Scottish open water swimming events in 2017

Open water swimming is a healthy and fun way to exercise.

A view of the Holy Isle on the east coast of Arran. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/ TSPL
A view of the Holy Isle on the east coast of Arran. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/ TSPL

Blessed with beautiful lochs and idyllic beaches, swimming outdoors in Scotland is a wonderful experience.

Throughout 2017, a number of open water swimming events will be taking place across Scotland which can give you the chance to enjoy the country’s finest scenery and take part in a truly exhilarating sport.

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Vigour Events and the Arran Triathlon Club will be co-hosting this year’s Island 2 Island Swim. The swim will begin on the Isle of Arran, and you then swim across to the Holy Isle and back again. The total distance of the swim in 3.8 km. This event is just the beginning of an entire weekend festival held by the Arran Triathlon Club, which will include Full and Half Iron Man Triathlons, as well as a music and dance event.

Doubly beautiful by night, the Bardowie Loch is the perfect spot to indulge in a bit of after-dark swimming. On 10th June, you have the choice of a 500 metres, 750 metres and 1 km swim across the loch. In order to remain visible in the dark, participants are required to have a See Swim or a Vigour Visibility Bag with a light in the side, which can be purchased at registration.

With Milngavie’s Bardowie Castle overlooking the scene, you can enjoy a bracing swim in the loch in this early summer event. Bardowie Loch is very sheltered, and the loch-side Sailing Club building has full changing and toilet facilities. The two distances that will be swum are 1 km and 2 km, as well as a circumference swim, which is 2 km, or twice round, which is 4 km.

The 2016 Pilmuir Aquathlon was a hit, so this year it is back again. The location is Pilmuir Quarry, which has beautifully clear waters and is also very sheltered. The surrounding area is very picturesque, so even your arrival at the event will be enjoyable.

For those who want a challenge, this festival is a great chance to show off your skills. The first swim is 5.8 km along the length of the loch. Following that, there will be 1, 2 and 3 km swims in the afternoon. Loch Lubnaig is nestled in between Ben Ledi and Ben Vorlich, and its name in Gaelic means “crooked”.

For the past two years, this competition has taken place in Loch Venachar amidst the gorgeous scenery of the Trossachs. The base of operations for the championships is the Loch Venachar Sailing Club, and the whole event takes place over two days. There will be a 2 km and a 5 km event, as well as a 4 x 500 metre relay event. In addition, there is a 10 km open swim to test the endurance of the participants.

This event is a brilliant chance for a novice swimmer to test the waters, as well as a great event for experienced swimmers. From the shores of Loch Leven, the sea loch is an idyllic place for a swim, and there are a variety of events to choose from depending on level of ability. The Leven Dip is a safe place to try out open water swimming for the first time, while the 500 metre, 1.5 km, 3 km and 5 km swims are great fun for old hands.

You can sign up for this event on your own, or in a team, and have a fantastic day at Loch Lubnaig with fellow swimming and running enthusiasts. The swim will take place in the loch, and the run will be off road in the forest surrounding the loch. You will be able to appreciate the magnificent landscape from all angles.

Swimmers of all abilities will be able to find a swim for them at this inclusive event. There will be a swims of 1 mile, 2 miles, 5 km and 10 km. The swim will take place at Loch Lomond, a stunning location with all sorts of outdoor activities on offer. At 24.5 miles long, Loch Lomond has the largest surface area of any inland body of water in Britain.

Beginninh at South Queensferry, this swim will help you appreciate the Forth Rail Bridge from a whole new perspective. The swim will leave from Hawes pier, and finish at North Queensferry. The total distance of the swim is 1.4 miles.

This event is completely new this year, and will take place at Loch Earn in the central Highlands. Loch Earn is a freshwater loch in the districts of Perth and Kinross, and Stirling. The whole swim is 10 km, meaning that previous experience is necessary.

Another new event, the Two Way Loch Lomond Crossing will begin at Luss, and finish at Sallochy Bay. Each crossing is 3.1 km, bringing the entire swim to a total of 6.2 km.