By the Monadh Ruadh, The Cairngorms, sits a beautiful lochan. Protected by a steep scree slope on one side, surrounded by ancient forests, a tempting oasis beckons. The water appears a deep green – the brilliance of which is intensified when sun hits the surface. An Lochan Uaine – The Green Lochan.
The team from the outdoor magazine show Landward on BBC Scotland had got in touch after seeing online video series Wild Swimming In Scotland on BBC The Social.
I didn’t need to be asked twice! The brave presenter taking on the challenge with me was Sarah Mack. We agreed on Lochan Uaine as a location, as it was stunning, and could be accessed easily (this is TV after all!). Ideally I would have chosen a more obscure and remote spot, but with a crew and presenter on hand, an hour walk into the hills would’ve been frowned upon.
Sarah seemed slightly apprehensive about the swim but I wasn’t buying it.
“Wetsuits or not?”
The perennial question in Scotland! With cameras there and the water temperature still around the “aye, alright” mark it was decided to go skins, I couldn’t lose face. Though I do swim all year round, I definitely have to use the wetsuit still during winter for anything more than a dip. As it was still September, the water rather nice, and very refreshing. The Lochan Uaine is roughly a mile from the road, and with a popular walking path leading by it, we certainly attracted a crowd of interested punters.
Sarah and I took the plunge. After a short conversation about how I started swimming and my online videos, we had a nice swim. In fact we had two. In order to cover all the filming angles, we went back in. Sun broke through clouds, the water shone a bright green. Tourists lined up to stare. A beautiful location, and though the wind whipped up the glen, the water was fairly calm, and welcoming.
After the dip, a chance to have the outdoors swimmer’s required nutritional intake: a piece of cake, a cup of tea.
After broadcast a few different people have mentioned that the Lochan is full of leeches, and that they’d not swim there! I can honestly say I’ve never seen on there and anyway, we swimmers are a hardy breed, if the cold water hasn’t put you off, why would a small leech!