Wild swimming, now WHY the fuck would anyone want to do that ?? ….. Well Wild swimming is aces, that is why ! It takes you to cool places and gives you the adventure to keep you sane…. but and its a big BUT ! You need to be careful and you need to be experienced before you head out into the middle of a big reservoir and drown ! its got commitment and potential danger for sure so stay safe ! Now the public safety warning is over …..
The past few years I’ve been keen on swimming, to be precise wild swimming all the Scottish Border lochs. Now I can’t really remember how it all started back in the day, but Kenny Banana and Mick the fish gradually gathered a small band of slippery stalwarts up at the Barnes loch for regular Wednesday night wild swims … A while later Mick and I made an exploratory swim in Alemoor reservoir and the rest is history…..
Since then we train over the summer out at Alemoor resevoir and reglarly venture forth to swim long and often remote lochs. This years highlights so far being Loch Talla, Loch Skeen and my solo swim up the centre line of the Megget reservoir. I really enjoy the extra ante’ and the zen like state of being on my own swimming, and do it regularly but I do not advocate solo swimming at all! Please just remember exactly where you are and execute sound judgement. I have 30 years of outdoor experience including rescue and medical knowledge yet even with that I think very hard before I commit to it. I may sound like I am getting boring in my old age but seriously, everyone thinks they can swim and way to many people get in trouble because of naivety … this is not swimming , its wild swimming. remember that and treat it appropriately !
The style is important to me and I like to swim from the source, often just a small stream running into one end of the loch, then try to keep a centre line straight up the loch if possible. This way it feels purer, the natural line , the respectful line. Doing it in the best possible style achievable. Its part of how to get that “feeling”, the buzz, …. from a beautiful place no one has been , a situation , a fleeting thought that stays with you … I like to stop and take it in , mentally snapshot the beauty of it , the eery thoughts of what may be beneath .. the feelings I have…. I grab it all because this is truly the essence of life and what I enjoy from it.
One swim in particular certainly deserves a special mention as its one of my favourite places in the Scottish Borders. That is Loch Skeen above the Grey Mares tail waterfall. Where many years ago in my early twenties I walked up and did a circuit of LoughCraig head and White Coombe , the hills rising high above the small mountain loch. I carried my first real compass and a map. Equipment that I didn’t know what to do with and a book that hopefully would show me. FRom that day I somehow figured it all out and many years later I would return as a seasoned climber to ascend a heavily frozen Grey Mares tail . Swimming it was to mean a lot to me and Al Young and I finally got up there. Al was the perfect buddy for it to … get him buzzing on adventure and that Jedi truly feels it ! Loch Skeen Fuck yeah !! 😀 😀
It is not a long swim, nor is it a big loch, but its an adventure in the most atmospheric of places. Al and I hiked up and swam it on a day of heavy rain and staunch winds .. this only added to the amazing experience we had there ! .. as did the huge Gordon Burger back at the pub afterwards… <3
I may do the odd solo swim but as always it is really about friends and experiences shared and over the years I’ve been very lucky to have been able to share in and often be part of the experiences from some of my friends challenges and races. And there have been some beauties over the years. It really makes you appreciate life and floating in the middle of Loch Talla one fine afternoon back in August had Bongo , Deeks and myself , buzzing , talking crazy shit and truly appreciating the existentialism of life many times over … ommmmmmmmmmm 😀
So find out for yourself , Go swim ! ……… safely 😉