ÖTILLÖ Merit Race #1 – Loch Gu Loch
In 2016, swimrun came to Scotland in style. The team behind the famous CELTMAN! Extreme Scottish Triathlon identified through their athletes and connections a common theme between the two sports and noticed that many Celtman athletes were also competing in ÖTILLÖ. They realised that Scotland would be a fabulous place for a swimrun event and while not furnished with the thousands of islands found in the Stockholm archipelago, they noted that flipping the Island-to-Island concept to Lake-to-Lake would make perfect sense. Thus “Loch Gu Loch” – Scottish Gaelic for “Lake to Lake” – was born.
Loch Gu Loch takes place in the historic and magical surroundings of Loch Ness, Scotland. Famed for the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, this is an area of outstanding natural beauty with all the elements expected of an ancient Scottish landscape.
Those who choose to join us in the wilds of the Highlands can expect a treat for the senses and an incredibly tough day out. After disembarking the Jacobite Warrior cruiser, athletes assemble on the ramparts of Urquhart Castle, founded in the 13th century, to ready for the epic challenge ahead.
Those who choose to join us in the wilds of the Highlands can expect a treat for the senses and an incredibly tough day out.
The first swim takes athletes 2 km straight across the (legend has it, bottomless) loch to a rocky exit and steep climb through ancient forest to the next swim in Loch Duntelchaig, which is generally calm and cool.
Much of the running in Loch Gu Loch is on soft trails that can be muddy, good paths and some off-trail sections. A little tarmac is necessary to move between sections but this is kept to a minimum. All the way the views are spectacular, the surroundings green and the water … well, freezing!
The water temperature in Scotland can be a shock to the system but swimrun with it’s unique concept of running in a wetsuit soon brings the body temperature back up and there are a number of well-stocked aid stations to sooth your race munchies.
After taking on the steep and rugged terrain, the final swim involves a dive from an old pontoon and a 750-metre swim back across Loch Ness to our utterly magnificent finish line at Fort Augustus Abbey, which also serves as race HQ and luxury accommodation for the athletes.
Join us on Saturday, September 30, 2017, and take on the Swedes who hold the course record. Or try our new sprint option – 7 swims and 2 technical and challenging runs – with the same spectacular Abbey finish line.
Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue # 1 (Feb/Mar 2017)