Hardy enthusiasts from all over the world expected in Firth of Clyde as sport continues to grow
Open water swimming is growing more and more popular â€“ and Scotland is a great country in which to enjoy it.
So itâ€™s quite appropriate that the Isle of Bute is to welcome 500 of the worldâ€™s leading figures in the sport this summer. The 2014 WOWSA Global Open Water Swimming Conference is being staged at the stunning neo-gothic mansion of Mount Stuart â€“ and yes, there will be swimming as well as talking on the agenda.
The two-day conference, on 20 and 21 September, includes talks from internationally recognised speakers, a 2k open water swim in the famously clear, blue waters of St Ninianâ€™s Bay, a hall of fame induction ceremony and an awards lunch.
The sport has several strands, including extreme ice swimming, winter swimming, cold water swimming, open water swimming and wild swimming, all of which will be discussed and celebrated.
Open water swimmers are arguably some of the bravest and the most mentally strong endurance athletes in the sporting arena, having to conquer extreme distances, often solo, in low to freezing temperatures and in fast tidal waters. Scotland is the perfect stage for them.
Colleen Blair, of Aberfeldy, who was the first woman to swim the Pentland Firth, between Orkney andÂ the mainland, will be speaking about her exploits.Â Also attending will be: Adam Walker, of Nottinghamshire, who plans to become the first British man to complete the Oceans Seven challenge, which is the seven hardest ocean swims in the world; Kevin Murphy, who holds the male record for English Channel swims â€“ 34 including three doubles; and Sean Conway, the first and only man to swim the length of Britain from Landâ€™s End to John Oâ€™Groats.
Enthusiasts will travel to Bute from the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe and throughout the UK to not only share their passion for open water swimming, but to find out about developments in the sport.
The conference is organised by Vigour Events â€“ oh, and WOWSA stands for World Open Water Swimming Association, since you ask.