Outdoor Swim Review – Loch Ard Revisited 2021 (Andrew)

You can ready my original reports here: Loch Ard and Loch Ard-er

On Monday, someone had used white chalk to write the following message on a nearby pavement: “Ally, I love you, please call me!”. It was surrounded by love hearts.

By Friday, the message was changed to: “Ally, you are a GIMP!”

The path of true love does not run smooth, even if you use an actual path to declare your love…

This message was the only thing that changed this week as Glasgow remained in Tier 3 COVID restrictions for another week, month and year. We’ve now been locked down so long that, if we were in prison, we’d have been eligible for release on compassionate grounds.

I must admit, despite trying to follow the rules, that I’m not quite sure what the current rules actually are. I live in a postcode that borders the highest rate but also borders one of the lowest, an area which is in Tier 2. If you turn right at the end of my street the pubs are open, if you turn left the pubs have been turned into an emergency COVID vaccination centre to halt the spread of the virus. It’s all quite confusing.

So, this report is brought to you with the slight caveat that I’m not sure if I was or wasn’t breaking the lockdown rules by swimming in Loch Ard last week. Certainly Kinlochard, the village at the end of Loch Ard, was giving very strong ‘Haste Ye Back’ vibes with every parking space displaying a “Do Not Park Here” sign and the local community hall car park closed.

Instead, I parked in the same spot as last time and would point out that there’s only space here for four cars so you may want to come here early to make sure you have a spot. I was there for 9am and there was one other car parked.

The loch itself has warmed up nicely and was around 12 degrees. Depending on your cold water reaction it was either starting to turn cold but pleasant or still on the chilly side. I wore a vest underneath my wetsuit and was fine without gloves or boots. At the end I tried swimming without a wetsuit and it was okay…ish…

For the swim, I swam to one of the islands and back, a swim of around a mile, if you can swim in a staightline. My goggles kept steaming up so I was more crooked than Al Capone and veered to the left as I swam.

Be careful of the water becoming colder the further you swim out. While the water is shallow near the bank it quickly becomes deeper and colder the further out you are. I wouldn’t try this swim unless you were confident that you can swim 2km.

Overall: a fantastic setting for a swim with plenty of options for short or longer routes. The water should only get warmer as we get into summer. Just remember though to check the COVID restrictions.

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