Loch A’an is huge: three miles long and thirty metres deep. In the winter the surface of the loch freezes over completely. In the summer the shallow waters around the edge glow turquoise, while the glacial depths in the middle of the loch shine a deeper, darker blue.
Although more accessible than Loch Coire an Lochain (Braeriach) and Loch Etchachan , Loch A’an is still not particularly easy to get to. The quickest way to reach the Loch A’an basin is to ascend to over 1100 metres and then follow an eroded boulder path beside one of the streams that plummet down to the loch.
On this occasion, however, we approach from the Glen Avon end and arrive at the beach at the North East end of the loch. The is day is hot, humid and remarkably still. Arriving at the beach is like arriving in paradise. There is a light breeze (enough to keep the midges at bay), the sand is warm and soft and the water sparkles in the sunshine. A thin veil of mist hangs in the valley before me. I haven’t passed a single person since I left the main track at Glenmore and it feels like I am a million miles away from the busy world I left just a few hours before.
Stripping off I soon find myself wading into the water, letting the cool, fresh water wash over my skin. This time the cold feels gentle and pleasantly refreshing. I potter around in the shallows and watch glistening underwater sunbeams dance and create mesmerising patterns in front of my eyes. I don’t ever want to get out.
Sadly this time I only have time for a quick swim as I am mid-way through a longer walk, and as much as I would like to set up camp on the beach and stay there forever, I know I still have a long way to go. Thankfully this walk takes me along the edge of the loch so I know there will be more chances to swim in the stunning waters at the far end of the loch.