I’m just out of another weekend Loch Lomond training swim with Big Chris and a cameo visit from Fiona. Due to a few uncontrollable reasons we decided that a shorter swim was in order today; we looked at the weather for the weekend and there was an easterly wind across the loch so decided to start our swim from Luss and use the shelter of the islands to ensure we achieved a smoother swim than fight the chop from our usual entry point at Balloch. The following “MapmyRun” visual doesn’t show the islands in the Loch so if you visualise islands to the right of our swim route you will see the shelter we sort after and achieved.
One of the other reasons we decided to cut short the swim today was the fact for the second week running i was swimming with a world record holder, no James wasn’t with us again but my partner in crime Big Chris “Shoulders” McGrenary was drafted in on Thursday to be part of a Loch Lomond relay team who were trying to break the record for 24 miles, each of the 4 members of the team had to swim an hour leg at a time in only their Budgie smugglers and goggles, needless to say they smashed the record in a time of 9 hours and 20 mins. I was delighted for the big man, but he was feeling his shoulders today so needed to ease back into the distances.
I have to admit i am starting to get worried looking at the longer term forecast over the next 10 days, its a period of temperamental weather which probably means that we wont be taking on the big challenge until into August. I’m no weatherman but we could do with a few days of high pressure over a weekend ideally starting on a Thursday to enable us to confirm the day the journey will take place. Maybe i am worrying too much, we set our projected date as August 3rd so hopefully anytime in the next month will be perfect!
What a Sunday 11.5 mile swim in 7 hours, I decided to watch the Netherlands v Costa Rica game to the bitter end, not one of my best decisions i realised as i reached over to switch off my alarm at 4.05am.
With my car packed the night before, i dashed down stairs, made my porridge (What else when you are about to swim beneath the “Bonnie Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond”) and headed out the door to meet Big Chris my usual sole accomplice, however today we were accompanied by Cammie in the water (he is also looking to complete the feat in August as well) Dave and Stevie who had so kindly volunteered to give us boat cover for this important training swim.
We parked one of the cars at Luss and headed back to the starting point at Balloch, chosen due to the southerly wind direction that morning. What a stunning morning greeted us.
Setting off with a planned route and stops, i have to say that we kept to this plan practically to the letter. Balloch to Inchmurren (2.8 miles) food stop, Inchmurren passed Loch Lomond Golf Course, another stop at the start of the Channel to Luss (3 miles) through to Luss (2.2 miles) then onwards and upwards to Inverbeg.
7 hours in the water and your mind goes to several places, i have to admit i was expecting to head to the dungeon that i encountered 15 miles into the Ironman run 3 years ago, this place can never be explained, if you’ve been there you will understand.
To anyone who has read my blurb previously i like to detail all elements of the day, good or bad. When you get up so early on the morning, lets just say that your body and your “Morning constitutional” may not realise you are up yet.
Everyone has heard of the saying “Does a bear shit in the woods” well you can now expand that saying to “Does a bear, Chris and Cammie shit in the woods” as we have photographic evidence to prove this. I just hope not many people actually set foot on Inchtavannach island.
I have to say that we were advised by James (one of the swimmers that holds the world record) that the Luss to Inverbeg was the longest stretch visually in the Loch and he wasn’t wrong, i felt like the treadmill nightmare where you can see where you want to be but it never gets any closer.
But we made it in the end, the route can be seen by my much ridiculed “Mapmyrun” device on my iPhone
I am pleased to say we have decided not to go any longer than this until the big day, hopefully this experience will put us in good stead to now look at tapering down over the coming weeks, an 8 miler is planned for tomorrow – alarm is set!!
On the big day in August hopefully we will have the same look of satisfaction with completing the full Loch