New project aims to develop online resource for wild swimmers

The University of the Highlands and Islands has launched a new project to develop an online resource for wild swimmers.

SwimWild, a company which offers open water coaching, adventures and events, is working with Moray College UHI's computing and digital media department to create a portal where enthusiasts can find information about wild swimming locations around Scotland. The resource will feature reviews of swimming locations, including advice on accessibility and difficulty.

The five-month project has received funding through the Scottish Government's innovation voucher scheme which supports collaborations between businesses and academia.

Dr Malcolm Clark, a computing programme leader, researcher and lecturer, is leading the project at Moray College UHI. He explains: "Mental health and wellbeing has come to the forefront of our minds due to the pandemic and the subsequent recovery. We look forward to working with Alice to deliver this proof-of-concept platform to get people more active and involved in outdoor pursuits."

Alice Goodridge, the founder of SwimWild and an experienced long-distance swimmer and coach, said: "Wild swimming can have great mental and physical health benefits but can also be risky to those who are just starting out if they are not aware of how to do it safely. I am constantly being asked about safe swim locations and local swim groups as well as general safety information regarding swimming outdoors. I think a portal that can help people find the answers they are looking for and provide better access to location-based information about swim safety in Scotland is severely lacking at the moment."

It is hoped the new resource will launched by the start of 2022.