With 22 lochs, the National Park is the perfect place to enjoy an invigorating and inspiring swim.
Open water swimming in particular is a popular activity with thousands of people taking the plunge each year during the Great Scottish Swim in Loch Lomond and in 2018 the National Park will be hosting the open water swimming element of the first European Championships.
Throughout the summer you will see groups of people donning wetsuits and bright coloured caps before taking to the water either to train for a competition or just for fun.
With more people than ever before braving the waters, there are clubs and smaller scale events to help you get started. Whether you’re a tentative beginner or an experienced open water swimmer, it’s essential that you’re well prepared before getting in the water:
- Some places are better than others for swimming. Avoid busy boating/ferry areas where possible. The National Park ranger base at Milarrochy Bay on Loch Lomond is a popular site.
- As you are low in the water, it can be difficult for other water users to spot you. So always wear a brightly coloured swim cap and, if possible, use a swim safety device – these are brightly coloured inflatable bags which you can tow behind you whilst swimming.
- Swim with at least one other person.
- Where possible, use an escort canoe/ kayak which can also display the alpha flag (international sign of diver in the water).
- Always swim within your own capabilities and be aware of the effects of gradual chilling.
- Check weather conditions before heading out, a large swell can quickly develop when wind directions change.
- Blue green algae can be a problem during the warmer months. The relevant Local Authority should be the first port of call for advice if you spot any algal blooms, although National Park visitor centres and SEPA can also be contacted.
If you are planning to swim on Loch Lomond, National Park rangers will be happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact the Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway in Balloch on 01389 722030.