It’s the first sunny day of our trip and the road beside the saltwater loch, the Kyle of Tongue, is deserted. The mountains that rise behind it – Ben Loyal and Ben Hope – are capped with snow. The water is glittering in this uncommon light and I plodge through marshy grass and mud half given over to swamp to reach a more solid bank. The quiet road stretches away as a boundary on one side – on the other, trees made tiny and the huge white sprinkled peaks pushing up the clouds.
I wriggle into a costume and into the water. There’s a convenient tussock lower than the bank that acts as the perfect stepping stone. It’s icy, but the sun persuades me it’s inviting. The bottom is thick sludgy mud, oozing up between my toes, which are no doubt disturbing the minuscule routines of countless tiny creatures. An incentive to kick off and immerse myself fully in the glittering clear cool of the water.
I swim out of the tiny pool made by mud banks where I entered, into the lake itself. The mountains are massive and I am tiny and it’s the first time I’ve swum and been able to see snow at the same time. Despite the muddy bottom, the water is clear and I can see my hands stretching away before me, washed pale brown and wiggling in the filtered sunlight.
There is no one else around apart from us. The sky is shockingly blue and the water is still veiled, like it hasn’t fully embraced the change of weather yet. Either way, it wakes me up.
I’m raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Please sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/swimbonnieswim