Lochan Spling again

Today I’d planned to find and try out an open water swim in the Lake of Menteith. It’s about an hour away from me, and some reviews online said it was good to swim in… shallow in parts, but good.

I found where to park, and arranged to take my friend Lesley there this morning, early doors. With a packed lunch, coffee in a flask and all my swimming gear, I picked Lesley up at 730am and headed to the spot about an hour away.

We got there just before 830am… parked and crossed the road to have a look the loch. It had looked stunning on the drive up…. but when we got close to it, it was clear that there was a green film along a few foot of the edge of the loch.

It looked very much like green blue algae… see the pictures from Google above… I didn’t get a photo of it today, and there were no signs up, but we decided it would be better to try somewhere else.

I knew I’d been at and enjoyed a swim at Lochan Spling about 20 minutes east of where we were, so we got back in the car and headed there.

A lovely small loch (Lochan)… with a good path and forest trails around it. I’d been before so I knew a good part to park, enter and exit.

It’s so peaceful and quiet there. Once we parked we went down and had a look. The water was clear of algae, and it looked good to swim in. So not long after I was in.

I swam there in June – as my first solo open water swim after my dip in Loch Ness, and I swam all the way around it and across it a few times in about 45 minutes.

Today I took my most recent gadget (or friend?!) turtle the bath thermometer… to see what temperature the water was. It cost £8 and I’ll tie it / him to my tow float so I can see what the water temperature is.

At the side of the loch it said it was 17’C, but when I was in swimming it said around 16.4’C. A lot warmer than the sea and warm enough once you got going.

Before I got in to swim, I tied my orange dry bag to a tree so I could clearly see where to get out. The entry is a bit muddy / spongy, and I got in with my flip flops on, then threw them on shore.

Then I realised I didn’t have my neoprene socks on (which would keep my feet a bit warmer), but I’ve got used to swimming in bare feet so it was ok.

I warmed up with 2x250m swimming west to the end of the loch, then back. Then swam about 750m to the other end and back to where I’d started again.

By that point Lesley was getting ready to come in, and swam across and I waited for a bit, but went for another wee swim (to warm up) to the west side again and back, and by the time I got back she’d been in and across and back and out (in her swimming costume 🥶).

Good on her for doing that. Maybe her hat kept her warm?!

After that I swam to the east end of the loch and back… and across a few times – finishing having done around 2,500m I’m just under an hour.

By that point my feet were feeling a bit cold, and I’ll make sure I wear my socks (or fins) next time … I found a good spongy but to get out at… and then dried off, warmed up, had my coffee and packed lunch, and a protein shake.

It was a good wee morning out. And we stopped on the way back at the wee drive through coffee place where Lesley bought me a coffee and a square sausage roll. Yum. Any calories I’d burned off swimming were likely well replaced by all of that.

The loch was a lot darker than the other lochs I’ve swum in and it seems pretty deep in the middle. Near the edges you need to be careful of plants, lilies and reeds… but other than that it’s a great wee place to swim.

Afterwards I came back for a shower and Fit Girl and I went out for a walk, and a light lunch, before we were treated to a rainbow show in a wee rain light shower in Queens Park.

I’m glad we chose the safer option and changed plan when we saw the green film at the edge of the Lake of Menteith. It could have been nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s easy to change plans if you need to.

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