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Launch of midsummer 'monster' swim at Loch Ness set to offer 150 people the chance to make an after hours splash in the shadows of Urquhart Castle


By Alasdair Fraser

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Urquhart Castle and Bay. Picture: Eoghan Smith
Urquhart Castle and Bay. Picture: Eoghan Smith

A new midsummer “monster” swim is set to offer participants the rare chance to take an after hours dive into Loch Ness at Urquhart Castle.

The Loch Ness Swim event is the brainchild of outdoor education charity and social enterprise Àban Outdoor, in partnership with Loch Ness by Jacobite.

It will be held on the evening of Saturday, June 22 this year ahead of Midsummer’s Day and after the summer solstice.

Organisers say it will be a “once in a lifetime opportunity to swim Urquhart Bay beneath the shadow of the iconic Urquhart Castle after hours.

Loch Ness by Jacobite will provide boats to and from Urquhart Bay, with Historic Environment Scotland allowing access to the shore of the atmospheric castle ruins.

Setting sail at 5.30 pm, entrants will enjoy an hour’s sail on the famous loch followed by an hour’s swimming in Urquhart Bay before a return sail to Dochgarroch.

Urquhart Castle. Picture: Eoghan Smith
Urquhart Castle. Picture: Eoghan Smith

“The Loch Ness Swim really is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Johannes Petersen, founder and CEO of Àban Outdoor, said.

“Taking place at the peak of summer against the glow of golden hour lighting, the cruises and swim will be fantastic.

“And everyone, from occasional dookers to seasoned swimmers, can take part, completing laps at their own pace or resting on the shore of Urquhart Castle.

“I’d like to thank Historic Environment Scotland for allowing us access to Urquhart Castle’s shoreline and Loch Ness by Jacobite for putting on the cruises for our swimmers.

“The evening is set to be a memorable one for all involved.”

A limited number of 150 places are available for the Loch Ness Swim, with entry available at the web link here.

Swimmers will be able to complete as many or as few laps as they like around the buoyed course within the hour, leaving and re-entering the water from the shore at Urquhart Castle. Each swimmer will be provided with a timing chip for safety and timing purposes and a fleet of powerboats and kayaks will also be monitoring the safety of swimmers.

Euan Fraser, District Visitor and Community Manager (Urquhart Castle) at Historic Environment Scotland; Calum Smith, Social Enterprise and Events Lead at Àban Outdoor; and Colin Barber, Operations Manager at Loch Ness by Jacobite. Picture: Eoghan Smith
Euan Fraser, District Visitor and Community Manager (Urquhart Castle) at Historic Environment Scotland; Calum Smith, Social Enterprise and Events Lead at Àban Outdoor; and Colin Barber, Operations Manager at Loch Ness by Jacobite. Picture: Eoghan Smith

Colin Barber, operations manager at Loch Ness by Jacobite, said: “We’re delighted to support Àban Outdoor’s Loch Ness Swim this summer.

“We know how special Loch Ness is and we can’t wait to share it with even more people during this unique, one-off event.”

Euan Fraser, district visitor and community manager (Urquhart Castle) at Historic Environment Scotland, added: “Urquhart Castle is one of the most visited castles in the country, but this fantastic event will give participants a rarely seen viewpoint after closing time.

“We hope that partnering with charity Àban Outdoor for the Loch Ness Swim will encourage everyone to get outdoors and explore our natural and historic environment.”

Entry costs £120, which includes cruises from Dochgarroch to Urquhart Bay and back, as well as a light meal on the return journey.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go back into funding Àban Outdoor’s charitable activities, which include weekly free-to-access outdoor youth groups for biking, mountaineering, and open water swimming.


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