Entry opens to “once in a lifetime opportunity” to swim next to Urquhart Castle

ENTRY is now open to an event that will give a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to swim in Scotland’s second-largest loch, next to a castle dating back to the 1200s.

Taking place on the evening of Saturday 22 June, after the Summer Solstice, the Loch Ness Cruise & Swim has been organised by outdoor education charity and social enterprise Àban Outdoor.

The charity has teamed up with Loch Ness by Jacobite, who will provide boats to and from Urquhart Bay, and Historic Environment Scotland who have allowed access to the shore of Urquhart Castle.

With after-hours access, setting sail at 5:30pm, entrants will enjoy an hour’s sail on the famous loch, followed by an hour’s swimming in Urquhart Bay before the return sail to Dochgarroch – all against the backdrop of Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness.

Urquhart Castle is one of Scotland’s largest medieval fortresses.

Swimmers can complete as many or as few laps as they like around the buoyed course within the hour, leaving and re-entering the water from the shore at Urquhart Castle.

Each swimmer will be provided with a timing chip for safety and timing purposes and a fleet of powerboats and kayaks will also be monitoring the safety of swimmers.

Entry costs £120, which includes cruises from Dochgarroch to Urquhart Bay and back, as well as a light meal on the return journey.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go back into funding Àban Outdoor activities, which include weekly free-to-access outdoor youth groups for biking, mountaineering, and open water swimming.

Johannes Petersen, Founder and CEO of Àban Outdoor said: “The Loch Ness Cruise & Swim really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Taking place at the peak of summer against the glow of golden hour lighting, the cruises and swim will be fantastic!

“And everyone from occasional dookers to seasoned swimmers can take part, completing laps at their own pace or resting on the shore of Urquhart Castle.

“I’d like to thank Historic Environment Scotland for allowing us access to Urquhart Castle’s shoreline and Loch Ness by Jacobite for putting on the cruises for our swimmers.

“The evening is set to be a memorable one for all involved.”

Colin Barber, Operations Manager at Loch Ness by Jacobite, said: “We’re delighted to support Àban Outdoor’s Loch Ness Cruise & Swim this summer.

“We know how special Loch Ness is and we can’t wait to share it with even more people during this unique, one-off event.”

Euan Fraser, District Visitor and Community Manager (Urquhart Castle) at Historic Environment Scotland, added: “Urquhart Castle is one of the most visited castles in the country, but this fantastic event will give participants a rarely seen viewpoint after closing time.

“We hope that partnering with charity Àban Outdoor for the Loch Ness Cruise & Swim will encourage everyone to get outdoors and explore our natural and historic environment.”