Stonehaven's iconic open air swimming pool will has reopened for the first time since the 2019 season.
Covid-19 prevented the pool from opening last year, but the Friends of Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool, a group of local volunteers, has worked hard alongside operators Live Life Aberdeenshire to reopen in 2021.
Customers can book one-hour slots online or by telephone, with a number of other measures in place at the pool to keep swimmers and staff safe.
There will be a blend of lane swimming, family areas and even Aqua Zumba and as Covid-19 restrictions are eased it is hoped to be able to return to a more usual format for the high season, perhaps even including the popular midnight swims.
The Friends have been working on improvements to the pool since March 2020 despite major challenges posed by lockdowns and have carried out significant maintenance, painting, landscaping, and cleaning, totalling more than 1400 hours of work.
The disabled changing room and toilets in the changing rooms have also been upgraded.
The Friends also committed £50,000 to the replacement of the pool's slide, always a popular feature with visitors.
The Olympic-sized pool was last open during the 2019 season when it welcomed over 34,000 visitors through the doors.
Its heated, clean sea water means the pool is warm even when the weather is not, and generations of swimmers have enjoyed summertime trips there.
The pool’s Splash Café will also be open for business with social distancing measures in place.
Friends Chairman Pete Hill is excited to be welcoming customers back through the doors for the pool’s 87th season.
"It's almost too difficult to express in words what it means to be reopening without getting tearful," he said.
"The Pool is at the heart of the Stonehaven community and vital to the town. Not only is it a source of pleasure to the townspeople but also it acts as a magnet bringing visitors from far and even further afield who help buoy up the local economy.
"We all missed the pool last year, I lost count of the number of times I would see both adults and kids looking longingly through the gate on the South Wall into the desolate pool area. This year it will be different - we're not out of the woods yet and things will be different but we're on our way back!"
Head of Live Life Aberdeenshire, Avril Nicol, said: "We were all disappointed not to be able to open the pool last year, but that was the right thing to do in terms of the safety of staff, customers and the community.
“We have worked hard with the support of the Friends to be able to open in 2021 and we hope that all those people who we know have missed the chance to visit Stonehaven and swim outdoors will appreciate the opportunity all the more.
“Generations of locals and visitors to the town have fantastic memories of trips to the pool
and we hope this season will be a great success, providing many more happy experiences and memories. I hope the pool opening can bring some extra sunshine into people’s lives as our communities begin to recover from the pandemic.”
For further information including opening times and prices, see the Stonehaven Open Air Pool website: Stonehaven Open Air Pool
You can book your slot at the pool up to six days in advance at: Sports Booking
Alternatively, call Live Life Aberdeenshire’s customer helpline on (01467) 532929.
You can also follow Live Life Aberdeenshire and Stonehaven Heated Open Air Pool on Facebook for the latest updates.