SOME people were tentatively dipping a toe in before running away with their arms flapping but most are charging over the breaking white waves in fearless fashion before plunging heads and all below the surface.
Despite the near sub-zero temperatures most are following the lead of the latter and taking the plunge, literally, into the icy cold waters of Loch Trollamarig – on Hogmanay – wearing nothing more than running shorts and shoes.
Yes, it is as bonkers as it sounds as I find myself roped in with the hardy gang of Stornoway Running and Athletics Club for their annual Flett Trekk – their annual dash and splash - a 9 mile run up and around the windy hills between Urgha and Rhenigidale, down the famous zig-zag slopes before stripping off and diving into the Loch at the foot of the hill.
Even after the dip there is an equally challenging run and climb combo to the finishing line of the Rhenigidale hostel up a sheer incline, around the bends and through the eerie peace and quiet of a settlement long abandoned in the ruins of the blackhouse village Garaidh Lotagear. The house, whose powerful stone walls still stand proudly against the fierce Hebridean gales, perched on the edge of the world, above the blue, green waters of Loch Trollamarig.
It’s the Western Isles most chilly and longest running dash and splash and SRAC’s Club’s longest standing social event but to read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of this week’s Stornoway Gazette, on sale now.