An East Neuk community is pulling together to restore its outdoor seawater pool after decades of decline.
Cellardyke sea pool has lain untended for more than 40 years but locals want to see it returned to its former glory.
It’s the latest village in the the picturesque corner of Fife to work on their once forgotten pools, as locals attempt to persuade a new generation of swimmers to take the plunge.
Tidal swimming areas are already back in use just a few miles along the coast in both St Monans and Pittenweem.
With wild swimming back in vogue, those who enjoy an al fresco dip – even in the bracing waters of the Firth of Forth – are drawn to the restored pools.
And the community hopes Cellardyke sea pool, known locally as The Bathie, will prove just as popular.
‘Clear support’ for Cellardyke sea pool
There is certainly a lot of support for the idea, as villager Christine Wilson found when she first raised it.
A public meeting held over Zoom was well attended and an online survey received more than 145 responses – not bad for a village the size of Cellardyke.
Short-term improvements are already being carried out, while a longer-term restoration project is worked on.
The top priority is to improve the “challenging” access to the swimming area.
Christine and friend Sarah Jane Reid were among a group of locals who started using the pool for their early morning swim when they came up with a tentative plan to improve it.
“There was clear support for the project,” said Christine.
The current access to the pool involves climbing down some wooden steps then edging along a narrow platform with an unguarded drop on one side.
“It’s challenging,” Christine said.
“That’s our top priority, along with tidying up the pool itself and removing 40 years worth of rocks and weed.
“There’s also a fantastic baby pool that needs sorting out.”
Barrowloads of rocks and weed
The group has already had “very supportive” meetings with Fife Council officials who are helping turn the vision into reality.
The council bought the pool from the Crown Estate for £1 to avoid hundreds of pounds in annual lease fees and is now exploring with the community how it could be best managed.
A detailed report is due in a few weeks for community discussion.
Meanwhile, the small band of volunteers has already shifted hundreds of barrowloads of rocks and weed in a bid to move things along.
Many hands make light work however, and Christine is encouraging others to get involved.
“Everyone is welcome to pop along to help – for five minutes or five hours!” she said.
“We’ll be putting together a store of brushes and so on so folk don’t need to bring anything along and we’ll be publicising the best tide times.
“It might even make a nice wee experience for passing tourists to share.”