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Good water: Pettycur Beach, Kinghorn
I took up open water swimming only last year as a way to get fit and do something cheap yet beneficial, writes Maureen Londra. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for.
The challenges, both physical and psychological, have been enormous, but have not turned me off the idea of getting in the cold, dark waters of the Firth of Forth in Fife, Scotland.
Whether my mood is low or I am elated, I love to swim at Pettycur beach near Kinghorn in Fife. There is often not a soul around, but sometimes the beach can be heaving with tourists from the nearby caravan park. Each time I visit the little-known harbour I am reminded that we are not in charge once we step into the wild waters of the Forth. We must assess the conditions and respect the sea at all times.
The bay is shallow for a quite a distance so it is a good spot for novice outdoor swimmers to sample a little of what is to come.
Pettycur is convenient for me, but feels secluded and distant from the hustle and bustle of life’s daily drudge. It is inviting with its bustling harbour and dog-walkers for company. Squeals of astonishment are often to be heard from passers-by who are incredulous that anyone might venture into the freezing temperatures of the Forth, but they must also be surely enticed just a little when they see the calmness which emanates from me once I am in the water and gliding smoothly across the bay.
There are rocks to negotiate and on calm days one can venture round into the next wider bay where the expanse of water is much broader and extensive. Here you are likely to bump into kitesurfers, kite-flyers and surfers alike. The water is sometimes murky, but frequently clear as tap water.
I have swum at Pettycur with fish and seals, dogs, and onlookers and miss it when I don’t get my daily “fix”. Best of all it has kept me safe during the winter months and I look forward to the coming summer months when I will BBQ on the beach round a bonfire and sing songs to the full moon when it is around.
That’s why Pettycur is my favourite swimming spot.
Maureen Londra is an active participant in the Fife Wild Swimmers Faceboook group