September 08, 2020
A swim in the sea on a scorching hot Summer’s day is really quite delightful. However, there are those people who are brave and intrepid and who don’t obviously feel the cold. These are the wild swimmers amongst us.
Wild swimming is all about being part of the environment, getting closer to nature and the elements. It is a far cry from swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool. You will feel the stingy salt water, the sand and rocks under foot and who knows what swimming past you. Is that tickle just a bit of seaweed or is it a fish?
Swimming in the sea in St Ives can be a beautiful thing. There is nothing quite so special as bobbing in the waves off Porthmeor, looking back at the busy beach, the Tate and the town. It is even more special if a seal or dolphin swims by (which they often do!).
We don’t recommend you swim from the harbour beaches. These are too full of boats and traffic, plus there is all manner of things under foot. There are anchors, ropes, buoys and people fishing. It really isn’t the best beach to swim from.
Porthminster Beach, Porthgwidden or Porthmeor Beach are all excellent for swimming from.
Porthminster Beach is probably the easiest beach to swim from. It is fairly shallow, few currents, and often feels warmer in the water than the other more exposed beaches. There aren’t many waves – it isn’t a surfing beach, so it is easy to get in and out. And you won’t be competing for water with the surfers.
Porthminster Beach is lifeguarded during the Summer months.
Porthgwidden Beach is another good beach to swim from. It is netted off during the Summer months, so if you are not a strong swimmer, stay the beach side of the buoys.
There is often lots of wildlife to accompany you on Porthgwidden. Cormorants on the rocks drying their wings and frequently there are seals by the Island. However, do take care beyond the buoys as there can be a quick tide that will try to pull you round the Island and out to sea.
Porthgwidden Beach ISN’T lifeguarded at any time throughout the year.
On a calm, flat day this is an amazing beach to swim from. However, conjure up a few waves and the sea will be frothing with surfers, none of which will be looking out for a swimmer! Look out for the rip current near Porthmeor West. If you stand on the road looking out to sea you can often work out easily where it is.
I like to swim from Porthmeor Beach from Easter to October as it is lifeguarded. It is a good idea to have a word with the lifeguards if you are not sure about swimming there. They will point out to you where to go, where to avoid, and will keep a bit of an eye on you.
Wild sea swimming is a wonderful thing, if done sensibly. We have lots of wild sea swimmers down here in St Ives. You often see little figures ploughing across Porthmeor bay at a rapid speed! Another good place to swim is off the Penzance promenade, between Newlyn and the Jubilee Pool.
If you are not that keen on wild sea swimming, check out our two amazing local lido where you can swim outdoors during the Summer months.
There are a few tidal pools dotted around, which aren’t huge, but make a good mid-ground between swimming in the sea and a lido.
Do you like to swim in the sea? Have you any top tips you can add? Which is your favourite beach to swim from?
June 14, 2021