Scottish Swimmer

Happy new year! Some wild swimming goals for 2019

So I suppose today’s the day I should get some New Year Resolutions written down … less cheese, more greens; less booze, more exercise; blah blah blah.

I’m also resolved to get a few more great swims in this year. While 2018 was fine enough – plenty of swims at Portobello but little to shout about on the distance front – I’m hoping the year ahead will be better both in geographical spread and miles chomped.

The first sea mile of the season is always a decent milestone. After a long and bitter winter last year, I didn’t get this nailed until May, when I did a couple of lengths of the shore at Portobello. This year, I’m hoping to cross it off a little bit earlier, though with the water currently hovering at around 5C-6C it could be a wee while until I can even get the half-mile done.

Swim weekly. Sure there’ll be weeks off, but if on average I can notch up 52 swims in the next 12 months then I’ll be pretty happy. After this morning’s Wardie Dook I’ve only another 51 to go.

Hit some big distances. I find crunching lengths in a pool mind-numbingly tedious so I’ve got to find a strategy to find my ‘zone’ in order to keep plodding on for more than a couple of hours.

Outside, I’d love to get a 5k or longer done – a 10k is definitely on the horizon. I’m not entirely sure, but the furthest I’ve swum is about 2 miles, or 3.2km. This was the Cumbrae-Largs swim which I’ve done a couple of times now, and loops of Clairinch Island in Loch Lomond from Balmaha, each time with my pals in the BAWS swimming club. While these were all hugely enjoyable swims, I do want to nail some longer swims. A loop of Inchcailloch island, perhaps also taking in a fly-by of the aforementioned Clairinch, has long been on my hit list for a classic 5k. I’ve an eye to some epic swims in 2020 or after, and in order to have a realistic shot at these I really do have to get better at completing these longer swims.

The one-mile-plus crossing from Mull to Iona is a brilliant swim. I didn’t do it last year, for no real reason that I can recall, but I look forward to giving it a shot with my wife when we visit in the summer. It’s one of my all-time favourite swims.

I’ve been teaching swimming for almost a year now, all in doors and all but a few to kids. On a few occasions I’ve given a bit of informal coaching outdoors. I’d love to do more of that, while also encouraging more friends into the water.

Harris. I’ve a quarter share in a cask of Harris whisky and I’d love to visit it the distillery later this summer while also taking in a few swims at the Hebridean island’s beaches. Luskentyre is the obvious one, but I’ve also read good things about Huisinish and Borve. For the same reason, Sanna beach along the road from Ardnamurchan Distillery is on my list (though I think both in the same year is unlikely).

We’ve a holiday planned for up in Argyll, so some swimming in Loch Etive by Taynuilt is a definite. I’ve always fancied a go at the River Etive too, so maybe I can find a way of fitting that in somehow.

Closer to home, Loch Lubnaig, Loch Katrine and Loch Venachar. All places I’ve swum, sailed or rowed in when I was growing up, but it would be grand to return to these childhood haunts. Loch Lubnaig, now a popular outdoor swimming venue, is top of the list after a few frustrating drives past last year and missing the opportunity for a dip. Wouldn’t mind a return visit to the Scout Pool in Callander, too. Loch Ard is always great fun.

Up in the Pentlands, Torduff appeals. And because of my pal Tina, another longer swim at Aberdour is a must.

South of the Border, I’d love to return to the Lake District. I almost made it to Ullswater and Derwent Water last year but a spate of algae blooms had other plans. And I’d like to also try either the Serpentine or Hampstead Heath pond in London if I can squeeze a wee weekend in.

Overseas, I’d love to return to Croatia, though realistically not on the cards for 2019. I thought the water there was magical, but I also fancy a weekend in the Swiss or Italian lakes. Somewhere where the water’s warm enough for a long, long swim, but there’s nothing too bitey!

But most of all, I’m looking forward to getting some great swims in with some old friends as well as making some new ones, and most of all helping my better half accomplish a few of her own swimming resolutions.

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