New Years Day 2015 Scotland

New Years Day at Luss, cool wet and windy

New Years Day at Luss, cool wet and windy

The first day of 2015 and I am in Scotland going for a swim at Luss on the western shores of Loch Lomond. This loch is the largest body of inland water (by surface area) in the UK. I had joined up with a hardy group of swimmers, the Wild West Swimmers, who swim year round. So far the winter has been quite mild, with some snow on the hills, and a few hard frosts. The day was forecast to be mild wet and windy, and so it proved. The air temperature was around 12 degrees C, and it had been raining most of the day, pushed ahead of a fresh southerly breeze.

The short drive up from Glasgow was not as scenic as normal due to the conditions, but as it was New Years Day the roads where very quiet. It appears that Hogmanay was always a bigger celebration in Scotland than Christmas, as it was not until 1958 that the birth day of Jesus became a public holiday.

To start 2013, I went for a swim with the Bold and Beautiful group at Manly in Sydney Australia on a gorgeous summer day. Twelve months later, I was going for a short dip at Coney Island in New York City in the midst of a cold winter with sub-zero temperatures. Now that 2015 has begun, time to go for another swim.

Too cold for me to stay in

Too cold for me to stay in

I was determined to actually swim a bit this year, despite the cold water. So I wore my wetsuit, my skull-cap, my cap and goggles. However, unlike most of the others, I had not worn boots or gloves, and it was not long before the feeling in my feet disappeared. I did manage to swim for a couple of minutes, and then turned for shore to get out. I was not used to this cold water (under 5 degrees). I could only admire those hardy Scots who stayed in for 15 minutes, and some of them did not wear wet suits. I really should try to swim with the group more often to get used to the cold water.

It was very enjoyable in the fresh water, so different to the salt water I have been used to so far.

End of the pier in the rain and wind

End of the pier in the rain and wind

As part of the tradition for the group there was jumping off the end of the pier, but this Aussie was too chilled to participate. They had fun jumping in, and a few of the dogs wanted to go in too. Soon they all headed back to shore to do a group handstand as part of a competition with a group in Cornwall.

Group handstand

Group handstand

After the swim, time to get changed into warm clothes before heading to a local cafe for a warming coffee and a chat. It turned out that several of the group had been on holidays with Swimtrek, and one gentleman was even in Prvic in 2013 just before I went there to work. It was good to meet some fellow swimmers. and with any luck I will be able to spend more time with the group in the months ahead.

Photo before going in

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