The Beauty of Lochaber

by Morag Hughes


I feel so lucky to live here.

My hobby is open water swimming. Travelling to beautiful swim spots all year round I am treated to fantastic scenery and wildlife. The view of the hills in different seasons and moods. Sea, lochs, rivers, waterfalls calm and wild. Spectacular views when swimming with different light on the water and hills. It can be sunshine looking one way, misty and brooding the other and watching the rain coming up the loch and being hypnotised by the raindrops on the water or being caught in an unexpected snowstorm with big snowflakes falling. In spring, seeing splashes of colour from shrubs hiding among the trees and marvelling at the autumn colours on the hills.

The wildlife is also amazing from deer disappearing gracefully into the hedgerow, munching the leaves from a tree or running down the single track road for a mile in front of us. Red squirrels running across the road or along the verge. A pine marten kit at the side of the road. Herons frog hunting at a ditch or fishing on the lochside. Swimming to within meters of shags and cormorants perched on buoys or tiny islands. Being dive bombed by a seagull, scary!

A waterfall at Arkaig running into shallow water. The waterfall is surrounded by trees with orange and green leaves which take up 50% of the image.

Image provided by Visit Scotland/ Paul Tomkins

The Falls of Arkaig, Lochaber, in autumn

An osprey at Loch Arkaig flying right over our heads and circling above us before flying down the river. A never to be forgotten experience. Watching a brood of seven ducklings grow. Being observed and circled by curious seals some with pups. One time a seal got out the water, lay down on the slipway and watched us while we swam. As we were swimming in to get out it gracefully slid into the water and we didn't see it again.

People are friendly too. Locals and fishermen stopping for a chat and telling us we are mad as we swim in swimsuits all year round. Visitors are amazed that we can swim where and when we like and don't have to pay. I have also been asked to recover a petrol cap and bits of a caravan from the bottom of a Loch!


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