The Ice Swim That Went Viral

Swimmer Norman Todd on the ice swim that caught the world's attention

Steven Gourlay
I am in training do swim the 27 mile North Minch this summer between the Isle of Lewis and the mainland. As part of the training I have been acclimatising myself to cold water. Fortunately as I live in the we Highlands we have abundance of fresh water lochs which ice over quite nicely in the Winter. My friend the photographer Steven Gourlay decided to film an ice swim and share it on social media. The loch we originally planned was too thick with ice to access so we went to Loch Glascarnoch which was 15 miles from my home in Ullapool. The area has had the biggest snowfall in 8 years and there was a window in the weather where the sun came out and there was not a breath of wind. I went in and broke the ice with my hands , cutting myself in the process. The water was cold however the air temperature was -8 but I managed a 10 minute swim in the area that I broke. Steven recorded it on his drone from many angles however he needed me to go back in to capture some more shots and coming out the second time from the water was a bit chiller!
Steven Gourlay
After a shower, lots of hot drinks and a warm up I went round to visit Steven at his studio. the 4k images he took were just stunning and I then new that he had captured something special. The landscape looked pristine with its’ heavy white coat and this back drop along with Steven’s artistic eye captured some very unique footage. It went out on Social media that night and within 48 hours it had gone globally viral with millions across the world viewing. It was in the Scottish TV new and newspapers and I did an interview with BBC World News which was seen by a 50 million audience. I have been contacted by so many people from all over the world and friends who I lost contact with years ago have since got in touch.
I am not the only person to do this but the conditions that we had and Steve’s photographic skills created an mage which has been shared across the globe. I am fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful and unspoilt places in Europe where I have access to clean and clear waters in the coastline lochs or in the fresh water lochs that are in the mountains. I hope this short film encourages other to come and visit and join me for a swim!

Watch the film:



Norman Todd
Steven Gourlay