Highland Open Water Swim events 2017
Open water swimming must be one of the fastest growing sports in Scotland. And it’s easy to understand why thanks to Scotland’s stunning open water locations and the outdoor access code that allows people to swim in a huge variety of places.
Open water swimmers reveal that they love the freedom that their sport gives them to enjoy being amid the beautiful Scottish landscape.
Simon Willis, a keen open water swimmer on Scotland’s west coast, adds his thoughts. He says: “To me, there are a number of different reasons for enjoying the sport, including anticipation. Everyone should be nervous before venturing into the sea or a large loch.
“Then there’s the exhilaration of travelling through a spectacular landscape with all the beauty and exploration of a great hill walk or cycle ride packed into one hour of chilly effort.
“And, yes, it is cold but that helps to give a sense of achievement, as the blood courses around the body and you look back at the crossing you made and think, ‘I did that.’”
Swimming in the Highlands
A number of open water swimming groups have sprung up across the Scottish Highlands, helped to some extent by six charity swims run last year by Highland Open Water Swims.
In 2017, the organisers are focusing on three events. The swims are free to register – and offer safety support – but they are asking for a donation to Children with Cancer charity when entrants register at Highland Open Water Swim.
When: Sunday March 19, 2017
This is a swim to get the blood pumping before, during and after.
The event starts with a short sharp shock, swimming across a tidal narrows. Slower swimmers may have to cover a greater distance if they’re caught by the building tide, but there’s a large beach on the Ardgour side to clamber on to, as well as safety boats and kayaks.
When: Saturday April 22
Swimmers are ferried across the loch before they swim back to Resipole campsite. The challenge is to relax into the rhythm of the stroke and let it become meditative, while sighting on Ben Resipole to stay on course.
Because people might want to make a weekend of it, the organisers are considering a second swim on the Saturday for the particularly hardy folk and a shorter, family friendly swim in the sea at Ardtoe Bay on the Sunday.
Please email the organisers if there is interest in these extra events.
Sound of Mull
When: Saturday May 6
This is the big one and includes an open water crossing of a busy shipping corridor.
From Lochaline, swimmers catch the CalMac ferry to Fishnish before swimming back to the Lochaline shore from where a boat will ferry them back to the start.
Last year, some triathletes used this as training for the Celtman! and Ironman events, because although it’s shorter, the waves, wind and tide combine to make this a serious undertaking.
If you’ve completed both of the other swims you’ll have a clear idea about whether you want to attempt this one.