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The hillswimmer. In search of a winter swimming paradise

The hillswimmer. In search of a winter swimming paradise


Postby ere1 » Sat May 23, 2020 6:47 pm

Date walked: 24/02/2020

Distance: 91 km

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Recently, I have only posted few reports on the Walkhighlands forum. There are so many spectacular and beautiful reports of other members. In comparison to those, my reports do not seem very exciting. However, this Corona pandemic has made me change my view on this point. At the moment, it is uncertain for how long this situation will continue. Neither do we know when we will be able to revisit the mountains. To quench the Highlandthirst, I now use this amazing website every day. It makes me incredibly happy to read all the reports. Perhaps, it could brighten the day of other members, if I upload a short impression of my journey to the Westhighlands. I made this trip last February. This was for now my last winter trip. By uploading this short impression, I hope that the pictures will bring back old memories, of places which you might have visited too.

24/02/2020: Kilchurn Castle (Loch Awe)

Multiple weeks in advance of the trip to Scotland, I was already keeping track of the weather forecasts. Unfortunately, the weather did not seem very promising. The forecasts predicted lots of rainfall, strong winds and poor visibility. Considering the weather and the danger of climbing the Munros in these circumstances, why not turn my trip into a swimming holiday? On the first cloudy and stormy day, it would not have been possible to climb any mountain, in any safe circumstance. I therefore decided to visit Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle.

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25/02/2020: Beinn a'Chochuill (Loch Awe)

Tuesday was the only day on which it seemed somewhat responsible to walk to the summit of a Munro. It was an exhausting hike with stormy winds. After arriving at the top, my efforts were rewarded with a beautiful, wintery scenery.

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26/02/2020: Halfway Lochan (Ben Nevis)

On Wednesday, I left Oban and took the bus, to eventually arrive at the beautiful Loch Linnie in Fort William. During the bus journey, it was raining constantly. The weather cleared up and according to the weather forecast, I had about three hours before the next storm would arrive in Lochaber. This was just enough to walk in the direction towards Halway Lochan on Ben Nevis. My intention was to create and ice hole and to take an ice bath. However, the ice was too thick and my ice axe too light in its weight. That idea therefore had to be cancelled. Despite this, I was still able to enjoy a beautiful walk. I was accompanied by two ravens who helped me to consume all the food that I had brought along with me.

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27/02/2020: Port na Murrach near Arisaig

The weather forecast for Wednesday predicted rain, snow, strong winds, as well as a bright sun. This remained the same for Thursday. According to the Met Office, the area of Arisaig had the best weather predictions. I decided to visit Port Murrach. This is a hidden pearl of the west coast. The road to this swimming paradise was an unforgettable experience on its own. The Sgurr of Eigg and the with snow covered tops of the Skye and the Rum Cuillin, as well as Blaven were visible. I had the beach all to myself. After the swim, I was able enjoy the sun.

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28/02/2020: Loch Ossian (Corrour)

Friday promised to be a cold, wintery day with a lot of snow and low temperatures. I decided to return to Corrour. I have been there often, it however never fails to bore me. It was comfortably busy in the youth hostel. When I asked if I was allowed to swim in Loch Ossian, I immediately managed to attract a lot of attention and to receive an applause afterwards.

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29/02/2020: Allt Leachdach (Grey Corries)

On Saturday, when I drove in the bus to Spean Bridge, there was still considerable rainfall. However, upon arrival, I was able to enjoy a few hours of sun. After a short break at the ‘Wee Minister’, I walked in the direction of Stob Coire Ghaibre. Once I arrived at the ridge, I intended to consider whether it would by sensible to continue my walk to the Grey Corries range. This soon appeared not to be the case. From the south-west, the first stormy clouds became visible. Realising this would only be the beginning, I quickly walked back to the starting point. This gave me enough time to dip into the Allt Leachdach. This has a small pool, right under a bridge.

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01/03/2020 Morar Bay

Even on the final day, there was no chance that I would be able to climb any Munros. The weather in Lochaber was rubbish. I therefore decided to take the gorgeous Westhighland Line to Morar. In the abandoned area, I once again had the entire bay to myself. In the empty station and the practically empty train, I had plenty of time to reflect on this great week.

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Last edited by ere1 on Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ere1
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Posts: 224
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Re: The hillswimmer. In search of a winter swimming paradise

Postby kenncunn » Sat May 23, 2020 8:35 pm

That water must have been cold
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Re: The hillswimmer. In search of a winter swimming paradise

Postby Sgurr » Sun May 24, 2020 11:26 am

Opened this hoping you might be the guy we met in Bendronaig Bothy once who had completed the Munros and whose next project was to swim all the mountain lochans. We thought there must be many thousand, some merely puddles, but he reassured us that they had to be named on the O/S. However, we felt we hadn't crossed questioned him enough as we weren't sure where mountain lochans started and ordinary lochans began, nor did we ask what counted as "swimming". Immersing yourself? Swimming round? Swimming across? Nor did we ask him how many there were. However, your report makes up for my disappointment. What a novel (and cold) way to redefine your objectives.And nice pics.
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Re: The hillswimmer. In search of a winter swimming paradise

Postby ere1 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:39 pm

kenncunn wrote:That water must have been cold


The colder, the better! However, do not try it at home! :lol:
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ere1
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Posts: 224
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Re: The hillswimmer. In search of a winter swimming paradise

Postby ere1 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:03 pm

Sgurr wrote:Opened this hoping you might be the guy we met in Bendronaig Bothy once who had completed the Munros and whose next project was to swim all the mountain lochans. We thought there must be many thousand, some merely puddles, but he reassured us that they had to be named on the O/S. However, we felt we hadn't crossed questioned him enough as we weren't sure where mountain lochans started and ordinary lochans began, nor did we ask what counted as "swimming". Immersing yourself? Swimming round? Swimming across? Nor did we ask him how many there were. However, your report makes up for my disappointment. What a novel (and cold) way to redefine your objectives.And nice pics.


To me, it sounds like an ambitious plan. If this guy has ten lives, then it might be possible. :lol: There is a huge amount of mountain lochs and lochans in the Highlands. Furthermore are not all of these actually deep enough to swim in. Sometimes it is only deep enough to dip in it. Even this might not always be possible. An example of this is Loch Fionna-Coire on Blaven.

Loch Fionna-Coire (Blaven) 1.jpg
Loch Fionna-coire (Blaven) 2.jpg


Whenever I am in Scotland, I will go into the water where this is possible and safe. In the sea:

Camusdarach Beach (Morar)

Camusdarach Beach 1.jpg
Camusdarach Beach 2.jpg
Camusdarach Beach 3.jpg


Ganavan Sands (Oban)

Ganavan Sands (Oban) 1.JPG
Ganavan Sands (Oban) 2.jpg


In lochs:

Loch Lochy (Clunes)

Loch Lochy 1.jpg
Loch Lochy 2.jpg
Loch Lochy 3.jpg


In mountain rivers:

Allt Dearg Mor (Sligachan)

Allt Dearg Mor (Sligachan) 1.JPG
Allt Dearg Mor (Sligachan) 2.JPG
Allt Dearg Mor (Sligachan) 3.JPG


Water of Nevis (Fort William)

Water of Nevis 1.jpg
Water of Nevis 2.jpg


I do this purely for fun. I do not participate in any competitions. Neither do I track my swimming pace, or follow the Dutch iceman Wim Hof. In relation to equipment, no hightech wetsuits, or swimming equipment for me. I like to wear basic swimming trunks and possibly a beanie if there are strong winds. Finally, two things that I always bring with me are tea in a thermos flask and chocolate.

Greetings from my Dutch swimming paradise

De Put (Rijswijk)

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ere1
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Re: The hillswimmer. In search of a winter swimming paradise

Postby Sgurr » Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:13 pm

Some lovely colours, especially from the Scottish beaches. I sometimes go and take photos of the local swimming group, or of the students' May Day dip in former years, but am too worried about the headlines to have a go myself ( Granny(81) Freezes Self to Death

May Day 2019

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Location: Fife

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