Beautiful hillsides and mountains towered over the lightly misted loch as we pulled on our neoprene wetsuits. We were here for the five kilometre Glencoe swim. Due to patchy weather conditions on the days leading up to the event, the swim route had been simplified. Rather than looping around an island on Loch Leven, we did three legs of a circuit marked out by buoys, all just about visible from the shore. It was a little disappointing to have to swim circuits but we were so glad to be in such stunning surroundings.I was nervous as we jumped into the water. It was bracing, surprisingly salty and even a little choppy in one section. Swimmers were setting off at different times depending on their distance. We were the second of two groups that day swimming 5km and there was about 40 of us in the group; few enough to spread out so there were many quiet times in the waters. The sections were also long enough to feel a bit disorientated as I scanned the horizon for the next buoy to swim towards. Before long I fell into my rhythm and kept a constant pace up, breathing every three or four strokes. It took 1 hour 26 minutes to complete – a pleasant surprise as this was probably the furthest I had swam in one go. My training only took me to around 3km.Once we had our flapjack and after-swim soup, we sat down in the hotel and looked up at the mountains. One was particularly distinct, marked by a big hump and called the Pap of Glencoe. Charlotte, always ready for the next challenge said “we should climb it”, settling our plans for the next day.
That evening we stopped into a recommended pub called the Craige for a beer and portion of chips, before heading back to our cosy AirBnB in Kinlochleven with its wood burning stove.