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Chris Lightfoot

Coldwater therapies: how to embrace the elements

By | SPA, WINTER | No Comments

The sheer feeling of the cold. When you go swimming in natural waters, that’s the first thing that hits you.

But then your body acclimatises. It becomes a little easier to be in the water. And afterwards — once you’ve clambered back onto dry land — a radiance remains.

At least that’s what Stephen, one of our in-house creatives, is telling us about his new wild swimming hobby. “For me the greatest satisfaction has been post dip feelings – the surge of endorphins or dopamine. Whatever it is? I feel good about myself and it’s here to stay.” (Though Stephen, who also moonlights as a RNLI lifeguard, reminds us of the importance of undertaking wild swimming with care and consideration.)

It’s clear to see that activities involving cold water are having a moment. Old lidos are enjoying a renaissance, while articles on wild swimming are appearing more and more frequently. Amongst our friends, more and more people have started swearing by cold showers — what was once a shrieking surprise is now something they do regularly, saying it helps them to feel more awake and alive.

It always come back to this sensation. That after an exposure to coldwater therapy, it feels as if that initial shock unblocked something: you feel more open to the textures of the world. And in the lethargy of dull lockdown days, the idea of fully exposing yourself to the sheer elements is appealing.


The Scarlet’s outdoor natural pool.

The benefits of cold water

But sharpening your senses is just the tip of the very cold iceberg. Regular time in cold water has been linked to many physical and mental benefits. These include increased circulation and better general mental wellbeing.

What’s more, humans have known about their goodness for centuries: think about those traditional Nordic wellbeing cultures, where an ice bath is often part of the communal spa.

Another key benefit is how cold water is most often found in proximity to nature. At the Scarlet, our natural bathing pool is right out on the clifftops. You can see the waves and hear the seabirds while you swim. It makes everything feel better, more harmonious.

Getting started 

Great care needs to be taken when exposing yourself to cold water. Prolonged or even sudden exposure to cold temperatures can be actively dangerous. Research whether you any existing health issues may need you to take extra caution.

Particular attention must be given if you’re keen to begin wild swimming, too. Before your first swim, research using resources such as SH₂OUT and the Outdoor Swimming Society. Natural waters, including the sea, are very different to swimming pools. Be mindful of water cleanliness and nearby wildlife, alongside shifting tides and currents. Don’t swim alone either: always make sure someone will be available to help if something goes wrong.

If you’re looking to dip your toes into these new waters, also consider beginning small. Seek out sea pools or natural pools. For instance, Scarlet’s reed pool is designed to give you the thrilling textures of open water swimming, but without having to worry about changing tides.

The outdoor Sensory Spa Garden at our sister hotel Bedruthan is another place to discover how the cold can awaken the senses. Inspired by thermal contrast therapies, it features an ice bucket drench that really sharpens the mind.

After a less-than-great year, here’s to trying new things and feeling more alive than ever.

Spa Breaks at the Scarlet

Find a complete wellbeing experience, including use of the Scarlet’s natural pools. Our spa breaks allow you to focus on yourself.

Sacha Dench’s Climate Change Challenge


Why we’re supporting her two World Record attempts

A paramotor isn’t a complicated, or necessarily comfortable, aircraft. First, imagine a chair with a propeller bolted to the back. Then, add a parachute-like sail overhead that’s used for lift and steering. That’s essentially all there is. And though it may be simple, paramotor fans will tell you that it’s unlike anything else. It’s a way of experiencing the full thrilling freedom of flight: your body suspended in the sky, nothing under your feet but empty air.

This coming April, environmentalist Sacha Dench will spend five weeks piloting her paramotor around the entirety of the British coastline. It’s something that’s never been done before. When she touches down at end of the 3000+ mile flightpath, she’ll be awarded with a new World Record. But Sacha isn’t just a white-knuckle rider who wants her name in the Guinness Book of World Records. She’s known for her conservation work, previously paramotoring across Russia and Europe to help save the Berwick’s swan.

This time, she’s got another big goal: spreading environmental awareness at a crucial time.

Grabbing the world’s attention

This is a big year for international gatherings in our patch of the world. As you’ve likely heard, the G7 will soon be held along the Cornish coastline in St Ives. And in November, the UK will be hosting the UN’s Climate Change Conference (“COP26“). For British climate activists, this second event is a particularly golden opportunity to take their message straight to the world’s most powerful politicians. The team at Conservation without Borders wanted a large-scale event that would be impossible to ignore. Sacha’s flight is their answer.

In terms of awareness, Sacha’s flight has two main aims. From above, she’ll be able to photograph Britain’s varied coastline and document how it’s being affected by ongoing climate change. And from time to time along her route, Sacha will also touch down and explore. (One of her scheduled stops in on Mawgan Porth beach, just below the Scarlet.) While Sacha’s on the ground, she’ll also be meeting people who are working on solutions to our current environmental problems. Her message is a hopeful one: that there are many incredible people who are making a difference, who can inspire us all to step up and make a change.

Two world record attempts

See, there’s a second world record that Sacha is going for. Not only is she going for the first and fastest paramotor flight around Britain, she’s also aiming to secure the most pledges to act on climate change in one month. This is maybe the more important World Record attempt: getting a huge amount of people to individually commit to lowering their carbon footprints.

If she manages it, it will send out a strong message during the climate summit. That we all take climate change very seriously — and that we all understand the need to do something real about it.

How to support her

Sacha will need all of our help to break that second record. When April comes, we’ll be supporting her pledge drive and sharing what exactly you need to do. But if you want to get involved right away, you can contribute to the project’s CrowdFunder. The larger organisation, Conservation Without Borders, is also funded by donations.

We’ll be following her progress as soon as she takes to the sky. Keep your eye on our journal and on our social feeds for updates and possible events.

As part of the Scarlet’s focus on sustainability, we’re proud to say that our eco hotel is actively contributing to this event. If you’d like to join us in supporting this project, please email

Image courtesy Conservation without Borders.


A sustainable Christmas gift edit, curated by the Scarlet


Christmas is a time of thoughtful giving. Slowly searching for the exactlyright present. Thinking hard about what someone might need. Delicately wrapping gifts with care and love. But Christmas gifting can also be a time of thinking about our community and planet. Shopping small, helping local artisans, and supporting sustainably-minded businesses are all good ways to give back with your gifts. Ready for your recycled wrapping paper, here’s a small list of mindful gift recommendations from the Scarlet. Your recipient will be even more moved by your thoughtfulness.

Sustainable versions of Christmas classics

(Because we all need socks sometimes.)

Cups and tableware by Dor and Tan

A true fixture of Christmas giving: the humble mug. We’re particular taken by the local potters at Hayle-based Dor and Tan. Their aim is to go against the mass-market disposability of contemporary consumer goods. Instead, they want to bring beautiful, tactile finishes into more people’s homes and hands. They also use as much green energy as they can, while understanding the importance of making things last. (If you’re feeling especially generous, maybe combine with a fresh roast from sustainable Cornish coffee roasters Yallah.)

Body wash by the Scarlet | 250ml Oula bottles from £12.95

Giving body wash can be a thoughtful gift. Designed in-house by our spa therapists, Oula’s the result of much care and attention. Not only the highest-qualities ingredients, but also the most ethically-sourced. Oula is sustainable, fairly-traded, locally-made — and it smells unlike anything else. If you’ve stayed here, you’ll instantly recognise that rich, nourishing scent of lavender, rosemary and patchouli. No surprise then that we’ve recently had many people recently writing to us asking if we can send bottles their way. Here’s your way of having a little bit of the Scarlet at home. 

Socks by Surfers Against Sewage | £6.00 a pair

Available in both size for men and women, these socks from local environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage are made from 100% bamboo. Not just a comfortable pair of socks, this is also a novel way of supporting crucial environmental work. Cornwall-based Surfers Against Sewage first began as, well… surfers against sewage, a small group of wave riders fed up of heading into Cornwall’s waters and coming back onto land covered in gunk. Since beginning, they haven’t stopped campaigning: they now argue also for better water quality, battle against plastic pollution and greatly help to heighten overall ecological awareness. We think their work is truly important: at the Scarlet, we contribute to SAS’s work through our guest giving scheme.

For the home and garden

(Small, careful objects for the house that respect the planet.)

Wooden designs from Tom Raffield

With great focus on the natural materiality of wood, Tom Raffield designs flowing and twisting light fixtures here in Cornwall. Their manufacturing process isn’t energy-intensive, instead focusing on simple handcraftsmanship and older techniques that eschew harmful chemicals. Naturally, the wood itself is sourced sustainably too. Their designs include not only their famous lights, but also coat hooks, planters and mirrors. P.S. If you’ve eaten at the Scarlet Restaurant, then you know Tom Raffield’s work — our sinuous light fixtures are their own steam bent designs.

Fairly-traded homewares from Nkuku 

Based just across the Tamar in Devon, Nkuku is a homeware company inspired by the skills of artisans across the world. Focused on sustainability, the company supports smaller enterprises through the 10 Principles Of Fair Trade and their own schemes. Nkuku’s carefully-sourced goods have a fine handmade quality, prioritising the use of sustainable materials such as hemp, rattan and jute. We particularly like the atmospheric colours of the Ngolo T-Light, their selection of fair trade jewellery pieces, and these paper journals carefully handmade in India from recycled cotton rags.

Insect and bird-friendly additions from Green&Blue

Along the coast in Perranporth, B Corp-certified Green&Blue create innovative designs that undo years of harmful designs that have ignored the needs of our nonhuman neighbours. The team’s perhaps best known for the Bee Brick, a brick set with a pattern of open oculi that give bees a place to rest (the BeePot incorporates this into a plant pot). Other products include bird feeders and bird baths that are set in incredible modern style.

Stored-away time at the Scarlet

(A quiet eco-hotel to come and be amongst nature.)

Gift vouchers for the Scarlet | From £25

Since opening, the Scarlet’s been a place to try on a way of living more in tune with nature. Large windows that catch the coastal scene, local food that’s grown with care, a spa that’s near to the crashing waves. We carefully minimise our environmental impact and promote sustainable living.

Scarlet gift vouchers