Swims in lakes and lochs.

Loch Earn

This is a really easy swim to organise and it’s well worthwhile as the surroundings are fantastic. You can hire a reasonably sized solid rowing boat with outboard engine from the Drummond Estates Boat Hire for the day. They are based half a mile up the loch on the northern side so if you start and finish there the total distance is around 12 miles. If you are thinking of doing the English Channel or a swim of a similar distance then this would be a really good training swim. The water can get quite choppy when the wind blows up which is great practice for a longer sea swim. For a shorter version you could swim up to the end and come back in the boat which would make the total distance approximately 6 miles. It’s also a very pleasant day out for your helpers as just being out on the loch surrounded by the mountains is exhilarating in itself.

Lake Windermere

This is another scenic swim that is easy to organise. Quite a few people have done this swim and in fact the BLDSA organise swims here every year in August. I started from Ambleside at the northern end and had two friends accompany me in an Indian style canoe. If you don’t have your own boat there are numerous places that hire out kayaks and rowing boats for the day. As a courtesy we informed the lake warden of our intentions and they actually appeared halfway through the swim in a small launch to check everything was alright. There is a very comfortable youth hostel right on the water’s edge at Ambleside but bear in mind that you may want to be flexible with the direction you swim (depending on the weather forecast) and may prefer to stay closer to Fellfoot at the southern end. Navigation on the lake should be simple with a decent map and the only place you may need to make an adjustment is at Boness where you will need to fit in with the small ferry that goes back and forth across the lake.

Lake Zurich (Zurichsee-Schwimmen)

Starting in Rapperswil and finishing in Zurich, this is a longer swim than the others (26.4k). It is very well organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team (taking place at the end of July or early August each year) but you will need to book up quite a bit in advance as the number of accompanying boats are limited. Again the scenery is fantastic and with water temperatures in the low 20s there should be no problems with the cold!

Loch Tay

From the edge of the loch at Killin down to the bridge at Kenmore is 14 miles.   Another fantastic swim through great scenery but certainly quite a challenge.  When I did it the water temperature was barely above 12 degrees due to the heavy rainfall in the previous weeks and the lack of sunshine.   The wind can pick up quite quickly from the west creating quite a swell behind you, which ultimately helps push you down towards Kenmore but also makes it quite hard to build up a regular swimming rhythm rather like swimming in to a beach with the surf breaking over you.  Read the full account here.

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