Outdoor Swim Review: Lake Of Montieth (Iain)

The name Lake of Menteith is a mistake by a cartographer. It was originally called Laich o Menteith, where “laich” simply means “low place”.

Which is very apt because when I went the water was very low.

It is not the only lake in Scotland (as I thought) there are also lakes in Fife (Raith Lake) and Sutherland (Lake Louise)

I took advantage of some nice weather to pay a visit to the lake. I wasn’t the only one with that idea. the place was mobbed. Finding somewhere to park was very difficult but luckily I managed to get a spot close enough to walk to the water easily.

The water level was low and I could easily walk out 30m without going under. There wasn’t anyone else swimming but there was a number of boats and fishermen about.


Ease of Access: There is a car park on the B road by the east of the lake. It is currently closed due to lockdown (June 2020) but may by open when you are reading this.

Water quality: The water was low and the lake is shallow. I’d check carefully for blue green algae before swimming. It was fine in early summer when I visited but I prefer deeper water to be safe.

Swim Quality: Hot! 20C in the water. I could have had a bath in it.

Other People: Fishermen and some kayakers. It seemed a popular busy place. I prefer quieter spots.

Would I go back: No. It was fine for a one off swim but I would only go back if I was passing by for another reason (ie post biking or running)

What I use to create YouTube videos (Iain)

I wrote about my lockdown project to become a YouTube sensation here.

If you are interested in doing something similar this is what I learnt.


I use an iPhone X. The video footage is 1080p HD and the sound quality is pretty good. It was also free as I already owned the phone.

The downside of using an iPhone was that the video lacked image stabilisation. This is OK, if I didn’t move the phone but if I did move it then the footage was jerky.

To improve the video quality I purchased a gimble. This is a device that steadies the camera. Unlike the non gimble footage, viewers did not get seasick when the camera moved.

The second issue was that the iPhone microphone picked up wind and other background noise. Many a take was ruined by a big blast of wind blowing in and deafening the vocals.

I purchased a mic with a wind sock. This dampened the wind noise and improved the quality of the vocal recording.


I initially tried a few free video editing tools but they were all too complicated. I’d previously learnt how to use Adobe Photoshop for a project called The Fat Minister.

I decided to try Adobe Premiere as it was a similar interface. It’s an expensive product but thankfully I get it for a discount because I work for a University. I’d highly recommend it. It is very easy to use and makes even the worst footage look professional.


The music is completely free. I googled free music and found a website https://freemusicarchive.org/ I clicked on the first link on the page and that is the Bonnie Gardener theme tune!

I clicked on a lot of other links afterwards but I never found anything else as good as that first bit of music. It must have been fate!

As the season progressed I added in some other music. It is all from https://www.epidemicsound.com/ I had to pay a samll fee for the music but the choice and quality was much higher than the free archive.


The next step would be to upgrade the iPhone to a proper camera. Andrew has a good one. I’ll ask nicely to borrow it and then hope he forgets to ask for it back!

The Bonnie Gardener (Iain)

One of the joys of lockdown has been the opportunity to spend time at home. So much time at home. So, so much time… PLEASE HELP. MAKE IT STOP! LET ME GO!!!

Sorry. I’ll start again.

One of the joys of lockdown has been the opportunity to learn new skills. Some people learn a language; some people learn to play a musical instrument; I thought it would fun to learn how to become a YouTube sensation.

There was only one problem. I’m not very interesting! I wouldn’t want to watch a show about me so why would anyone else?

Instead I convinced my wife to be the star. She runs a successful gardening business and loves plants, nature and the outdoors. I told her I’d be her Svengali. Thankfully she was unaware of what the term meant.

We decided to make ten shows because that is how many Game Of Thrones made in their first season and it became the biggest show in the world. Game of Thrones killed off its main star in its last episode. You will have to watch to see if we did the same.

I recommend watching episode one and then episode 10. It shows you how much progress we made in ten weeks.

Episode 1:

Episode 10:

I’ll write a blog about how we filmed it and what we learnt. It was an interesting experience. Doing it every week required more discipline than following any race training plan!

First Swim After Lockdown (Iain)

This weekend I went for a socially distanced swim.

Social distancing is a silly thing to have to mention.

I have to social distance. It’s the law. Everyone is doing it. I don’t mention other laws I also did not break. This weekend I went for a murder free swim. This weekend I manged to avoid robbing a bank whilst swimming. This weekend….I think you get the point.

So, from now on, don’t mention you are social distancing. Only mention it if you don’t do it.

The last time I swam was pre lockdown. It was in Loch Chon (https://twinbikerun.com/2020/03/06/outdoor-swim-review-loch-chon-iain/)

It was cold.

A very cold Iain

This weekend the water temperature was 18.6C. Turtleometer nearly became turteometer soup.

Turtleometer was happy to be back in the water.

My tips for swimming after being out of the water for so long.

  1. Take it easy

It is not complicated. I have all summer to enjoy swimming. I will enjoy being back outside first and I will worry about getting the speed and distance up later.

Run #EveryStreet – Mayrathon Challenge (Iain)

I took up the challenge of https://twinbikerun.com/2020/05/07/run-everystreet-may-andrew/ to run every street. I thought it would be easy as I live in small town. I was wrong!

I went out on my lunch break thinking I could do it in an hour and that it would be 10K at most.

90 minutes and 10 miles later I had to abort the run and head home otherwise I’d be late for a work meeting.

What I took from my attempt is that it’s very hard to do it without a map. I wanted to challenge myself by trying to find my own way around town rather than relying on technology. But the mental strain of trying to remember which roads to visit and where I’d been was hard. I haven’t concentrated that hard on a task since my school exams!

New build estates are a killer to run around. So many dead ends and identikit houses makes navigation a challenge.

I got some strange looks from locals when I did run down dead end streets especially if the street was only a couple of hundred metres long. The locals must have wondered why I was bothering.

Long streets with lots of roads running off it are also tricky. I couldn’t work out whether I was better running the street in one go and then coming back to do the turn offs or just do each turnoff as I came to it.

Its an interesting challenge a mixture of running and mind skills.

I’ll try again but give myself more time.

Celtman Training – April (Iain)

Despite lockdown, I managed more exercise this month than any other month this year. It’s just a pity Celtman isn’t on. I feel really fit!

Luckily, I live in a small town in the countryside. I have access to biking, trails and hills on my doorstep. I can leave the house and not see a soul for hours. I don’t need to practice social isolating. I’ve been doing it for years.

Here’s some things I’ve learnt this month.

I’ve learnt that I’m sports TV addict who is so desperate for sport to return I watched the wood chopping world championship.

I learnt that my Dad hasn’t mastered video calls but it was good to see his ear

I learnt that I could spend lock-down learning to bake, or work on art, or even learn a new language. I could do any of those things….or could use this time to get my favourite twitter account Grumpy Skeletor to insult a friend of mine. All it required was a three pound donation to Grumpy’s coffee fund. Money well spent.

I learnt that the most exciting day in lockdown other than Bin Day is Bin Day Eve. I’m never sure if I’ll be able to sleep due to the excitement of wondering whether the bin men will come.

I completed a Jigsaw! Now, a lot of haterz might say – what about the sky? That’s #fakejigsawnews from the #fakejigsawmedia The bits are all there! Do they report that? I’m the jigsawest jigsawer of all time. So there! Make jigsaws great again!

The letter below says that I am a key worker. No need to call me a hero or clap for me…oh ok then. You can clap a little. #humble #clap4todd

Here are a few pics from the month.

What to Watch During Lockdown (Iain)

Having more time at home means I get to spend quality time with my loved ones – the TV, the computer and the wife. That is not an order of preference. My wife reads this so I have to say that!

I don’t watch many TV shows. I’m about five years behind everyone else. I only recently started Game of Thrones. I love Sean Bean. I can’t wait to see how his character progresses over the seven seasons.

But because of lockdown, an abundance of free films, Theatre and YouTube videos have been made available to watch.

Here’s a selection of things I’ve seen.

TWIN https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000h3cm

Two twins – one more successful than the other, swap places after one dies in an accident.

This is a concept I can totally buy into. It’s factually correct. One twin is always more succesful than the other. Andrew – How did you get on at Norseman? Do you want to see what a finishers T-shirt looks like? Is it cold in my shadow?

The show is utterly preposterous but it has one redeeming feature. It is filmed in Lofoten. One of the most beautiful areas of Norway. Lofoten is somewhere I want to visit (as I love Norway) and hopefully do their triathlon https://www.thearctictriple.no/lofoten-triathlon/


Gangs of London is the thickheaded more violent brother of Twin. It is even more preposterous and prone to extreme violence. It is well directed and acted but at the end my wife said “I’m not sure I could watch any more of that”



A train circling the globe has the last reaming humans. The train is split into different classes from the poorest to the richest.

This films sounds stupider than Twin and Gangs of London combined but its actually great. Don’t learn anything about it in advance. Just watch it and enoy a smart sci fi premise done really well.

The director and writer went onto to win Oscar for this years Parasite. So it proves he knows what he is doing.


I’ve watched a lot of great YouTube videos. I’ve created a playlist of some of the best

I tried watching some live theatre – One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Cordon but after 30s of watching him, I wanted to lick a self service machine to try and get a dose of covid-19. Even that horrific illness must be more enjoyable than 2 hours of Cordon!

The Coronavirus Exercise Rules – Part 2 (Iain)

Andrew wrote a set of guidelines for exercising during lockdown. You can find them here: TheRules

He missed out some important rules.


If you are lucky enough to be able to exercise freely outside then don’t show off about it. Have some respect for people who can’t. Keep you epic run or your 100 mile bike ride to yourself.

People are stuck at homes and can’t get out so don’t make their day worse by seeing how great your day was.


Why do that? The original marathon was a point to point run from point A to point B. You’ve gone from A, stayed in A and finished at A.

Why bother? Sit and have a beer instead. No-one cares you’ve gone around in circles more often than a wind mill.


Its not real! You’re all at home sweating on the carpet. The people you are racing are probably cheating just as much as you are. If you use Zwift then listen to a podcast or YouTube at the same time and forget about races. At least you’ll learn something whilst you are getting fit.


We’ve all made the mistakes this account highlights. So to paraphrase Andrews “Don’t be a dick” rule, my last rule is

5. DONT BE A WANKER (especially a Strava one)

My Time in the NHS (Iain)

My mum worked for the NHS for over 30 years. She was a receptionist at the Western Isles Hospital until she retired. Thankfully retired receptionists, unlike retired doctors, are not key NHS workers. She didn’t receive a letter from the government asking if she’d like to go back to work. If she had, she would have told them where to stick their phone.

Both Andrew and I worked for the NHS for short periods of time. We also played for the NHS football team. Does that make me an NHS hero? No – I was definitely in the work shy waster category!

The first bit of work I did was to re-design the health board travel request database. I was paid for eight weeks work but completed the task in two days. I asked the health board if I could do anything else but they said no. I asked them if I could go home. They said I could but they wouldn’t pay me if I did. So, I went to work for seven weeks to play a card game on my computer. It means I can legitimately say I worked in the NHS with patience… the card game not the ill kind.

My second bit of work for the NHS was as a mortuary cleaner. The mortuary and the hospital lab where in the same part of the hospital and I’d clean both parts.

No-one ever came to check on me. I’d be left on my own for the whole time I was working. Which sounds scary but it was great. I was paid for two hours work but it only took 30 minutes. I’d work and then sit in the lab staff room to read a book for 90 minutes before going home.

The mortuary was actually quite a nice room that you wouldn’t know was a mortuary until you noticed it had four small fridge-like doors in one wall. I just treated it as a room owned by someone who likes a lot of ice cream. Which wasn’t too far fetched an idea as, once a month, the lab would test the ice cream machines in town. The test only required a tiny amount of ice cream but the retailers would send big tubs. The guy in the lab who did the test would let me eat what they didn’t need. I told you it was a great job.

The other positive to the job was the mortuary contained the post mortem theatre. Which sounds scary but it was just a room that was always closed unless it was being used. I couldn’t see into it but if a post mortem was required, I’d be sent home as they didn’t want people in the vicinity of the room.

I was probably the only person reading the local paper who saw the phrase “suspicious death” and was happy. It meant I got the night off.

How to survive lockdown (Iain)

I’m not saying I’m a sports TV addict but due to the lack of mainstream sports taking place, I watched the wood chopping world championship.

The athletes compete in six different disciplines. Which included more chops than a butchers shop with names like the standing block chop and the underhand Chop. The underhand chop sounds like a secret sneaky attack on the wood.

Each discipline was quick, competitive and exciting. Perfect for television.

It opened up my eyes to a world of sports I would not normally watch.

Sports like chess boxing. The match starts with a four minute round of chess. The players then go into the ring for a three minute round of boxing before again returning to the chess board. The match ends when either player wins the chess match or boxing. It claims that the winner is the ultimate fighter because they are brainy and strong. I can’t help but think the truly intelligent wouldn’t get in the ring in the first place!

Then there is competitive sign spinning. Which implies there is also a non competitive sign spinning. Maybe done to music like some weird form of interpretative dance. Actually, now I think about it, that is a great idea. I’m off to film a video now!

And then there are some ports which make me think WTF – Stupid Robot Fighting League!

When the Lockdown is over, people will ask me what I did to pass the time? Did I use it as an opportunity to educate myself? Did I learn a musical instrument? Did I master a new skill?

And I’ll have to admit – I mostly watched YouTube.