Category Archives: Iain

Outdoor Swim Review: Hebrides – Braighe Beach 2022 (Iain)

Braighe is an apt name for the beach as it means sandy strand in Gaelic. The sandy side of the beach is a fine sandy strand between two parts of the island.

You can swim on either side but normally the west side is calmer as it faces a protected bay.

Although when I visited (Sep 2022) it was the east side that was flat as a pancake.

The water temperature was 13C and the tide was fully in. Be careful when swimming that you don’t go too close to the shore there are posts sticking up from the beach that you can’t see when the tide is in. I hit one with my hand and it was sore!


Ease of Access: There are three car parks available. The middle one has toilets. It is only a 10 minute drive from Stornoway to the beach.

Water quality: The water quality is crystal clear and perfect for swimming although on a wild day it can get a bit sea weedy on the bay side.

Swim Quality: Cold. In December the temperature was 7C. I had a short swim in a circle. In the summer I’ve been here and swam the length of the beach.

Other People: Not a soul.

Would I go back: Yes. Its the easiest place to get to have a sea swim that is near my parent’s home in Stornoway. Normally one side of the beach will protected from any bad weather.

Film Friday – Dad & Twins vs Mum (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

What happens when a top class mountain runner races his wife whilst he pushes his twins up a hill. Obviously he wins. He’s still a top class mountain runner!

I’d like to see him try this with us. He can push two 45 year old men up a hill. That would be a challenge.

Outdoor Swim Review – Loch Ard – Aug 2022 (Iain)

There are certain places that are perfect for doing swim/bike/run events that have just one major problem – no parking!

Loch Ard is on of those places. It would be amazing to have a triathlon here but there is so little parking available it would be impossible to have more than a handful of people attend it.

Instead of a proper race I decided to do my own triathlon here. I call it Myathlon.

Myathlon is virtual sprint triathlon where you choose your own course. It comprise a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5 km run. You can do it anywhere you like.

I choose to do it at Loch Ard.

Even though I was here for 0900 there wasn’t much parking available at Kinlochard. People were already out swimming or using stand up paddle boards. Its a popular spot!

There are orange buoys in the water. i thought if i aimed for one and then another one that was slightly further our then that would be about 400m. I could then return the same way which would give me the swim distance.

The water was calm, the tempreture was about 15C and the swim was very enjoyable. Spotting the buoys was easy and it was a straightforward swim in nice conditions.


Ease of Access:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

It can be very busy at the weekend so get there early or park further away and then walk/bike to the start.

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water is pretty clear for a loch. The west end is pretty sheltered so there aren’t many waves even on a windy day

Swim Quality:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A good place to swim but it can be very busy so don’t expect to have it to yourself.

Other People:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

It can be very busy.

Would I go back: 

It is good for beginners and it is a great starting point for people who want to try outdoor swimming

Outdoor Swim Review: Carron Valley Revisted – August 2022 (Iain)

Previous reviews here and here

Last month I wrote “It doesn’t feel like summer has really got started properly. May and June have been a lot less sunnier than recent years.”

I could start off this review the same way. it still doesn’t feel like summer has started.

I’ve been swimming consistently in Carron valley one or two times a week and its not been the best summer for swimming here. A near constant easterly wind has whipped up the waves in the reservoirs and there’s barely been a swim when I’ve not had to battle waves.

Last year I barely saw a wave all summer!

The water is constistently 15C-ish at present and its not very peaty but if you don’t like waves then you might not enjoy swimming here.

Hopefully next month I’ll report that summer has arrived at last.

Check out the video to see what a swim in Carron Valley Reservoir is like.

Ease of Access: Park at the gate next to the loch. Its 10m to the waterside. 

Water quality: Warm and shallow at the edge of the loch but it can noticeably drop in temperature the further out you get. 

Swim Quality: Excellent. Lots of things to sight against. Water is choppy but that makes it more fun!

Other People: A couple of folk out walking and the odd car/cyclist going by. 

Would I go back: Yes. It’s my default swim location. 

Hebrides Triathlon 2022 Race Report (Iain)

Glasgow Triathlon Club at the Hebrides Triathlon

This was the 6th edition of the Hebrides Triathlon – the most remote triathlon in the UK. It’s as far north and west as you can go in the UK before you reach Canada.

I’ve done 5 of the races. I think it has rained at every one. This year was no exception!

It’s also the best value race in the UK as it’s only £36 to enter. £12 for each event is a bargain.


The swim course was two laps of a triangular course. Each side of the triangle was approximately 250m.

The water was warm (17C) but it was windy which caused the water to be choppy. The safety team said that they would make the sighting easier by placing people on SUPs halfway between each buoy. But I think they struggled to stay in position due to the wind as whenever I looked for one they were well off course. I ignored them and sighted on the bouys instead,

About half way round I noticed a swimmer with a bright orange wet suit. They seemed to be sighting well and were going at a similar pace. So, as they were easy to spot, I followed them to the end. It was only when I got out that I realized it was a friend of mine. Thanks Paul for the pull!

This is one of the worst pictures of me that I have ever seen. I look about 20 years older than I am!


The bike route is an out and back undulating route to the Callanish Stones. Normally a fierce wind either blows you there or back. One year it took 60 minutes to do the out but only 30 minutes to do the back.

I haven’t done much biking since Celtman due to a dose of Covid so I took my TT bike to the race. My thinking was that I might be slow but at least it won’t be the bikes fault.

I decided to use a new tactic for the race. Instead of wearing tri gear or bike gear I changed into my running gear with the thought that I’d gain the time back by jumping off my bike at the end of and just head straight out onto the run course.

The first 6 miles were straight into a strong headwind. Which thankfully eased off as I the road turned more south. It was a struggle out to the Stones. But thankfully it was easier on the way back.

At one point a man passed me on the other side of the road heading back to the start. I thought he couldn’t possibly be in the race as there was no way he’d be that far ahead of me. He was. He was super quick.

When I mentioned this to folk afterwards I discovered that everyone else had thought the same. Some people even thought he must have taken a wrong turn to get back to the start so soon.

My aim was to do it in less than 90 minutes and I managed it in 85 minutes.


The run starts by going straight up a small hill. I started running and immediately felt very heavy. My first thought was I must have eaten too much whilst spending the previous week at my mum’s house eating my mum’s baking.

I’d done a lot during the week leading up to the race, which meant my running motivation/energy was very low. I aimed to run 5K and then evaluate from there how fast/slow to do the last 5k.

I’ve also had an achilles problem since before the Celtman race. Which combined with my dose of Covid meant the only run I’d done in 10 weeks was the Celtman run.

If this all sounds like excuses for a rubbish time then it is! It wasn’t because I’ve been lazy in the last month and only watched TV and drank beer. Honest.

The less said about the run the better.


As per usual the food at the end was top quality. delicious soups, sandwiches and cakes.

At the prize giving it was a surprise to discover that three members of my tri club had won a prize. The only person not to get one? Me!

Maybe next year.