A fantastic time trialling out my new Alpkit Elan bivi bag on top of beinn mhor, aird ranish, north lochs. After having a look at the weather, I could fit in a quick overnighter between my shifts at work. so all good. A wee 15-20 minute swim over to the usual bay, taking time to maneuver past the kreel ropes whilst making sure that none got tangled on my Lomo rucksack. Then it was around a 30 minute walk over to and up beinn mhor. There is so much to see from up on the hill with the bivi being the ideal piece of kit for the SwimCamp. Bivi'ing under the milky way, seeing a faint glimmer of the northern lights over broadbay, shooting stars, satellites bumbling along, sunset and boats out on the minch were just some of the highlights of my short time on the hill. I'd definitely agree with other bloggers who say that there's a time and a place for a bivi (especially without an extra tarp cover), thankfully this was the right time and place for me. Was great being able to sit up or lie down in my sleeping bag, on top of my mat with the Elan slightly unzipped, so I could enjoy the views around and/or above. Loved it.
Click here for a link to the YouTube Video from the outing.
Thanks to BestOutdoors for a mention in their online magazine article about SwimPacking/SwimCamping/SwimHiking. Click on the paragraph below to be taken to the full article:
As wildswimming becomes more and more popular, those looking for the next level will find them self looking into swimpacking (Swim packing), swimcamping (swim camping) and Swimhiking (swim hiking) for their next level swim fix. Just as backpackers and bike packers take everything with them in one bag to sustain their wild adventures, swimpackers do the same. Hiking across remote areas, swimming across rivers, lochs and bays to find the perfect location for exploring and camping. This allows swimpackers to enjoy swimpacking adventures, places and experiences that very few people have. Like a 100 mile adventure up the west coast of Scotland, where no roads or lack of transport will hinder the adventure. Or deciding to swim from island to island in a large lake or off the coast. If you are a seasoned open water swimmer and you’re now inspired to try some swimpacking then read on for our full swimpacking gear guide.
A well and truly epic SwimCamp adventure with Stuart and Dave going from the eagle observatory path at mhiabhaig out past lochs scourst and bhoisimid (the loch that gave jm barrie the idea about mary rose. We even met the owner of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle) then after coming off the path we bumbled down the river in the part's that was safe to, towards tota choinnich and on to our base for the night at ceann loch reasort. Stuart spotted a white tailed sea eagle. Setting up camp on the Uig side of the river, we had a look around both settlement's. The midge's were fairly rife but thankfully we had our net's to cover our heads. In the morning we swam round with the outgoing tide to dirascal (settlement) and hiked over to loch uladal for a swim through it then we hooked up with the path (we spotted an eagle up near sron) and plodded on to loch aiseabhat to swim along it (misty in parts) to meet up with the path again. Stuart and myself swam part of loch chliostair, obviously keeping well away from the dam. Then the 3 of us headed back to the car at mhiabhaig. A full 20 mile loop of breathtaking scenery in great company. We had a laugh coming up with name's for the route such as "where eagle's don't dare", "next of kinlochreasort", "the last reasort"..... final thanks goes to Kellie, for taking around 60 tick's out of me.
Click here for the link to the YouTube video from the outing.
Fantastic SwimCamping outing from traigh na beirigh via Siaram mor to pabaigh mor with Dave (kayaking) and Catherine on a day trip. Once Landed, we headed over to the lagoon area. I had a look in the cave, Catherine and myself got a swim through the arch (Dave didn't have his swim kit with him at the time) and a quick swim in the lagoon before Dave and myself saw Catherine back to traigh na beirigh. Then it was an about turn for us back to pabaigh mor to setup camp at the beach near to the remains of St Peter's church. We missed the sunset but a hearty dinner along with a couple of beers before it was time for some shuteye. Up at a relatively decent time, after decamping, Dave paddled round to the main beach where I met. We had a quick dook before heading back to our vehicles. Amazing weather and company. We'd met folk who came to say hello and find out what we were doing, which is always nice. Fantastic to have these opportunities on our island's and it doesn't cost us anything to do.
Click here for the link to the YouTube video from the outing.
The Isle of Lewis has some stunning coastline which I love to explore. On this SwimCamping outing, Stuart and myself walked out to Skebadale bay, camped overnight and had a morning swim in the sea, checking out some of the Uig caves, channels and a natural arch. The place is teaming with sea life already and the water is so clear. Duckman was saying 8.2 degrees average. Thanks to Stuart for some of the photos.
Click here for link to the YouTube video from the outing.
Superb SwimCamp over on Eilean Ewart. Had a wee look at Taigh a' Gheumpaill (Lone House) plus a swim round stac a'bhaigh. The view's are just amazing on the island. Landed at the bay at Seanna-Bhaile (Old town) and walked through Taigh Geal which is now used as a sheep fank.
You can learn more about the history of the island by clicking here.
Click here to view the YouTube video from this outing.
Fantastic SwimCamping outing over to Scarp on Friday. Parked up near to the Huisinis slip, walked over the hill path to traigh mheilein and swam across to Scarp. Although a short and narrow channel it is notorious for bad currents. I don't recommend this to the inexperienced. Once on Scarp I had a wee wonder about till I decided to set camp. While doing this I met Donald John and Murdo, 2 out of the 3 crofters who were over by boat tending to sheep. Good yarns with them. Once sorted I went exploring up the hills for the views before coming back down via the village for a nosey around. It really is a beautiful island. One of the best things I enjoy about SwimCamping is being self sufficient, carrying everything I need myself.
Click here for the YouTube video from the outing.
SwimCamping isn't all about swimming off to an island for a stay, it can be whatever adventure you make it, as long as you're safe and well, that's the main thing. With the weather looking a bit windy on Sunday, we opted for a land based SwimCamp this time and to be honest it was my first one and I thoroughly enjoyed. Traigh Sheilinhig is a bay between the villages of Gress and Tolsta on the Isle of Lewis, about a 30 minute walk from the road. With stunning views across Tiumpan Head Lighthouse over to Lochinver (spotting Suilven as well). Stuart, Dave, Helen and myself had a great time at the little oasis in the middle of the moor, feeling that you were miles from anywhere. Thanks to Fergie for showing us around the airidh that he built about 20 years ago and for leaving the toilet unlocked for us to use. First SwimCamp with a flushing loo, haha. Stuart and myself managed a bit of body surfing through the decent sized waves, followed by dinner, campfire, drinks and yarns before calling it a night. Sunday morning, we managed to have everything packed away before the rain started as we headed back up the hill to our cars. We'll definitely be back there next year in the summertime, maybe with bodyboards.
Click here for the link to the YouTube Video
Great swim from Lemreway over to Eilean Ewart, this time camping towards the Loch Shell end. The sea is teaming with wildlife and so is the air, even saw a sea eagle leave it's perch as I swam along the coast of the island. I would have camped on the small peninsula looking up towards loch shell but with the fish farm activity, it kind of spoiled things, so I plumped for a small bay instead looking out to the minch with stunning views out to the shiant isles. Had a wander about before getting a fire going, dinner and drinks. The rain started early on, so retreated to the tent but got up a few times during the night to view the night sky. Had a cracking swim back to the jetty on Sunday morning again following the coast of the island, then across between the 2 small islands and following the Lemreway coastline back to the jetty.
The island has fantastic history surrounding it, some of it involving Bonnie Prince Charlie, which can be read here:
Click here for the link to the YouTube Video from the outing
Great SwimCamp outing from Bosta beach on Saturday round the coast of Little Bernera with Stuart, then we dropped the bags on Cealasaigh before heading over to Eilean Fir Chrothair to look at the beehives there. Such an amazing island with stunning views all round, but it can be difficult to exit/enter the sea. After taking in the scenery and what felt like stepping back in historical times we headed back to our rucksacks on Cealasaigh to set up camp. The lagoon was alive with sups, kayaks and boats. During dinner time, Dave & Helen paddled over via a few islands to meet up with us as planned. It was then they thought they saw the fins of basking sharks, so of in their kayaks they went to see if they could find them but with no success. Had a grand evening by the fire on the shore sharing yarns, snacks and a couple of cans. Sunday morning came slightly overcast but a nice breeze to keep the midges away. Watching the gannets dive and memories of the seals wailing through the night. Stuart and myself said our goodbyes to Dave and Helen before heading round the opposite end of Little Bernera as to what we did yesterday, going by Chapel beach into the Kyles. There was quite a bit of boat traffic but at least the tide was with us. Enjoyed seeing the yacht going through the narrow channel before we landed back at Bosta beach. Some media by Stuart.
Click here for some info about Eilean Fir Chrothair
Click here for link to the YouTube Video from the outing.
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