A belated account of our most recent swim, which was at Inverinan on the western shore of Loch Awe. Here a wide sandy bay invites the enthusiast into the sunlit waters; but beware – they are not for the faint hearted. Iona and Lottie were the participants and the Swift Swimmer went along as observer.
The western road seldom follows the shore line – it is densely forested and swoops up and down in hair raising fashion, only just avoiding looping the loop! Occasionally a gap opens up, providing a stunning vista of the loch, its blue waters, and the sunlit slopes of the far shore. After an exhilarating ride we reached Ylva and Kevin’s house, where the other swimmers awaited us, already wet-suited and booted. Iona is going for glamour this summer and wore a fetching one piece with pleated skirt and a multi-coloured cap. To reach the shore, we passed through a wooden gate with a willow archway newly planted and already bursting with green shoots. Ylva and Kevin are to marry this summer and the archway is part of the preparations. The Swift Swimmer followed the others down to the shore accompanied by Ylva and Kevin’s little grey cat Archie and their frolicksome dog. Archie seemed not to mind in the least being tossed around by the dog. He and I settled ourselves on the hull of an upturned dinghy, from which I watched the swimmers and Archie went below, to reappear shortly with a mouse dangling from his needle teeth. This was too much for the dog and Archie had to seek shelter again under the dingy.
After the swim, which I am informed was “chilly but wonderfully refreshing” and which involved either crossing the loch or circumnavigating a small crannog, we all trooped up to the house, where mugs of hot tea, coffee and cocoa were eagerly consumed, along with home made muffins, biscuits and cakes. There was a happy gabble of conversation while people clasped hot mugs to bring their hands back to life. From the window the eye was led across the loch to the other shore and up the rising slopes to the high ridge where the tips of wind turbines circled – turning, turning against the blue of the sky. Away to the north the high profile of the Cruachan ridge, snow clad, gleamed in the sunshine – what a place to live!
(Crannogs are a type of ancient loch-dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland.)