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Love of Loch Swimming

Weekly swims in Loch Lubnaig have become a part of my training for Ironman 70.3 next year. Lubnaig is from the Gaelic word for crooked and it was certainly a crooked path I weaved across the Loch on my first attempt at proper open water swimming!

Open water swimming is very different to pool swimming with the cold water (often below 16 degrees Celsius) changing your physiology and psychology in ways you wouldn’t expect. I always swim with others and with a tow float for this reason. However the exhilaration when you climb out and get dry and warm is like no other.

Before we had swimming pools, everyone swam outside. After generations of swimming up and down lane ropes like organised fish in a tank have we lost the joy and freedom of swimming in nature? When you swim in the wild you need to respect it. I certainly have a healthy respect for Lubnaig; this magical body of water shrouded in mystery on still Scottish mornings and a dark beauty on a crisp, moonlit night.

In order to stay on your course, picking an obvious landmark and sighting it often enough is a must. It’s very easy to get disorientated. When I stop mid-loch to take in the views and consider the deep beneath me, it doesn’t scare me but rather comforts me. The unlimited nature of the great outdoors seems to shrink the fears of this year. Being out in the wild is what I need, I don’t want to be contained by straight lines. The crooked path seems more beautiful to me.

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