Open Water Swimming on Loch Ken.

Loch Ken is a stunning spot for some wild swimming.

We want you to have a brilliant time at Loch Ken, but it is important that you are safe. Water Safety Scotland offer some excellent water safety guidance available on the link below

Water Safety

If you do get in trouble in the water follow the RNLI’s ‘Float to Live ‘ advice


1. There is a High Speed Zone with a safe channel along the west shore (see map below)


Click on image above for larger version of map

2.. There is a Hydro generation system with changing water levels. Keep well away from the barrage at Glenlochar (gates open and close without notice. There can be strong currents and risk of getting sucked in and trapped).

3.After prolonged heavy rain or if the barrage is fully open for generation needs, this creates strong currents elsewhere in the narrower sections of Loch Ken.

4. Motorboats use the entire loch, so we recommend wearing high visibility headwear/swim caps and using a tow float. Groups are more visible, so try not to swim alone. Be aware of glare and chop on the water, if you can’t see ahead of you, a boat user approaching you from behind might not be able to see you. Listen for engines approaching, look around and be prepared to act.

5. Shore fishermen have long casts, look out for them and try to avoid. In popular fishing areas, be aware of the risk of entanglement in snapped lines and hooks under the water. Avoid conflict, if someone is already fishing, find somewhere else to swim. Be aware of any regular and well attended fishing competitions which take up large areas.

6. Much of the shoreline is remote and not close to roads if a swimmer has to get out early or needs medical assistance. Have a means of calling for help, mobile in a waterproof case. Consider having a location App ready on your phone,such as What 3 Words.

8. Do not swim beyond the yellow buoys if entering from Nether Ervie.


Lots of wild swimming takes place at various locations around the Loch.

By far the most popular spot is Crossmichael Marina which holds organised swims on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings which are covered by a safety boat. For further details please contact Jim McClelland on 07776012873

It is important to note there is a HIGH SPEED ZONE for waterskiing just North of the slipway where swimming is not recommended.(see map)

Whilst swimming is possible from the Galloway Activity Centre, it is not recommended without safety cover. Please contact directly for further information. Galloway Activity Centre hold Wild Swim events throughout the year. Please see their website for further details.


We are often asked about the presence of blue algae on Loch Ken- we have received no notifications at all regarding the presence of blue/green algae at Loch Ken. We cannot guarantee that the loch will remain free of the algae and will do our best to notify water users should we find or hear of any affected areas. For further information on this please contact Dumfries and Galloway Council or SEPA.