Otter Lodge Blog: K2K Swim 2017

Skye open water swim

This year was twentieth annual Kyleakin to Kyle of Lochalsh swim; and the fifth year I’ve pondered the possibilities of taking part. Friends would tell you I’m not adverse to a spot of open water swimming, having spent many an evening swimming up and down in the grotty waters of the Tay estuary (read of some of our previous blogs if you don’t believe me). The opportunity of swimming in fresher waters has always been tempting.

So, this year I decided to take the plunge. At just over half a kilometer, the distance certainly wasn’t a deterrent, but my ambitions in previous years have been somewhat curtailed by the lack of a training regime. This year I decided not to let something as trivial as being out of shape stop me. A bit of extra padding around the midriff is great for keeping your kidneys warm. After a few sessions in the local pool I took a dip in the sea in my swimming cozzie (rather than my drysuit) and thought, ‘yep, I’m ready’.

As you can see from my nervous pre-swim grin: reality bites. I’m clutching my big puffy duvet jacket for dear life at this point. However, once you’re in the water there’s not much point taking a jacket with you (unless it’s a life jacket). Saying that, I was wondering by the end if one of those triathlon suits might have been a good option. It took a me a good half hour to swim across from Skye to the mainland; I wasn’t last, but the folk in the sporty wetsuits left me for dust. I think it might have also had something to do with the fact I took the scenic route via the Skye Bridge. Luckily, our local kayak club was on the water to shepherd me back towards the pier.

Skye open water swim

When I finally emerged from the sea at the other side, I felt terrific. However, this was soon followed by uncontrollable shivering. Lots of lovely folk were there at the slip to greet the swimmers, but every time I tried to speak to them my teeth started chattering and I was totally incoherent. This continued until I had a good long hot shower at the pool, a few delicious goodies from the free buffet and a glass of wine. 

The whole shebang is a fund raiser for our local swimming pool, Lochalsh Leisure. The pool was built in the early 1990s and has been doing sterling work ever since providing a facility where kids can to learn to swim, kayakers can learn to roll and everyone can get fit and healthy,even when it’s raining. Thanks to everyone who sponsored me to undertake this rather foolhardy endeavour! 

Skye open water swim

Swimmers prepare at Kyleakin slip

Skye open water swim

The winner! Teenager Erica Fowler shows us more mature swimmers how it’s done.