GTC at Glencoe OW Swim

13924958_1212539512109852_5224213387807215197_nFifteen GTC athletes braved the chilly waters of Loch Leven in the Highlands at the weekend to swim in the Glencoe Open Water Swim event.

Birthday girl Vicky Begg, Duggie Mac, Olivia Robinson, Christine Catterson, Vicky McLaren and Mark Cohen swam 5k in the morning, while Stephen McIntyre did the same distance in the afternoon.

Paul Gallagher, Alan Mackie and Nial Smith did the 3k swim and Susan Gallagher, Lesley Mcluskey, Susie Benson, Anna Taylor and Jo Ellison completed 1.5k.

The idea for the mass swim by GTC came about when Olivia suggested that having entered the 5k event herself “it would be nice if there was a friendly face at the start line”.

It seems that lots of people thought it was a good idea and also signed up. Olivia arranged accommodation at the Glencoe independent hostel – and also sorted a birthday card and gift from everyone to Vicky.

GTC supporters on the day included Vicky’s parents and her partner, The Boy.

14046100_10210506903572609_3514705849134370355_nThe Glencoe Open Water Swim

The swim took place in Loch Leven close to the Isle of Glencoe Hotel. It’s claimed the water temperature was 13C.

Duggie, who thought that the water felt “ok”, says: “The weather the day before had been bad with wind and a lot of rain. It also rained during the event. This mean that the water felt quite cold and some people did find it really cold.

“If it had been warmer that would have been nice but, really, it couldn’t have been too cold because Mark Cohen did the 5K wearing nothing other than a pair of trunks and a smile, and we all know what a wimp he is.”

The swim course had been set to circuit a few islands in the loch but this had to be changed due to the weather.

13912687_10210506904372629_3645021364323093199_nDuggie says: “Unfortunately they had to shorten the course due to the weather, which meant that the longer swim events were multi-lap. I was disappointed in this because one of the attractions of the event for me was swimming around the nearby islands, including the Island of the Dead, where I believe the MacDonald Chiefs are buried.

“However, during one of the legs this did prove to be a very good decision as a very heavy rain shower made the visibility quite poor. At other times, the visibility was good and allowed a view of the magnificent setting of this event.”

13907104_1212539348776535_4666037287269050466_nWhile there had been concerns – and a good bit of scare mongering (Duggie calls this “banter”) – about jellyfish in the loch, on the day they didn’t see any.

Duggie really enjoyed the event. He says: “The location is great and the views are fantastic. There was a good atmosphere and the organisers also laid on soup, plus we enjoyed Vicky’s birthday cake.”

Duggie would also encourage others to take part in the event next year. He says: “It was a great outing with all the GTC buddies. Thanks to Olivia for sorting that. There are enough distances to suit different people, from 500m to 5k, and the organisers seem to allow you to switch distance on the day. I think it’s a great event for our club members.

“The fact that this is not run as a race allows a relaxed approach to the event, too.

“As they had to shorten the course, due to conditions, the positive from that for me is that I’ll need to return next year to do the course around the islands.”

13895330_10154427419602241_1531940660997329010_nDuggie reveals a couple of GTC quotes:

Lesley, when asked, what distance she was doing, replied: “Just 1.5k”. Duggie adds: “This is impressive as just over a year ago Lesley could hardly swim so to say ‘just’ 1.5k is very modest.”

Vicky McLaren, when asked, are you looking forward to this swim, replied with an emphatic: “No”. After her swim when asked if she’d enjoyed her swim, she replied with an even more emphatic: “No”. Apparently, Vicky lays the blame for her entering these events with Susan Gallagher.

Most of the GTC swimmers headed to the famous Clachaig Inn on Saturday evening to celebrate their achievements.

13895227_10210506908652736_1913602791548978377_n* Thanks to Duggie for helping me with this report.