Author and wild swimmer Joe Minihane fantasises about plunging into the cold water of Loch an Eilein in the Cairngorms
I’ve only swum in Loch an Eilein once. Three summers ago, as August tipped into September, my friend Ben and I pulled up in a campervan and passed a freezing night on its banks. We were woken at dawn by a clattering of jackdaws taking to the air from the ruined castle that sits on a small island close to the shore.
Mist rose from the surface of the loch, the temperature barely above freezing as I struggled into my swimming shorts. The promise of a swim before the crowds arrived outweighed any concerns about the cold. I swam with my head out, my hair dry, watching the castle loom high above me, rolling on my back to get a better view of the high peaks of the Cairngorms on the far shore.