Outdoor Swim Review – Loch Awe (Andrew)

If you want to know Scotland’s most popular lay-by (excluding any featured in late night Channel 5 documentaries) then the lay-by next to Ben Cruachan in Argull must be among the leading contenders for the top stop.

Ben Cruachan is the highest mountain in Argyll. From the top, on a clear day you can see all the way from Northern Ireland in the west to Ben Nevis in the Highlands. Yet, for such a popular mountain, it only has a lay-by for around five cars at the start of the walk. If you want to climb then you normally have to park at Cruachan power station and visitor centre, around half a mile down the road.

When we got there in early September, we were lucky, we’d arrived early and got the last place. But if you really want to bag a space then you need to do what the car in front of us did. Put your backseat dow, convert your boot into a mattress and sleep the night in the back of your car.

If you want to know Scotland’s second busiest car park then you don’t need to go far to find it. Aproximately a mile down the road towards Tyndrum there is another lay-by with great access to Loch Awe. It has plenty of space but just be prepared for cars to pull in and out of it all day. In 30 minutes we saw four cars pull in, stop and then people getting out to admire the view of the loch, before getting back in and driving off.

So, if you love to swim with an audience then this spot is for you!

Ease of access

Very rocky so bring shoes or flip flops to get to the water’s edge.

Water Quality

Very clear.

Other people

No one swimming but you may have spectators from the lay-by!

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