Jun 142024

Play Park, E End, Cellardyke, Anstruther KY10 3AW 

Still, reflective tidal pool with rocky shore and buildings in the background.
Cellardyke Tidal Pool ©Alison Mary Ashton

Cellardyke is a rectangular tidal pool sheltered from rough seas where the water is replenished each high tide. This coastal jewel is known as The Bathie or The Cardinal Steps Bathing Pool. In its 1930s heyday, it had a slide and diving board. For a long time only an old metal ladder remained but new steps have recently been installed, a sign of the rebirth of outdoor swimming as a local pursuit. It’s the little touches that make it so special here, including rainbow-coloured towel hooks hammered into the stone wall.

Tidal pool at sunset with the ocean and low clouds in the background.
Cellardyke at Sunset ©Wild Swimming – Scotland

This place is full of stories of people being taught how to swim by their grandparents. You might notice multiple generations continuing the tradition on your visit, a heartwarming reminder that learning sea swimming as a life skill should be open to all. Swimming here is a communion with nature as you get the benefits of saltwater swimming without the risk of dangerous currents. It’s an immersive swim where you’ll encounter all the delights of the sea, including velvety seaweed and even hermit crabs in spring.

Black and white postcard with four images of the tidal pool and an oval image of a diver set in the center; decorative banner reading: Bathing Pool Cellardyke.
Postcard of Cellardyke ©cellardyketidalpool.com

Although the pool is sheltered, the strong sea means the walls are gradually being battered by storms and the community must work hard to maintain the coastal defences. Locals meet regularly for lengths or a quick dip which Scots call a ‘dook’. If you need warming up, you’re near the family-run Anstruther Fish Bar where it’s rumoured only four fryers know the secret batter recipe that’s been passed down for generations.


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