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Cloud Swimming in Loch Etchachan

Arriving at Loch Etchachan the clouds are rolling in thick and fast, obscuring the views in every direction. Within minutes I find myself engulfed in a world of white mist and blurred shapes. The surrounding mountains melt away and I can only see a small portion of the loch directly in front of me.

The water is completely still, not a single ripple disturbing the glass-like surface. It is an incredible, eery feeling swimming out into the middle of the cloud. The only ripples are the ones I create from my body's movement through the water. There is nothing to see around me, just cloud and the misty shore I have just swum from. With nothing else to focus on, I am exceptionally aware of my own breathing and the biting cold. I am completely surrounded. I almost lose sight of the shore, even though I know it is only a few meters away. I do not stay in for long. 

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Camping overnight beside the loch means that I get to have another swim in the morning. Thankfully the clouds retreat and reveal the dramatic setting of Loch Etchachan in all its glory. At 0.79km long and 927m above sea level, it is the highest water body of its size in the UK. 

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I enjoy a bracing early morning swim in the sunshine. The contrast to the previous evenings swim could not be greater. It is like swimming in a completely different body of water. Bright light illuminates the loch and the colours seem more vivid now the mist has cleared. 

The cold water revives me, I am grinning from ear to ear and I manage to hold onto my cold water buzz all the way to the top of Ben Macdui!

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