I often think of a swim in terms of challenges and potential issues that I'll have to navigate. For Loch Ness, the list of challenges was pretty simple; cold water, very limited sunshine, fresh water (less buoyant means more work), and wind. Like all ultra marathon swimmers, I do my best to prepare for the worst but still hope for the best in terms of conditions. I thought about the worst that could happen on Loch Ness but I was totally unprepared for the best.
I was stunned by the beauty and the feel of the loch. Ancient and peaceful are two words that might express some of the uniqueness and magic.
Ancient: seanachd (in Gaelic)
The loch looks and feels very old. This isn't just because there are not any modern high rises or clutter of buildings and homes. Rather it's a feeling as well as the wildness of the landscape. During the swim, I thought about how ancient this land is. It feels unhurried. A lot has been witnessed by this land. I thought a bit about how much joy and suffering has happened there. Humanity has come a long way since the times of tribal warfare across Britain but there are still tribal wars happening in places like Afghanistan that represses people and causes so much suffering and despair. I loved the ancient feel of the loch but lamented that some places in the world have gone backwards in terms of opportunities for kids especially girls.
Peaceful: tha e mu thàmh (in Gaelic)
Loch Ness is incredibly tranquil. Laughter or chatter flow across the lake and break the velvety quiet. There is a deep softness and stillness on the lake. It feels like time slows down.
You can't help but feel at peace at Loch Ness, even when swimming for 12 + hours.
Im very grateful for the opportunity to swim across the loch and to experience the beauty and majesty of the loch. This swim brought together so many wonderful people in my life and Im so happy to have the support from near and far.
Here are the basic details from my swim on August 12th:
Ft. Augustus to Lochend Beach
12 hours and 26 minutes
55 degrees fahrenheit/13 degrees celsius
3 seasons in one day
2 hours of sunshine