Wild swimming has grown massively over the past year and we can definitely see why! The benefits of a cold water dip are like no other and even though it might feel cold at first, the common saying goes that it’s lovely once you’re in.
One of our most recent road trips was the North East 250, taking in the beautiful Cairngorms and Aberdeenshire coast. We love a wild swim and especially living in a motorhome, it’s a great way to get a shower so we will share with you all of our favourite spots for wild swimming around the NE250.
It is important to note that there are not life guards on these beaches and if you cannot swim or if the water does not look safe, don’t go in.
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Wild Swimming in Aberdeenshire – Top Spots on the NE250
We love a bit of wild swimming and we tried and tested some beautiful locations around the NE250 to share with you our favourites.
- Aberdeen Beach
- Balmeadie Beach
- Cruden Bay
- Roseheary Beach
- Cullen Beach
- Linn Falls
- Findhorn Beach
- Preparing for your trip to the NE250
A sandy beach, right on the edge of the city, perfect place to cool off on a hot day. Head to the Esplanade where you will find a line of cafes and restaurants along the beachfront. You can park anywhere along the front and at the opposite end there are toilet facilities.
Hidden behind the sand dunes, Balmeadie Beach is a beautiful beach to visit on the NE250 road trip. The beach goes on for miles so you will be able to find a bit of the beach to yourself. There is a large car park with toilet facilities.
Collieston is a beautiful harbour town with two swimming spots. The beach area is sheltered from the harbour making it a calm spot for wild swimming.
The more open area is popular with those going our on their stand up paddle boards or kayaks.
Cruden Bay was one of our favourite beaches on the NE250 road trip. There are two entrances into the water, one at the harbour where the swim will be more sheltered and also from the 2.5km beach. There is a small amount of parking at the harbour as well as toilets.
Cullen Beach was one of our favourite beaches for a swim on the NE250. The water is incredibly clear and the sand is very soft. We would recommend heading into the centre of the beach to avoid the seaweed closer to the harbour.
The beach is overlooked by cliffs and a large viaduct, it is very scenic. There is parking on the beach and toilet facilities nearby.
A beautiful waterfall located a short walk from Aberlour and the perfect place for a refreshing dip. There is access to the water from the path which is sheltered by the surrounding trees. Depending on the recent rain fall will determine how deep the water will be.
A bit off route but this one has to be one of our favourite beaches in Scotland. The top of the beach is lined with colourful beach huts and is stoney but walk down further and you will reach the soft golden sands.
We would definitely recommend a swim at Findhorn Beach at sunrise or sunset. There is parking at the beach that costs £1 and toilet facilities in the car park.
Before You Leave on the North East 250
Before you head off on your trip around the NE250, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip. These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book.
How Do I Get Around the NE250?
Given the reasonably remote location of the NE250 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.
As for public transport, this isn’t completely impossible, it is just a lot more difficult.
If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable and luxurious campervan for your trip around the NE250, we highly recommend hiring through Bunk Campers. We toured with these guys around the up-and-coming Heart 200 road trip in Scotland’s central highlands and could not believe the comfort and customer service we experienced with their vans.
What Should I Pack for the NE250?
When it comes to packing for a trip along the NE250 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NE250 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.
Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C
Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C
Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C
Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C
As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
Where Should I Stay in Aberdeen?
Luxury – Residence Inn by Marriott Aberdeen is a luxury hotel in the city of Aberdeen. It is within 20 minutes walk of the beach front and has free wifi, a gym and laundry facilities on site. The best things about this hotel might just be that it was rated highly for the comfort of the beds!
Mid-range – The Jurys Inn Aberdeen is located a stones throw away from the city centre shops, bars and restaurants. All rooms have air conditioning, a TV, hairdryer and most importantly, a comfortable bed.
Budget – The Station Hotel sits opposite the train station in Aberdeen and is a fantastic budget option for your trip to the city. Each room is equipped with a TV and tea/coffee making facilities as well as having it’s own private bathroom.
What is the Best Travel Insurance?
No matter what type of adventure you are heading on, whether it is a mountain adventure or a relaxing beach destination, one thing we all need to be aware of is that accidents can happen. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Luckily, that is what travel insurance is for.
Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned.
So there you have it, all of the best wild swimming spots along the North East 250. If you have visited the NE250 recently, let us know what you thought of the swimming locations listed above, or if you have any suggestions let us know in the comments below.
As always, sharing is caring so make sure to share this photo guide with your family and friends and inspire them to head off on their own North East 250 adventure. If you are planning the trip for yourself, make sure you have a look at the rest of our Scotland content for more inspiration to our beautiful home country.
When you set off on your own adventure, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram and we will share them with the rest of our community. In the meantime, why not follow us over there to see what we are currently up to and keep up with us on our Instagram Stories.
- North East 250 Itinerary – The Ultimate 5 day Aberdeenshire Road Trip
- Must Visit Castles in Aberdeenshire – Castles on the NE250 Road Trip
- Unmissable Beaches on the North East 250 – Best Beaches in Aberdeenshire
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