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  • Johnnie

Swimming with white horses

Swimming in the sea was particularly exhilarating today (21/9/16). It's nearly October and autumn has definitely arrived this week. The bay at Balranald RSPB bird reserve, North Uist, is one of my favourite places to swim with its clean, clear turquoise water and the absence of any currents. The birds ignore me and fly so close I could reach out and touch them. Swimming here without a wetsuit (I've got one but I never wear it) is always pure joy and afterwards I feel at least 10 years younger!

Today, I was reminded of the fact that I was wild swimming on the extreme edge of northern Europe in autumn as the wind whistled over my head with an average speed of 40mph (65km/hr) gusting to 50mph (80km/hr). I swam for 20 mins and I was pleased with my freestyle technique today. Thinking about my swim again after a hot shower and whilst drinking copious amounts of hot tea was equally satisfying.

Even in relatively strong wind, the sea in the bay is well protected. I did catch sight of some impressive breakers rolling out to sea when I turned to breath - but they are the surfer's territory, not mine.

Later, the wind speed eased, the sun appeared and St Kilda popped into view on the north west horizon. And to end the day a simply gorgeous sunset over the bay. Magnificent!

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