Pinkston paddlesports

Swimming at Pinkston

As Pinkston has reopened following the Covid-19 lockdown it has become a haven for swimmers from across Glasgow.  However, for many hardened open water swimmers Pinkston is a familiar venue right through the year.  Now well into June we have seen water temperatures as high as 19 degrees as the water temperature fluctuates in such a small body of water - a world apart from the chilly waters of February and March.

It has been great to catch up with so many people and hear your stories

Here is just one:

Earlier in 2020 myself and a few friends attended Pinkston swimming sessions to train for an upcoming event.

Pinkston offers a unique swimming experience quite different to the lochs and reservoirs we are used to swimming in. It is an enclosed water basin handily situated close to the centre of Glasgow. The basin is roughly 300m in circumference which makes it easy to calculate distance without having to refer to your watch. It is spacious enough to feel that you are and swimming in an expanse of open water but swimmers can take comfort knowing that safety cover is provided by knowledgeable staff. Despite the differences there are also similarities...

At our last swim in March the water temperature read a ‘refreshing’ 6oc; it still takes great focus to conquer the coldness of the water as it penetrates the wetsuit and takes your breath away; like other bodies of water, the ‘choppiness’ is dictated by the elements; there is that same feeling of liberation as you move through the water and your mind floats away and when you come out your teeth will inevitably chatter as you try to overcome the challenge of not spilling your cuppa over yourself as you raise it to your mouth (this bit, I still find strangely amusing!)

It’s a superb facility which I would highly recommend to all swimmers - those taking their first tentative steps into open water and those more experienced swimmers who have been dipping their toes in the water for years!


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It’s good to be back!

It was the first weekend back after lockdown with a tentative step towards getting the people of Glasgow back out on and in the water.

And what a great weekend it was - the lockdown sunshine continuing has allowing many people to enjoy a little local Glasgow water based social distancing.  Over the weekend and spread out over a good number of hours we saw 75 people take to the water, not that you would ever have known it.

"thank you so much for your great work today allowing us to swim in a safe, socially distanced environment. I was so happy to be back in the water, and I felt really safe at your facility. Lovely way to start the day" - Kirsty

"Thank you for your care and attention to get the venue up and running so quickly and safely! Was great to be swimming again" - Mhorag

"So good to be back in the water! So well organised, I’d hardly have know anyone else was there!" - Emma 

Strict social distancing measures are in place with access times staggered to prevent multiple people arriving at the same time.  A maximum of 10 people are permitted on the water at any one time.  Pontoons, outside benches, and any point likely to be touched (including supports for the canopy) are being disinfected regularly throughout the day.  Hand sanitiser stations are available at various points onsite - thank you to the Andy Jackson fund for funding these.  No indoor areas are open, including changing and toilets.  While we appreciate that the lack of toilets and changing may present a problem for some it is important that we remain within the guidelines.  More importantly we want to ensure that we all remain safe and well.

During phase 1 timeslots for accessing the water are only open to those travelling less than 5 miles and who have their own equipment.  We also request that you please limit the number of people who are accompanying those getting on or in the water.

We are also open to water bookings from operators who are able to work within the Phase 1 guidelines - this may include one to one coaching.  Please email if you would like to book.  Normal booking processes have been disabled due to the greater need to control numbers onsite, but Pinkston is very much open for business.

Further to this we are open to bookings for activities going into phase 2 and 3.  Bookings will be subject to Covid-19 restrictions at the time the activity goes ahead - if the need to cancel should arise as a result of this then we will of course refund any monies paid.

For clubs and other groups looking to get back to your regular booking times, we will make contact to confirm plans when guidance indicates that normal club activities can resume.  We are very much looking forward to seeing you back before too long - hopefully phase 2 will see this start to happen!  If we can offer any support with site specific risk assessments then please get in touch with Hannah. 

Review of risk assessments and procedures is taking place on a day to day basis so please get in touch directly for up to date information if you have any questions.

See you on the water soon!

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Phase 1 Reopening

Excited to be taking tentative steps towards reopening

Limited bookings are now available for flat water park and play for paddlers who have their own kit, and for swimmers also with their own kit. Although unfortunately no changing or toilets will be open due to Phase 1 government guidelines. We are absolutely over the moon to be able to start welcoming people back to Pinkston, but also mindful of the very real public health crisis that Covid-19 presents.  We are limiting numbers and staggering start times to reduce the likelihood of physical proximity.  We will also be disinfecting hard surfaces that people are likely to make contact with (e.g. pontoons, ladders, railings).  All sessions must be booked and paid for in advance, which will eliminate the need for direct contact with staff on arrival. 

Please be respectful of the current guidelines that are in place - including the 5 mile local restrictions on travel.  The Scottish Canoe Association have some fantastic guidance on their website , but essentially if you aren't used to taking part in the sport then this is not the time to start.  This applies to canoeing, kayaking, SUP and outdoor swimming.  Please also see the advice offered by Scottish Swimming and Triathlon Scotland.

For groups looking to make a booking for when restrictions allow please email We are still on a limited staff team but will respond as quickly as we can. All bookings will need to come through the office to enable us to manage the numbers onsite.

Thank you for staying with us on this journey as we make our way through this new situation, and we look forward to seeing you on the water before too long


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Pinkston Reopening

Pinkston Phase 1 Reopening

In line with the government framework and additional guidance issued by the Scottish Canoe Association we have made the decision to reopen on a very limited basis during phase 1 following Covid-19 lockdown. The first sessions will be available on the 6th and 7th June and will consist of flat water park and play and swimming.  Initially these sessions are planned for weekends until the end of June, but this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.  Bookings should go live later on 3rd June 2020, we are awaiting a few small final changes to the back end with regards to additional booking information required from participants.  This will allow for no close contact with staff on arrival at the centre.

This decision is based on Pinkston's position to facilitate individuals to participate in permitted activities (canoeing, kayaking, SUP, and swimming) during phase 1. Guidelines only allow for travel within the local area to participate in these activities (with a 5 mile recommendation on this) so without Pinkston opening many people in Glasgow are still very restricted in their ability to participate in their chosen sport.

The water will be open for bookings, but we are not at this stage able to open the toilets or changing rooms. Please bear this in mind before making a booking.  

Sessions will only be open to individuals with staggered start times to minimise the possibility of any bottlenecks at access and egress points. Sessions will be restricted to 1 hour in length also to allow control on the numbers on site.  They will also only be open to people who have their own equipment.

We hope that Phase 2 will allow a greater easing of restrictions and it may be when we are able to start introducing white-water sessions. This is still to be confirmed.

We are open for bookings from groups that are able to operate within guideline - which at the current time will be minimal. However, we are able to take bookings for when we enter later stages. These can be cancelled at a later date if things don't follow expected timelines.

Click here to access our Covid-19 Risk Assessment  

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