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Great Scottish Swim

A sporting success

  • Where:  Balloch, Loch Lomond
  • When:  Summer
  • Event Type:  Mass participation open water swimming
  • Participants:  Swimmers of all ages, with 45% of participants coming from outside of Scotland
  • Audience:  Over 9,000 spectators made up of families, friends and visitors
  • Capacity:  2,650 participants


A world-class sporting event which inspires participants of varying swimming ability to sign up and train for an open water swimming challenge in one of Scotland’s most iconic settings.


  • Significant specialist infrastructure and event support and safety staff and volunteers required
  • Multiple stakeholders
  • Weather and environmental risks

Funding model

The Great Scottish Swim is funded by EventScotland, the National Park Authority and West Dunbartonshire Council. It generates additional income from entry fees and commercial sponsorship.

Ongoing sustainability

The event has grown steadily over five years by delivering a strong product; generating positive media coverage; and developing different swim courses to attract more participants of wider swimming ability. For example, in 2018, the family Swim250m was launched and sold out at 100 entries.

The Great Scottish Swim has successfully secured public funding to help progress the event towards commercial viability because of its value in terms of the social and cultural benefits it delivers in addition to the clear health benefits. In a 2018 survey, participants indicated that while they visited the area, they also enjoyed walking, sightseeing, eating and visiting other local areas. The event brings locals, visitors and tourists to the area with a significant proportion of entrants and their parties staying for at least two nights over the event weekend. The local community and local businesses benefit from the Swim having a positive economic impact on the area, particularly via accommodation, dining out and use of local transport. The event supports 150 UK suppliers, half of which are based in Scotland.

Sustainability is also addressed via the Great Scottish Swim’s environmental policy which includes recycling plastic water bottles and using bio-degradable finishers’ bags.

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