I first came across the Wild Swimming Brothers via the Must Visit Scotland twitter account, when ‘Middle Brother’, Calum invited me to take part in one of their many wild swims and thereafter feature the experience on the MVS website. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the set date and have still (and I will) to take part in one of the exhilarating swims they undertake in stretches of open water, across the UK.
Find out more about their experiences here: https://thewildswimmingbrothers.com/
One of the most endearing qualities which literally oozes out of every pore, when speaking to Calum (he took part in one of the MVS tweetups, last year), aside from his obvious passion for swimming, is the great love and fondness of fabulous memories of their dear grandmother.
All three are now organising a swim, in August in her memory and have written a blog to promote and share her wonderful story.
Best left to their words, I have no hesitation in sharing with you, their story and thanking Jack, Calum and Robbie for this wonderful tribute to their Grandma: the “Wild Lady of Lochbroom”
Our Great Grandma lived in the Highlands for many years before our Grandma Wild traveled up north to join her. Naturally, she never came back. She stayed in that little white bungalow, overlooking Loch Broom until she died. She hacked paths through the bracken herself with a machete. She collected firewood from the entangled depths of her coppice. And, in many ways, she cut herself off from the modern world.At the same time, Grandma never went full-hermit – she was always infinitely friendly, open and welcoming, eager to invite visitors in for a cup of tea and to take them up the hill to her renovated stone guesthouse.Towards the end of her life, she became something of a local legend. Her friends along the lochside called her the Wild Lady of Loch Broom. There were songs and endless stories about her wild enthusiasm. If you asked Grandma how she was feeling, she never just said that she was ‘okay’ or ‘good’.
No, no, no… she’d say something like:
“Oh, I feel like I’m on top of the world and everything is exploding like fireworks up beneath me!”
She was a great character and a huge loss for everyone who knew and loved her.
When we were kids, going up from our home in rural Cumbria to see her was a highlight of every year. Entering the Highlands was like groping through ranks of coats and wandering into Narnia. This was another world to us. After you wound through the low-lying pine forests, sweeping by gun-metal gray tarns and lochs – once you entered those rugged hills and saw your first antlered stags and deer… that was when the magic took over.
Scotland is not just appealing to us because we have some Scottish blood. To us, this country, particularly its farthest reaches, represent an untamed, simpler and more honest way of life.
Needless to say, we became a wee bit excited when we made our plan to swim the length of Loch Broom (11km) on August 26th, starting at Ullapool and ending at the Clachan Church, where Grandma was buried in March 2015.
The last few miles are invitational and we would absolutely love it if any local swimmers would like to join us in the water. A human flotilla, crossing the loch together, would’ve made Grandma very happy and proud indeed. It would also be a fitting tribute to a kind, Wild woman who loved nothing more than bringing folk together and relishing the natural world.
You can find full details about the event here: http://thewildswimmingbrothers.com/events/loch-broom-expedition