Jun 142024

E Scores, St Andrews KY16 9BE 

Tidal pool set against the back of a stone castle and wall with a green, grassy sloping hill; blue ocean in the foreground and background.
Castle Sands ©Wikipedia

In St Andrews you’ll find a tidal pool on Castle Sands beach. Castle Pool is surrounded by rocky formations which make this an atmospheric swim. The ruins on this beach were once a castle famous for its bottle dungeon, a pit below one tower which was dug 22-feet deep. The pool is hemmed by black jagged stones that point towards the shore like witch’s fingers, which is perhaps an omen for nearby history.

Looking outwards to the ocean, tidal pool with a rocky shore and low clouds above.
Castle Pool ©Freya Bromley
Looking toward the stone castle, clear tidal pool is in the foreground.
Castle Sands ©Nikki Mahadevan

A short walk away you’ll find an aquarium that was once Step Rock tidal pool, also known as Witch Lake. Folklore says that women accused of witchcraft were trialled by water there in the 16th and 17th centuries. While wild swimming in Scotland you will likely meet more women than men, so it’s well worth noting the transformation of water’s role from harming to healing women in Scotland. 

Black and white image of swimmers on a raft and in the tidal pool.
Step Rock Tidal Pool ©St Andrews Preservation Trust

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