Who stole my sleeps?


73 days ago I set up a JustGiving page and launched my countdown (in sleeps, obvs… the grown up way to measure time!) to the Great Scottish Swim.

This morning I’ve woken up in a beautiful campsite a pebble’s throw from Loch Lomond, with airplane-tum and a dizziness behind my eyes.

I can’t work out if I’m excited, scared or just relieved that the day is here.

I’ve set out to do some fun stuff that’ll push me or help me satisfy an itch. My 40th birthday in little over a year’s time is the catalyst to get these things done.

I’ve previously blogged about how I came to sign up to the Great Scottish Swim – I’m now 500 miles from home and later this morning I’ll meet up with my ‘Unplugged’ pals to experience the challenge together.

I’ve been hit with my usual bout of self-doubt and that dull, repetitive chant from the panicked pixie on my shoulder, saying ‘how can I get myself out of this pickle?!’

Anyway, I’m here and about to take part in this crazy challenge. A challenge I wouldn’t have even considered six months ago!

I’ve very proudly raised more than £600 for Parkinson’s UK and, I’m on a fantastic adventure with my little family.

This is all good!


It’s the night after the day before and I’m over the moon that I survived!

What an experience! Not just the swim… all of it!

If I’m honest, the swim itself could have been better. I had a total meltdown on entering the water and spent the first 200 meters almost certain I was going to be fished out!

It was nothing like the open water I’d been training in and despite building my confidence back in the pool over the last month, I really wasn’t prepared for Loch Lomond.

It’s an amazing sight to see. It’s vast and the water is dark and deep. It had also become increasingly choppy as the day had gone on, so by the the time we hesitantly walked down the slipway at 2pm, there was more than a ripple across the water’s surface!

After getting a grip of myself and with the support of my fantastic ‘unplugged’ friends in the water and, my gorge family looking on from the steam boat, together we completed it.

During those first five minutes in the water I was having a go at myself for being so stupid as to think I could do it. I have very few sporty bones in my body and those I do have are in tatters.

Who was I kidding!

But, what was amazing and the one stand-out thing for me during the event was that there’s not one type of open water swimmer.

There were people of all shapes and sizes and anything went in terms of approach and attitude towards the ‘race’ (I wasn’t racing anywhere!).

I’ve already committed to taking on Lake Windemere next year and who knows what I may (or may not… because this is me!) fit in between now and then!

This big fat tick on my list of things to do before 40 had already taught me the importance of being patient and committing to practice. It’s now also taught me the importance of having self-belief and putting what I think I can and can’t do to one-side.

If you’re thinking of doing something, don’t let niggling doubts or silly preconceptions get in your way. Sign up, say yes and commit. Worry about the detail later!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Em, Alice here
    I would like to say congratulations from the bottom of my heart for your courage and honesty in talking about your fears and achievements. I find it just amazing that you didn’t turn back !
    I think it’s true to say that often we don’t realise how brave we are until we are put to the rest
    I liked a slogan that Greenpeace once used
    “ the optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought”
    Good luck with all the good things you want to achieve and it was lovely meeting you however briefly xxx


    1. Emma says:

      Hi Alice, thank you very much for your kind words. I wouldn’t have done it in the first place, or carried on during the swim, had it not been for Anna’s support!

      It was lovely meeting you too and I definitely think we’ll be back up your way one day. Tom asked if we could go back next week, but having only just arrived home, I think that might be a drive too far!

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment and for your support on the day xxx


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