Outdoor Swim Review – Loch Ard (Iain)

Whenever something bad happens in my town I joke with my wife “I bet whoever did it wasn’t a local!”

I say that because that’s all I ever see when I look at the Facebook page for my town. Load of posts about visitors up to no good. As if we haven’t got any bad ‘uns in our own town..!

Kinlochard is a beautiful wee hamlet but it had been overrun by visitors in the last year. I’ve heard the locals aren’t as welcoming as they once were. I don’t have that much sympathy. If I moved somewhere beautiful and easily accessible by others I’d expect people to turn up all the time. I don’t understand why people move somewhere beautiful and then complain that about other people who also want to come to their beautiful place.

But I do think everyone should respect each other which means Loch Ard is a difficult place to review. Its a beautiful spot for a swim but by going there I’m also contributing to ruining the place for the locals who live there.

My conclusion is to only go when its quieter. Either first thing in the morning or during the week. In the hope that won’t bother others too much.

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

It used to be easy to park in Kinlochard but a combination of too many visitors, covid restrictions and the closure of the village hall means there is much less tolerance and space for visitors. 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: 3 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 – Lochore Meadow (Iain)

I once worked with a man who lived in Lochore. He was a member of a brass band. He was in charge of making sure members of the band came to rehersals. Many a time I would overhear him shouting into his phone “Why can’t you cone to rehersal? If you don’t come tonight, I will make sure that you never play trumpet in Fife ever again!”

It’s fair to say he took the role very seriously.

Lochore meadow is a managed water sports facility which has sessions for swimming, sailing and paddle sports. You can find full details here https://active.fife.scot/locations/lochore-meadows/activity-listing/watersports

I’d recommend it for family’s or people who are starting out wild swimming as its a safe venue that is easy to access. Just watch out for brass bands. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of them or you will never swim in Fife again!

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Their is plenty of parking

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water is checked and monitored.

Swim Quality:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A good managed option if you don’t wan’t to swim in wilder location.

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 move from the pool to outdoor swimming.

Outdoor Swim Review – Pinkston Water Sports 2021 update (Iain)

“Pinkston is home to Scotland’s only artificial whitewater course, a flat water basin with bathing quality water, meeting rooms and storage facilities for clubs and groups, Pinkston Watersports is an official Glasgow 2014 Legacy project and is operated by Glasgow Watersports Ltd, a registered Scottish charity run by a volunteer board of trustees.”

https://pinkston.co.uk/facilities/what-is-pinkston-watersports

Threre is much debate about where the name Pinkston originates from.  Supposedly the Scottish version of the name originated in the old barony of Pinkerton near Dunbar. The barony had the motto “Post nubila sol” which translates to “After clouds sunshine,” which is a fittingly apt motto for an outdoor pool because anyone who uses an outdoor pool needs a positive attitude – it might be cloudy today but the next time I swim it will be sunny!

I’ve used the facility for the last few years. It’s a great place to get an outdoor swim in a safe environment.

Last year (2020) during lockdown, Pinkston offered a pay and swim session. Pinkston was the only swimming pool open as it could operate in a COVID safe manner due to it being outdoors.

This has resumed as of April 2021.

They offer a number of different times (https://pinkston.co.uk/activities/swimming/) I like the 1700 Monday slot as I can get a swim in after work but before I have my dinner.

I was back this week for my firs swim of the year there. It wasn’t very busy – there was 4/5 others swimming. The full length of the basin was open which meant I could get a nice 400m loop in. The water temperature was surprisingly in double figures (10C) I’d worn my full winter swimming kit but I could have word less and still been ok.

I appreciate everyone’s view of temperature is different but double figures is ok for me. I can swim until 5C but below that is too cold for me.

The only downside to the swim is that Pinkston can’t open the changing rooms to users. Everyone has to get changed outside. Which could be considered a positive thing – getting changed outdoors is a skill all outdoor swimmers have to learn. You might as well start at Pinkston.

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The area around Pinkston is getting regenerated. Local roads and access points are sometime closed so always check google maps first to find the best way there.

Water quality:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The water is murky. Don’t expect to see the bottom of the basin. The pool is not that deep. I can stand up at any point in it (I’m 6ft tall)

Swim Quality:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Their is a 400m-ish loop when the basin is fully open. The site is open to the east and west which means it can be tricky swimming at sunrise/sunset as the Sun shines directly into your face.

Other People:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Due to Covid regulations only a small number of people can swim at a time. It never feels busy and there is plenty of room to swim in.

Would I go back: 

Yes – it is convenient to have somewhere in the city. It is good for beginners and it is a great starting point for people who want to move from the pool to outdoor swimming.

Outdoor Swim Review – Pinkston Water Sports (Iain)

“Pinkston is home to Scotland’s only artificial whitewater course, a flat water basin with bathing quality water, meeting rooms and storage facilities for clubs and groups, Pinkston Watersports is an official Glasgow 2014 Legacy project and is operated by Glasgow Watersports Ltd, a registered Scottish charity run by a volunteer board of trustees.”

https://pinkston.co.uk/facilities/what-is-pinkston-watersports

Threre is much debate about where the name Pinkston originates from.  Supposedly the Scottish version of the name originated in the old barony of Pinkerton near Dunbar. The barony had the motto “Post nubila sol” which translates to “After clouds sunshine,” which is a fittingly apt motto for an outdoor pool because anyone who uses an outdoor pool needs a positive attitude – it might be cloudy today but the next time I swim it will be sunny!

I’ve used the facility for the last few years. It’s a great place to get an outdoor swim in a safe environment.

This year they have been running pay and swim session which has been hugely popular. During lockdown Pinkston was the only swimming pool that could open as it could operate in a COVID safe manner due to it being outdoors.

The only downside is that Pinkston can’t open the changing rooms to users. Everyone has to get changed outside. Which I think is a positive move as getting changed outdoors is a skill all outdoor swimmers have to learn.

I’ve been swimming regularly at 1700 on a Monday. Up unti this week (late Oct) the swim was in daylight. But this week the clocks went backwards. My 1700 swim became a night swim.

I didn’t realize just how dark the swim would be. I brought the wrong swim googles. I brought my shaded ones. I couldn’t see a thing. I was blinder than Stevie Wonder in a dark room with his eyes shut. I’m glad I did not record the swim on my GPS. It would have shown me swimming all over the place and, at one point, I’m sure I was swimming in a circle.

Lesson learned. I’ll bring a torch next time… and clear googles.

Link to booking: https://pinkston.co.uk

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The area around Pinkston is getting regenerated. Local roads and access points are sometime closed so always check google maps first to find the best way there.

Water quality:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The water is murky. Don’t expect to see the bottom of the basin. The pool is not that deep. I can stand up at any point in it (I’m 6ft tall)

Swim Quality:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Their is a 400m-ish loop when the basin is fully open. The site is open to the east and west which means it can be tricky swimming at sunrise/sunset as the Sun shines directly into your face.

Other People:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Due to Covid regulations only a small number of people can swim at a time. It never feels busy and there is plenty of room to swim in.

Would I go back: 

Yes – it is convenient to have somewhere in the city. It is good for beginners and it is a great starting point for people who want to move from the pool to outdoor swimming.