FEATURES,  Readers' Swims

The Wild West Swimmers

The Wild West Swimmers had fun and raised money for charity in their inaugural ten loch adventure. By Greg Hincks

On Saturday 2 September

2017, the Wild West

Swimmers, a group of

outdoor swimmers based

in the west of Scotland, held a “Ten

Lochs Challenge”. This inaugural event

involved participants swimming for

20 to 30 minutes in each of 10 lochs

in the heart of Rob Roy country in

the Trossachs region of the Scottish

Highlands. The lochs in order of

swimming were Loch Earn, Loch Voil,

Loch Lubnaig, Loch Venachar, Loch

Drunkie, Loch Achray, Loch Ard, Loch

Chon, Loch Katrine, and finally Loch

Lomond at Inversnaid.


A total of 30 swimmers took part in the

event, which started with them hitting

the 13.8c water of Loch Earn

at 7am, before finishing

with a 6pm dip in Loch

Lomond, with some

swimmers adding

a paddle under the waterfall to

finish. The water

temperature in

the other lochs

varied from 15.1c

in Loch Lubnaig to

a mild 16.5c in Loch

Ard. Swimmers chose

to swim in either skins or

wetsuits, or a combination of

the two. A food break was scheduled

at Loch Lubnaig, and another longer

lunch break at Loch Ard.


Some of the group were attempting a

10 x 10 challenge by swimming one

kilometre in each loch, with a few

achieving this goal in wetsuits. Others

chose to pursue this additional goal in

skins, until the chilly water and long

day made the last few lochs that much

more difficult. Many were happy just

to take a swim in all 10 lochs over the

course of the day.


The logistics were organised in

advance, with a tight schedule sent to

all swimmers who were encouraged to

carpool throughout the day. The total

distance travelled by car from Loch

Earn to Loch Lomond was around 60

miles, on top of the 100 miles return

trip from Glasgow. It must have been

an amazing sight for passing tourists

and hikers, to see 10 cars arrive at a

loch, producing 30 men and women

who immediately entered the water

and swam, only to leave again just as


Weather conditions on the day

were ideal, with mist rising off the still

waters of Loch Earn at the

start, some fog in Loch Voil, and sunshine

breaking through

clouds at most of

the other lochs. We were also

lucky that the

wind did not

start blowing

until we arrived

at Loch Katrine,

making us very

aware that it was

early September in the

Highlands of Scotland. The air

temperature was 6c at Loch Earn when

we started, rising to a very pleasant 20c

by around 3pm at Loch Chon.

10 Lochs Challenge  Loch Drunkie

Quick change!


The day was long, but everyone who

took part agreed that the Ten Lochs

Challenge was a rewarding and fun

experience. It was joyful to see the

beaming smiles on the faces of all

the swimmers, who were having a

ball, while proudly wearing their

commemorative caps, t-shirts and 

hoodies. It was a great achievement

from everyone involved, with funds

also raised for a worthy local charity.

A big thanks to all who took part, all

those who spent time organising the

logistics, and those who provided the

food at our lunch break.

Members of the Wild West

Swimmers regularly travel from

Glasgow, Stirling, Troon, Helensburgh

and further afield to swim together

in the fresh and pristine waters of

Scotland. They are fortunate to swim

year-round in the incredibly beautiful

lochs, rivers and seas of Scotland, and

are always welcoming of swimmers

from other parts of the UK and the


Now, what will we do for our big

adventure next summer?

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.