Way back in January it seemed like a great idea to enter the Monster Swim – it sounded a bit different, possibly a bit more challenging than the average event, and includes a trip to a beautiful part of the country. All that was true, but as the day drew closer it began to dawn on me that the trip from Sheffield to Inverness could probably be more of a challenge than the swim itself. Thanks to some good planning by a friend, the trip (drive, followed by 3 trains) turned out OK, and we turned up at Dores Beach on the side of Loch Ness at the appointed hour on Saturday morning.

The weather was very still, which was a relief after hearing some unnerving stories about the conditions last year, but also so misty it was impossible to see much at all, particularly the marker buoys for the event. Luckily the mist cleared and revealed the Loch in all its glory; basically that’s why we were there. The dreaded midges put in a brief appearance, but the sun seemed to drive them away - the strange buzzing noise we could all hear turned out not to be the large mosquito we feared, but a drone, presumably watching out for Nessie.

monster swim loch ness martin

It was a mass start at 10am, so everyone lined up along the beach, the route map was a little unclear, but all was explained. The acclimatisation dip may have turned into a false start for some, but finally we were off. Then the only real problem with the event became apparent – several hundred people starting from a broad stretch of beach all converging on a buoy no more than 100m away – it got a bit congested to say the least, I’d hope that could be done a bit differently next year.

Bearing in mind last year’s conditions, particularly the wind, it was very calm for most of the route, possibly a little choppy at the furthest point, and the sun made sighting a bit tricky, but that’s all part of the fun.

Everyone I was with really enjoyed themselves, and by the looks on people’s faces so did everyone else. The obligatory souvenir T shirts were bright orange, which generated some amused looks as we wandered around Inverness later in the day.

Martin Siddall

Open Water Swim - Monster Swim -Loch Ness - 18th August 2012

(Great review, thanks Martin, the hats on its way- Ed.)


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