UPDATE 1 AUGUST 2020 AND MORE SWIM DETAILS FROM SEPTEMBER HERE
Original review below but as visit was mostly huddled in a car waiting for the rain to stop I thought it best to add a couple of comments after returning a few more times.
- Entry shown below is good but you can also enter from south side of loch as there’s parking at a gate here.
- The loch is in a ‘bowl’ so provides some shelter from strong winds but, as it’s at the top of a hill, and the wind farm next to it is a clue, the water can be choppy. On the plus side, if you’re swimming with the wind then you’ll now what it’s like to swim as fast as Michael Phelps.
- As the loch is next to the road and one of the most popular cycle routes from the Southside be prepared to ‘flash’ a few cyclists as you get changed.
- Loch feels very safe, it’s compact, not as ominously deed as one of the larger lochs to the north of Glasgow and a good place to learn open water swimming.
- And, as always, don’t swim near the barrier and don’t swim alone!
I’ve never been to Egypt but I know that if I go to Cairo then there will be pyramids everywhere. And a sphinx. But mostly pyramids because when I look at photos of Egypt that’s all I see: pointy buildings nestled in golden sands.
But if I did go to Cairo I know that what I would actually see are the MacDonald restaurants, KFC and tourist tat shops that surround the small handful of pyramids that look like they’ve been plonked in the middle of dirty quarry. The reality is very different from the image. Just like wild swimming.
Wild swimming can look fantastic when viewed on Instagram or on Facebook posts of happy smiling swimmers in beautiful locations around Scotland . The reality can be very different – as we found out on Saturday.
We were trying a new loch – the White Loch, just outside Newton Mearns and on the way to Stewarton. I’d passed it a couple of days previously and saw people swimming in it. I’d shouted over:
“Is it good to swim here?”
Yes, they said, but they jokingly added that “You can only swim here if you know us!”
“Well, I do now” I said!
So, with my membership of the secret White Loch swim club confirmed we returned on Saturday only to find…
RAIN! RAIN! RAIN! AND RAIN!
After huddling under the open boot of my car while trying to get changed, I sheltered in Iain TwinBikeRun’s car while we waited for the rain to pass. Which might seem strange? Why wait for rain to pass when going for a swim? We were getting wet anyway, dodging rain wouldn’t make us any less wet than a deep water loch. But I didn’t want to be wet when I tried to dry off and get changed afterwards. There’s no point driving home cold and wet. So, we waited for a clear patch.
After 20 minutes, we had 10 minutes of sunshine – the photo above shows the blue sky – and we had a very quick dip and a promise to return to try it out more fully as the car park is beside the entrance, the loch has a shallow entrance and a nice beds of flat reeds to protect your feet from rocks as you enter. Almost perfect. Except for the rain.
So, while the top photo may show sunshine like an Egyptian desert, the reality was that this swim was a bust and more time was spent struggling at the side of the road to get changed into and then out of a wet suit then actually swimming in the loch.
Google maps: Location
There’s a couple of parking spaces on the road beside the loch.
Around 14 degrees on Saturday. Choppy with strong winds but it looked like this would be a great spot if the weather is good.