Outdoor Swim Review: Loch Ard (Iain)

Route map for Loch Ard by Iain Todd on plotaroute.com

Loch Ard is the most common answer I hear when I ask the question “Where is your favorite place to swim?”

Which is due to:

a) Most people I ask live around Glasgow and can easily get to Loch Ard; and

b) it’s a great place to swim.

The loch is referred to in Wikipedia as “one of the smallest lochs in Scotland” which does not sound correct to me as its not even the smallest loch near Aberfoyle: Loch Chon and Loch Achray are smaller than Loch Ard.

In fact I can prove it’s not the smallest. This week I discovered a website that lists everything you ever want to know about a loch but are too afraid to ask.

https://maps.nls.uk/bathymetric/loch_order.html is a bathymetrical survey of the fresh-water lochs of Scotland, 1897-1909. Batymetic means the measurement of the depths of the sea.

It is basically depth maps of lochs and a link to a loch guide. The guide is a very dry read. It makes the brexit trade negotiation documents seem like a barrel of laughs.

What’s interesting is seeing where lochs are shallow and where they are deep. It answers the question: why did I get cold in that bit of the loch but not this other part?

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Park at Kinlochard village hall. The start of the swim is beside the jetty.

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water quality is clear and perfect for swimming. The loch is sheltered so the water is usually very calm.

Swim Quality:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Excellent. There is a 2KM loop around an island or you can just potter about and admire the views of the hills and trees.

Other People:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Very busy! There are also boats occasionally on the loch.

Would I go back: Yes although its not a very wild place to swim. Good for beginners and people who like having other folk near by.

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