ALBA following YouTube star Calum MacLean as he shares his passion for swimming in remote lochs and rivers.
Across ten episodes, Calum reveals some of his favourite places to swim in Scotland. Calum has a huge social media presence with 1.8 million views for his 60-second ‘midgie challenge’ on Skye and his wild swimming tips, ice swims and vlogs regularly attract thousands of views on Facebook and Twitter.
His chosen settings are far off the beaten track and some can only be accessed by boat or after a long hike. As he says himself: "I love to swim outdoors alone with no living person to be seen". The locations featured include River Douchary, River Garry, the islands in Loch Maree, Spar Cave on Skye, Loch Coruisk, Easdale Island and Sanna, Ardnamurchan. He also takes up a challenge to swim through punishing currents from Seil over to the island of Luing.
Calum enjoys the challenge of swimming in places which stretch his tolerance of the cold and which offer additional feats of endurance. But he says that there are plenty of places which are suitable for novices.
“There are wide open beaches in Scotland which would be safe for someone not used to swimming outdoors. All you really need is a swimming wetsuit and you don’t have to swim for long to get a big rush of endorphins. Then you feel amazing for the rest of the day – it gives you a real buzz.
“There’s a boom in wild swimming at the moment. It’s very popular now in Scotland and England - in fact all over the world; groups are forming on social media to help people find out about the best natural swimming pools and go swimming together. I think the reason it’s so big now is because it becomes addictive – you go once and then you’ve just got to go again. Also the kind of people who are into it – we tell other people about how much we love it.”
The first episode of Into the Water / Dhan Uisge will be broadcast on BBC ALBA on Thursday, 25 May at 10.30pm, followed by a further nine episodes on successive Thursdays.