Located 9 miles (15 km) north of Moffat, the Fruid is a substantial reservoir lying on the course of the Fruid Water in the Scottish Borders. It opened in 1968 to supplement the Talla Reservoir , via a large subterranean aquapipe , it’s located 2 miles (3 km) to the northeast, in supplying Edinburgh with drinking water. It is operated by Scottish Water and covers an area of 139.6 ha (344 acres).
The past year has been a busy one! With most of my spare time spent training to become a rebreather “pilot”. Its taken a huge number of hours of underwater training. And many many more with my head in a book studying gas laws, dive planning, physics , biology and loads more. It’s a tough sport on the technical end , where your education is wide and in-depth and your skills must be practiced not to the point of being able to do them, but to the point of being unable to do them WRONG ! It’s a sport where death is only a minute away at any time so there are no shortcuts to being proficient enough to see in your old age.
However I did manage to squeeze in enough wild swimming to complete a swim on the last of my Scottish Borders big four, the Fruid ! It had eluded me last year because of a road closure but it still simmered away in the back of my mind. A few long swims with the lads on Alemoor and a few longer ones on my own and I was confident in my ability to solo swim it’s length. So on the last day of my summer holiday I grabbed my wetsuit and headed to the Fruid.
It has a strange “Logans Run” type moderno building as it’s control centre , it certainly adds to the surreal feeling of this remote reservoir , kind of like the place Quatermass might hole up in an alien invasion but hey ho …. I was there to swim 😀
In my usual form I started from the tributary leading in and swam a centre line to the Dam. It’s not the longest of the four , neither the widest but it had a foreboding feel to it as the sides seemed to disappear into a bottomless black … solo swimming doesn’t normally bother me and I regularly dive solo under the North Sea but today I had a slight dose of the willies 😀
However my nerves stood the test and I swam purposefully to the dam at a steady pace , but the last few hundred metres had a strange current, my head started to imagine me being sucked into the big tunnel that feeds the talla … not something I would relish but not really a danger, all the same I swam hard for the dam wall and climbed out …. I was glad to be out of the strange current, maybe I’m getting old and more cautious but the head game was strong on this one. Subsequently a few weeks later hot on my heels, the Lauder eel Jim Finlay swam it and reported the same undercurrents so be careful in there.
Note: Learn your craft , understand water , reservoirs and your own limits … Everyone knows how to swim but now you must learn to wild swim ? Stay safe !